“Ask a Priest: After the Music-and-Drug Scene, Is There Hope for Me?”

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Q: I’ve been away from the Church for a few years. Until recently I was in a band, which was fun … lots of gigs around the country, etc. But I became involved in the drug scene, which seems to go hand in hand with the music scene here. I enjoyed it at the time, but it has taken its toll on me. Recently I decided enough was enough, and I quit the band. The timing wasn’t great, as we have gigs coming up for New Year’s, but I just can’t do it anymore. My father has a damaged heart from a heart attack, and was told recently that he has about a year to live. This is also a reason for me leaving the band, as I don’t want to disappoint him anymore with the partying, etc. I feel sad that I’m probably going to lose friends over this, but it can’t carry on. I also feel guilty for letting them down by quitting before a gig, but I know that it’s destroying my soul, so to speak, by continuing. Anyway, I’ve been praying about it, praying the rosary and to Our Lady, but feel like I’m not worthy to return to the Church. I haven’t spoken to the priest here where I live, to be honest I’m a bit scared. I haven’t attended Mass for years … I’m worried about not being forgiven. I so desperately yearn for the Church, but feel so unworthy. Is there hope for me, Father? Thank you for taking the time to read this. – T.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It sounds as though the Holy Spirit has been leading you back closer to the Church. The fact that you have quit the band, knowing that the well-being of your soul is more important, is a sign that grace is working in you.

You most certainly can come back to the Church. Our Lord is anxious to extend his mercy to you in the sacrament of confession (Father of Mercies is a Retreat Guide that could help you deepen in understanding God’s love and mercy for you!). You remain his beloved son, and he only wants the best for you.

The music-and-drug scene is the world trying to distract you from what is really important. You were made for heaven, and your life on earth is meant to give glory to God. The time you have here is the time God gives you to become a saint.

That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. With God’s grace you can grow in holiness.

The first step is to believe that this is possible. Then, think about approaching a priest for confession. You have nothing to fear. This is one reason why Jesus established the Church — he wants to extend his mercy in a way we can see and hear, as in the sacrament of confession.

You could find online guides to help prepare yourself for confession, such as the one HERE.

It might also help you to watch these short videos about confession, and about how it is actually a gift God gives us because he wants to make it easier for us to come back to him when we need to: “From Sorrow to Joy: A Retreat Guide on Confession.”

The best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is to go to confession. Receiving absolution will take a great weight off your mind. It will be the first step in what is sure to become an amazing journey with the God who created and redeemed you, and has so much he wants to give you.

In the meantime try to pray each day. Try to attend Mass. And call on the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She will do her best to guide you back to her Son.

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