In my journey to be a more pious Catholic, I have faced the bombardment of impure thoughts over the past few weeks. I do my absolute best to get rid of them, praying almost incessantly while clutching my Rosary if I have it with me. I can see the images right there in my mind, but I do not want to give in and commit sin. They usually stay around as I try to focus on getting rid of them which really troubles me and makes me question whether or not I’ve sinned. I should probably mention that I’m in college and have been frequenting confession for the past few months quit often. I just wish there was a light that blinked mortal sin in my mind to let me know if I gave in or not, because I become hesistant as to whether I should receive or abstain from doing so. Any advice? Thanks.
It’s hard to say what it is, but it has been my experience that stuff like this comes from a seed of resentment, pain of past, untrustfulness… is harbored in the heart. Find it and reconcile.
You know, everyone falls into occasions for sin every day - probably countless times per day for most people! The question is: what does one do when they are faced with an opportunity to sin? In your case, you show a strong desire not to succumb to temptations, and you know that you can turn to prayer to help you. These are positives - so don’t beat yourself up because you have impure thoughts: you are human and we all have to face temptations every day. We can choose to become more virtuous by triumphing over them, or we can give in and face the consequences of sin. You seem determined to do the former - so stay on that track. You say that you have been frequenting confession recently, and undoubtedly this is good & it’s probably helping to keep you on the straight and narrow. But, I recall someone asking you in a different thread whether or not you had problems with scrupulosity - if you think you do (if you are frequently getting stressed and feelings of guilt over occasions of sin), then I would strongly recommend that you discuss this with a priest.
From your description, I suspect you may suffer from something called scrupulosity mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupanon.htm. I suffer from scrupulosity, and have been through your situation thousands of times. You can be assured that there is no sin, especially mortal sin. The presence of these thoughts are not sinful at all. From you description, it is evident that you do anything and everything in your power to get rid of these thoughts. However, your obsessive reaction may only be aggravating the problem. Becoming so anxious and fearful only makes the temptation worse, and increases the likelihood that these thoughts remain in your mind. The best thing to do in this situation is to just “let it go.” I know it is so much easier said than done because you are so concerned about whether or not you are truly lusting… but nevertheless you have to pray for the courage to trust in God’s love and mercy and believe that everything will be ok if you just let it pass.
As far as mortal sin goes, I highly recommend that you read this: mission.liguori.org/newsletters/pdf_archive/november2005sa_web.pdf
Unless you are 10000% sure that you mortally sinned, receive the Eucharist. By denying yourself of communion you are ripping yourself away from the strongest assistance you have to conquer these thoughts. I know very well how difficult this is for you, but rest assured that if you persevere God WILL get you through this. It is a horrible cross to bear… but Jesus will help you carry it You are in my prayers
Thanks a lot for your responses. When I was lukewarm in the faith (high school and part of last year) things like this didn’t really bother me, but I took a huge turn and really started placing the focus of my life on Catholicism. I’ve been Catholic for my whole life and haven’t missed a mass in probably 10 years or so (I think I was sick once), but lately it seemed like that wasn’t enough. I’ve started reading books and really allowing God and Jesus to change me. I think the problem is that this happened so fast and I have always had a tendency to overthink things, so scrupulosity followed. It just troubles me that I have the thoughts in the first place while I am trying so hard to be the man God is calling me to be. I know they are temptations, but I just fear that there is always an invisible line that I step near. I don’t really know how to overcome it, despite getting advice from priests, so I just hope that it is a temporal state of mind.
I should also add that I just attended a Votive Mass and received. Thank you very much, and I’ll keep you in my prayers as well. We’re all in the same boat, just hauling different sails.
Remember sin is a choice, not a temptation. You aren’t sinning just by feeling tempted. Keep on praying and dont give up sooner or later temptation goes away. Commit yourself to our Blessed Mother. God bless
Okay. I very strongly suspect that this is from the devil. When I first converted to an active Christian life, I endured a major demonic attack, and when I converted to Catholicism, I endured another major demonic attack. Each involved enduring tribulations for months. Jesus and the saints endured the same thing; this is common to the Christian journey. As soon as Jesus started His ministry – I mean right after He was baptized in the Jordan River – the devil took Him into the desert and afflicted Him with temptations for 40 days. When St. Jerome went into the desert in his journey into monasticism, he endured terrible temptations. He saw visions of nude Roman girls dancing around him. I’ve read that when saints enter the “Dark Night of the Soul,” they also are often afflicted with thoughts of even blasphemy and hatred of God, thoughts that cause them to feel torment inside their hearts (because they love God so much) and make them wonder if they are cut off from God.
This is a normal part of what happens to Christians when they start coming to God in a newly active and focused way. The devil hates the good that he sees God doing, so he attacks the faithful to try to throw them off course.
Keep praying and persevere. The tribulations will relent when the appointed days are over. In the meantime, keep frequenting the sacraments, both Confession and the Eucharist. These thoughts are not your choice but your cross, your battle of this time. Christ’s victory through you will bring glory to God and make you a more useful servant to Him.
This battle is the result of Christ taking power over your life. The devil is striking back, trying to get you to despair and give up. Jesus says through Matthew 10:22, “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” And from Revelation 3, “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.” Just stand firm and fight the battle God is calling you to fight. God is with you.
You might want to give this a try. This is one of Father Corapi’s suggestions.
Whenever you experience any kind of unwanted thoughts (be they thoughts of impurity; judgement toward others; unkindness of any sort… etc., etc.)… you can try repeating any short prayer, until the unwanted thoughts cease.
I use the “Glory Be”… because it is short, and easy to remember. Fr. Corapi suggested the “Hail Mary” or “Our Father”; and you can also repeat the Holy Name of Jesus… until the unwanted thoughts disappear.
Give it a try. It works! God bless you.
Thanks for those website links. They helped me a lot with my scrupulosity.
no problem. i know how heavy a cross this is to bear, and any assistance i can give to anyone suffering from this disease is the least i could do for all the blessings God has bestowed upon my life. don’t lose hope, and always persevere. with Jesus nothing is impossible. God bless you