I have OCD, so I won’t let myself receive communion unless I’ve gone to confession beforehand (vigil mass), it doesn’t matter if I went to confessing Saturday night and then to mass the following day, I just can’t let myself. ‘Just in case’ . . . you know? So I’m wondering if anyone without scrupulosity does this?
I have a similar situation, but it’s become very difficult to make any sense of it.
The official view for Catholics is - As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
It’s worth mentioning - while the mass centers around the Eucharist - we are NOT obligated to go to communion at every mass we attend. So there’s no sin in not going to communion.
But the rule above is also ironic.
Confessors are not always easy to find. The church is strapped for vocations, and our church only offers confessions before mass on Saturday afternoon, or by appointment. Accessing a Priest to provide for the (very beautiful) sacrament of penance can be difficult.
Many Saints - including Saint Theresa of Avila - have expressed concern over people receiving communion appropriately. Saint Theresa of Avila recounts a situation where some people literally thought they were going to end up dead for improper reception - such scrupulosity she attributes to the work of the devil, not Piety. So the title of your post is a self-imposed rule you should not strictly enforce on yourself or others, if you have committed no mortal sin.
Penance, like Baptism, is a healing sacrament. Communion is a strengthening sacrament. In the scenes before the Last Supper, where the Eucharist is instantiated, Christ’s washes the Disciples’ feet. Peter asks him, to wash his hands and head as well, but Christ tells him it was enough that he washed Peters feet, for the rest of him was clean. And this put him in the proper graces.
But I have no idea what to say other than to follow the church’s teachings on the matter.
But the rule seems confusing to me, too. I just do all I can to try to go to communion properly disposed, and I wish more confessors were available.
If I only recieved communion only after i went to reconciliation, I would only be able to do so on a Saturday when reconciliation is available right before the vigil mass , because then I would only have a short time frame between reconciliation and the mass, to not get into any trouble or be tempted, an i would be able to be at peace for a short time while in prayer before mass.
I dont give into paranoia and scruples anymore, I go to reconciliation when I know I need to; and I don’t worry any longer on recieving communion. IFi am not in a state of grace or whatever to really recieve communion, then i just figure 99% of the congregation really isnt either, and we can all have a nice ride to damnation or purgatory together.
I hope you continue to find help for your OCD and that your worries will ease up soon for you. Don’t give up hope.
One goes to confession if they are aware of grave, intentional sin. Of course we do not receive when we are aware of grave sin on our soul.
For someone with OCD / Scruples, you must allow those on your team (confessor, spiritual director, parents, medical professionals, etc.) to help because determining what is and what is not gravely sinful is beyond your ability right now.
That’s certainly an old-school form of piety, and the legacy reason as to why Saturday is the most popular day for confessions. If you’re old and/or from a foreign country where this is the standard, that’s one thing. But if you are a middle aged or younger American, that’s definitely ocd’ish.
That’s overly scrupulous.
If you went to Confession Saturday and don’t commit any mortal sins, there’s no reason not to receive the Eucharist on Sunday.
Best post I have ever seen on this subject.
That’s not good either, that’s kind of the opposite extreme from the OP.
Extreme scruples are no good, but neither is extreme wantonness.
Approach the sacred Mysteries with fear and trepidation - don’t approach carelessly, and don’t simply not approach for imagined sins which don’t exist. Either attitude is wrong.
@CatholicCatLover I prefer receiving communion right after confession. It’s the best possible scenario. But that is not always possible or practical. Jesus told us to be at peace, so don’t let excessive preoccupation ruin the sacraments for you. It’s not all on you.
If you have doubts, having confessed recently, just say the act of contrition sincerely (for whatever you can’t think of included) before mass or even during mass. Then receive communion in peace.
The emphasis, as @Spyridon suggested, is also on sincerity when approaching the Eucharist. Yes we are all sinners but what Our Lord wants from us is sincere contrition. So turn towards Him with sincerity and be at peace.
The Church has always taught that if we are not in the state of grace (or have doubts if we are), then we must go to Confession to bring our souls back into the state of grace before receiving Holy Communion.
Yes, but for the person with OCD / Scruples it is sort of like being farsighted, their glasses are very foggy and smeared, the prescription is not correct, they cannot accurately determine what is sin and what is just a smeared lens. They need a team to help them get their vision clear.
From experience, perhaps what would be best is to consult your Pastor, and see if you can find a Spiritual Director with whom you can get along well.
Good Spiritual Directors can sometimes have a background in psychology, and they can help reckon the differences between psychology, morality and liturgy. If they are a Priest, they can also provide dedicated confessional meeting times outside the general “just before mass on Saturday” time.
To find a Spiritual Director, just call your church or Archdiocese, and specifically state “I’m looking for a Spiritual Director”. You might have to look around a bit, and you might have to try a few people, but persevere, and you will find what you seek.
Continuing the discussion from Anyone else only take Communion if they've gone to confession beforehand?:
To be clear, a sacrament is definitely “an outward sign that confers grace”, so it is precisely protecting this guarantee that the OP is concerned about.
In other words, if one has legitimately confessed and done penance, the sacrament of penance guarantees that one is in fact in a state of grace; and then one is assured of the further graces of communion.
Some people can take the OP’s question a step further. They’ll go from asking “am I worthy to receive communion” to “did I make a legitimate confession”? So - your objection to being able to know if you are in a state of grace could be upheld by questioning the validity of the confession - but then faith isn’t always a matter of knowledge. Faith can define a sort of knowledge, but at some point one is simply going to have to accept that by faith we can in fact know we are in a state of grace by virtue of the promise that a sacrament is an outward sign which itself confers grace.
For all the Sunday Masses at our parish, there is confession beforehand, so I always go, because I’m never sure of the state of my soul. I’m not a morally strong person so I need to keep close to God.
But if I’m not aware of any mortal sin & am at daily Mass, I go to Communion. It depends.
If you are not sure if you are in the state of grace, and can’t hurt to go to Confession more frequently. Our pastor used to tell us it is acceptable to go to Confession even before you sin as the strength of the Sacrament will help prevent you from sinning all the more. If that is the case when you go, you can simply re-confess a previously confessed sin.
This is true, however, if one suffers from OCD / Scruples, they need assistance to discern.
Yeah I am an Australian teen diagnosed with OCD
This happened to me today so I didn’t go.
I’m in a similar situation as you. If I didn’t commit mortal sin since last confession, I’m likely in a state of grace capable of receiving Communion, but I still feel anxious so I sit in the pew. (The exception is First Saturday — it’s almost as if I have been given a “purpose” to receive Communion so I feel less anxious.)
I just don’t feel that I have true love and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and certainly don’t want even the remote possibility of unworthy reception of the Eucharist.
We should trust in God’s Mercy, and I think Jesus would want us to overcome our scruples but it’s not easy…
I do not have scrupulosity and, assuming I am not conscious of any grave sins, I do not feel a need to go to confession more than twice a month. I try to receive Communion daily in view of the fact that 1) the Church encourages us to receive, because doing so provides the recipient with great graces, and 2) each plenary indulgence requires us to receive one Holy Communion. In the case where I receive Communion but don’t manage to complete the indulgenced work, I can still offer my communion for a soul in Purgatory.
I have found that the requirement to be in a state of grace has actually discouraged me from committing grave sins. Like when I think about committing the sin, I remember that I will not be able to get to confession for X number days because it’s not offered every day around here, and that I would not be able to receive Communion or otherwise earn the indulgences until I confessed. And that persuades me not to commit the grave sin.