Dealing With Scrupulosity and Doubt


#1

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday, I went to Holy Mass and as I was sitting in the pew I was struck with fear and doubt about whether I was worthy to receive the holy of holies. I was worried that I might have committed a mortal sin.

As I examined my conscience, I was able to discern that the main action that caused me such worry wasn’t, logically, as much as a threat as I thought it was.

I was able to discern that I wasn’t sure that it was even grave matter, and that I certainly wasn’t sure that I had actually committed a mortal sin at all. As I delved deeper into using my reason, I was struck with how “silly” it was that I was so worried about it…and yet I could not shake the feelings of fear and doubt about my unworthiness to receive Holy Communion.

And so, I did what I have been taught to do in these situations by my priest and my spiritual mentor:

I decided that since I wasn’t sure that I had committed a mortal sin, then I could not have committed a mortal sin. Therefore, I took Holy Communion.

Even still, I am bothered by the feeling of doubt and fear. Now it is a fear that I may have caused a grave rupture with God by taking Holy Communion unworthily.

However even this is odd on a rational level. I know I could not go to my priest during confession and honestly tell him that I know that I have taken Communion unworthily. The best I could do was say: “I think that I might have taken Communion unworthily.”

I also know what his response would be…namely simply assuring me that I could not have committed grave sin without knowing for sure that I was doing so.

Again, I am confronted by the fact that, on a rational level, this fear and doubt makes no sense.

But the feelings of uncertainty, and the fear that it engenders, are very difficult for me to shake. I feel as though there is a weight on my conscience that I cannot put off.

Over the years since partaking of the sacrament of confession, and the year since I have begun to take the Holy Eucharist, it has become clear to myself and my fathers in the faith that I am scrupulous and prone to feelings of doubt.

However, I have come to cherish the feeling of certainty that the sacraments give to me…a certainty that I did not have as an Evangelical Baptist.

Right now, however, I feel as if I am clouded and unable to deal with my doubts.

I was wondering if my fellow Catholics here could give me any advice or counsel to deal with what I am feeling. At the very least, I hope I can get some help to sort this out and find some level of the certainty that brings peace to my mind and heart.

Thanks in advance!


#2

Hi! :slight_smile:

we are very alike! lol! One thing that helped me, was just thinking that Jesus really wants us to receive Him in Communion, and the only thing that can ever prevent Him from uniting HImself with us, is mortal sin. If you’re still not sure if you’ve had mortal sin or not… hmm well what I do, is I just go to Confession and talk to my priest about it. But remember that the devil tries anything he can to get us to stop receiving the Eucharist, he also tries to make us lose our peace and doubt… if you didn’t actually have a mortal sin, these feelings are definitely not from God. I suggest you just trust Him, and talk to your confessor, and believe what your confessor tells you. Try to always receive the Lord with trust, because this pleases Him. If you feel unworthy, sinful, but don’t think you have a mortal sin - that’s alright to feel this way, but don’t let that stop you from receiving the Eucharist - remember, only mortal sin is a good reason not to receive - just trust in God’s mercy, He’s our hope though we are sinners!

God bless


#3

Even (especially) the saints felt this from time to time. Use it to humble yourself and practice trust…offer it up as a sacrifice and watch the devil flee! Remember that none of us are worthy, but Jesus is waiting for us anyway.

Be like a child…run to Him with trust…

“Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word, and I SHALL be healed!”


#4

Ah, but its so difficult to trust! :o

I would have thought I would have learned my lesson before, as I had similar if not identical feelings in the moments prior to my full Initiation by Confirmation and First (legit) Holy Communion…and yet that experience was one of the most joyous and wonderful experiences of my life! :D:thumbsup::smiley:

I can’t even remember what I was worried about back then! LOL!! :rolleyes:

I think a part of it is that I feel like sometimes my doubts are something “sure” and “certain” that I can cling to. When I let go and trust in Christ, in His mercy and promises, I feel like I am free-falling with no control.

I guess I am sort of a control freak…but Jesus didn’t say that I needed to be a control freak…He said, “Be not afraid! It is I.”


#5

I think a part of it is that I feel like sometimes my doubts are something “sure” and “certain” that I can cling to. When I let go and trust in Christ, in His mercy and promises, I feel like I am free-falling with no control.

but He will catch you :slight_smile:


#6

Dear Antonius -
I, too, have been scrupulous for many years.
I don’t know how to best describe it - a plague - a cross - a curse.

However, in your case, I would tell the priest - ANYTIME you feel you have received unworthily. Why? Because if you don’t - you will walk away from the confessional thinking you omitted confessing what you believed to be a sin - leaving you with a newer, heavier burden. Trust me - I know the feeling.

You SHOULD tell the priest in advance during your confession that you suffer from scrupulosity. Then, the priest will know how to deal with your confession and how best to advise you. The Holy Communion already received, which you referred to, may VERY WELL have been a worthy one - but for your peace of soul and mind - just tell the priest. That’s what he’s there for.

God bless and help you - and all of us who suffer this horrific spiritual trial. May God provide us with many priests who have the patience and wisdom to help us!


#7

Amen, and thank you brother. :thumbsup:

Any other comments or thoughts are still most welcome to any who wish to offer them.


#8

Dear Antonius… I’m not sure if you’ve read (or are familiar with) "The Diary of St. Faustina. But there was a time, when she too had this same doubt. At that time… Our Lord spoke to her, concerning her doubts. This is from “The Diary of St. Faustina”. I hope it helps you. It has helped me greatly. God bless.


(156)Once I desired very much to receive Holy Communion, but I had a certain doubt, and I did not go. I suffered greatly because of this. It seemed to me that my heart would burst from the pain. When I set about my work, my heart full of bitterness, Jesus suddenly stood by me and said, “My daughter, do not omit Holy Communion unless you know well that your fall was serious; apart from this, no doubt must stop you from uniting yourself with Me in the mystery of My love. Your minor faults will disappear in My love like a piece of straw thrown into a great furnace. Know that you grieve Me much when you fail to receive Me in Holy Communion”.


#9

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