5. You shall not hesitate to look at any crucifix or at any statue in church or at home or anywhere else because you may get bad thoughts in your mind and imagination. If such thoughts occur, they carry no sin whatever.
Although this commandment deals with a situation that is not necessarily a problem for all scrupulous persons, it is nevertheless a real burden for some. If you try to avoid the problem by not looking, the problem will tend to become more severe. It is a much better choice to meet the problem head on. Thoughts and imaginations that occur in this situation are simply not sinful. One should try and confront fear, not give in to it.
6. You shall not consider yourself guilty of bad thoughts, desires, or feelings, unless you can honestly swear before the all-truthful God that you remember clearly and certainly consenting to them.
This is a very important commandment. The whole area of impure thoughts and desires causes scrupulous people much anxiety. Unfortunately, scrupulous persons often believe that the very appearance of thoughts or desires in their thoughts or imagination means that they have committed a sin. This is most certainly not the case. In fact, it is humanly impossible for us to have absolute control over our interior faculties. Such thoughts and images are going to happen, whether we like them or not.
Because we simply do not have absolute control over our interior faculties, the emphasis of the commandment is on clear and certain consent. Only a free consent, that is clear and certain, constitutes a sin. You can not accidentally or involuntarily be guilty of sin.
**7. You shall not disobey your confessor when he tells you never to make another general confession of past sins already confessed. **
It is not unusual for the scrupulous person to desire to make “just one more general confession.” The desire to do so is prompted by a wish for inner peace and calm. However, the exact opposite is more often than not a result. The anxiety generated by the process of examination and preparation, the actual confession, and then the review of the confession, produces no inner peace or calm. There always has to be “just one more.”
The wisdom of this commandment is found in two simple words: No more! If the scrupulous person will follow the advice of their confessor on this matter, they will have a chance of finding peace. Otherwise, there is only turmoil, anxiety, and stress.
**8. You shall believe and act accordingly, so that whenever you are in doubt as to whether or not you are obliged to do or not to do something, you can take it for certain that you are not obligated. **
This commandment underlines the basic moral principle that doubtful laws or obligations do not bind the scrupulous conscience. The great saint, and our patron, Saint Alphonsus Liguori teaches: “When there exists in a scrupulous person the habitual will not to offend God, it is certain that he or she acts in doubt and there is no sin…”
I find it very reassuring to read the words of Saint Alphonsus in reference to this matter. It is good to know that the teaching of our very wise patron and model, a saint whom you might recall also suffered greatly from scrupulosity, is so clear and straightforward. “There is no sin,” are the words we need to hear and recall as often as necessary.
**9. If, before you perform or omit an act, you are doubtful whether or not it is sinful for you, you shall assume as certain that it is not sinful and shall proceed to act without any dread of sin whatever. **
This commandment is also supported by Saint Alphonsus. In his advice to confessors he says, “Scrupulous persons tend to fear that everything they do is sinful. The confessor should command them to act without restraint and overcome their anxiety. He should tell them that their first obligation is to conquer their scruples. They should act against their groundless fears. The confessor may command the scrupulous to conquer their anxiety and disregard it by freely doing whatever it tells them not to do. The confessor may assure the penitent the he or she need never confess such a thing.”
**10. You shall put your total trust in Jesus Christ, knowing that he loves you as only God can love, and that he will never allow you to lose your soul. **