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Krissy wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have CFIDS and my doctor has estimated my capacity for work at 2.3 minutes. On the wellness scale, I am at 40%. I had to quit my teaching job and am unable to do work around the house. I only leave my home when I must go to the doctor. (maybe once a month) I am very concerned because I miss Mass.

  • Is it a mortal sin for me to miss Mass when I am ill?

I don't want to go to Hell. I pray every day, and on Sundays when I am well enough, I try to worship.

This is distressing me.

Krissy

  { Is it a mortal sin for me to miss Mass when I am ill with CFIDS and what are my obligations? }

Rob replied:

Dear Krissy,

It is not even close to a sin for you to miss Mass due to illness. You have the Love of God.
He wishes you to love and serve Him, by showing His Love to others. You can do this best by being a living testament of acceptance of your condition, with the faith of *knowing* that God still loves you, and has not abandoned you in your illness and pain.

There is no greater testament to God than to love Him as much as you can. If you cannot follow certain religious obligations due to physical incapacity, they are not demanded of you.

For instance, I have become increasingly allergic to various types of foods. Two of my children also have CFIDS and have also developed numerous allergies to foods. As a consequence, it is not always practical, or even possible, for us to follow the meat restrictions, and certainly not the fasting requirements, during Lent. Attending Eucharistic Celebration is a gift that I am unable to accomplish *most *of the time. I get to church whenever I can, but this is not very often. It is very hard, because I even have an extremely difficult time watching such a celebration on television, not because of it reminding me of not being there, but rather, because the illness makes such a viewing too tiring!

Do not ever think that God does not understand your limitations. He made us and He knows that we are trying to come to Him. This is what He desires most of all. As for the official Catholic teaching on the subject, the same is true. Those, who, due to physical incapacity, are unable to accomplish certain obligations:

  • e.g., those who are sick, such as attending Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays
  • e.g., diabetics, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday

are exempt from such restrictions. I hope that this helps you. I will try to pray for both your spiritual and physical healing.

Robert P. Coutinho

Mike replied:

Hi Krissy,

I just wanted to recommend a few things in addition to what Rob has said. Based on several conversations I've had with him about his illness, and the issues he has had to deal with, I would recommend the following to CFIDS visitors to our site, depending on their energy levels during the week:

  • If you have a husband or friend who can bring the Holy Eucharist to the home, if not on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, I would recommend it. Due to the busy schedule of most Catholic priests, most Catholic churches have Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist for such purpose.

  • At periodic times during the year, I recommend every one to two months, the Extraordinary Minister schedule a time where the priest can come out to the home in order for you to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

  • It is my understanding that CFIDS, though generally devastating to stamina and energy, will vary from person to person. Depending on how tired you get and the energy level you have during the week, you can try to say, if not all, part of a Rosary on a daily basis.

    For some with severe CFIDS, you can say:

    • the first decade on Mondays
    • the second decade on Tuesdays
    • the third decade on Wednesdays
    • the fourth decade on Thursdays and
    • the fifth decade on Fridays.

    This prayer is a powerful prayer and witness as you remember Jesus and Mary's Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious lives from week to week to week. If some can say all five decades in one day, that would be even better.

    Don't worry about the quality of the meditation or the number of Our Fathers or Hail Marys; like Rob implied earlier, God reads the heart.

  • I'd also recommend a small morning or night offering prayer like:

    Father in Heaven, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and suffering of this day, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the holy souls on earth, and especially the suffering souls in Purgatory, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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