My wife and I were just received into the Church at Easter after a couple years of intense preparation. I’m really glad to be a Catholic, and I really want to take this faith seriously. But…I’m having a terrible time with discerning how often to go to confession. I may be having a problem with scrupulosity, I don’t know. Normally, I would consult my parish priest (who is an excellent priest, by the way) but our parish has nearly 4,000 members and only one priest and he is extremely over-stretched, and I don’t want to waste his time by making an appointment for this quick question.
Question: at what point do thoughts of anger and lust cross the line from venial sin to mortal sin? I’ve read the catechism, but need a little help processing what it has to say. I know the three conditions (grave matter, full knowledge, full consent). But I’m learning that there is a difference between “knowing” the teaching, and discerning how that teaching applies to me in a given instance.
I’ve been going to confession about every week since the beginning of March, and I feel it has helped me with many habitual sins. Already I have made some major changes in my life, and I do believe that I have approached the Sacrament each time with the firm intention of not repeating the same sins over and over. There is palpable grace occurring in my life.
My last confession was Wednesday morning, but already today (Fri.) I feel I have lapsed back into a state of mortal sin. My problem at the moment is severe, violently angry thoughts towards others, particularly my mother, with whom I have always had a toxic relationship. In having these thoughts today, I never intended to actually hurt her, or slap her, or say mean things to her. I’m a grown up and well in control of my actions in this regard, but she drives me so crazy that I often indulge in angry thoughts about her personality and the way she has treated me in the past. I know she’s my mom, and I do love her, but she drives me nuts, and I honestly do not like being around her.
Anyway, I do not want to abuse the Sacrament of Reconciliation by going every 4-5 days, and I also don’t want to abuse the Eucharist by receiving unworthily. So my question is this: if angry/violent thoughts come and I do my best to dismiss them as soon as possible and do not act on them in any way, shape, or form, am I worthy to receive the Eucharist at tomorrow’s Vigil Mass (presuming, of course I don’t overtly sin between now and then)? I would be most grateful for your help, as I’m really trying to be a good Catholic, without falling into scrupulosity. Many thanks in advance.