How can I forget past sins and move on?

Hey all:

I thought this may be more appropriate here… seeking some of your advice, rather than asking an apologist.

I am a cradle Catholic. Like so many others, I did not really take my religion seriously or fully understand the gravity of what happens at the mass until I was in my early-mid twenties. I lived a very sinful past… breaking many of God’s commandments, receiving the Eucharist in a state of sin, viewing pornography, etc. I just wasn’t a good person.

I have since tried to make several good confessions and have even received a general confession so I can move on and be the man I want to be… forgetting my past. The problem is, my sins haunt me and I cannot get over feeling sorry for them. This bothers me so much sometimes that it strongly affects me.

I really don’t think that I am a scrupulous person and I believe that God has forgiven me. Should I embrace these sorrows as a reparation to God? When can I move on? How can I move on?

One question, brother in Christ:

If God has seen fit to forgive you and that was His decision, why is it that you think you know better than He? Are you more wise than God Himself?:wink:

To carry around this load of bricks upon your back when Christ already removed the load from your burden is to tell Him that His help was not sufficient. And I don’t think you want to send that message to Him, do you?

A lingering consciousness of the guilt that was involved in your sin is not necessarily a bad thing; the memory of that former guilt may well help you in avoiding returning to that same state in the future.

When you made a good confession and completed your penance, Christ washed away your sin and completely forgot about what it was you did in the first place. He places no more blame on you and neither should you.

God bless you, forgiveness of ourselves is sometimes the most difficult,

Kelly:thumbsup:

When you made a good confession and completed your penance, Christ washed away your sin and completely forgot about what it was you did in the first place. He places no more blame on you and neither should you.

Not entirely true. Christ does not “forget” our sins. We are forgiven after confessing our sins, but we must still atone for them. This is what purgatory is for.

I have since tried to make several good confessions and have even received a general confession so I can move on and be the man I want to be… forgetting my past. The problem is, my sins haunt me and I cannot get over feeling sorry for them. This bothers me so much sometimes that it strongly affects me.

It is natural to regret the actions of our past. For example, St. Augustine was a brilliant man who was very sinful early in his life. He rejected the promptings of his mother, St. Monica to adhere to the Catholic faith and he became a renowned heretic. He was very lustful, even fathering a child out of wedlock!

Eventually, with the help of years of prayer from his mother, he realized his sinfulness and expressed a regret, similar to what you are experiencing:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

Do not lose sight of the fact that God’s forgiveness is real. You should rest assured that your sins are forgiven if you made every attempt to make a good confession. Pray for peace and accept that Christ’s mercy is unfathomable and limitless.

One thing that you can do is to create a new “you”.

For example: find a Catholic church that is convenient to your home or to your workplace and figure out a way to start attending daily Mass.

Go for walks after work and make a map of all the Catholic churches.

Buy a bunch of Catholic books (Catholic Answers has a huge collection of books and what they call “tracts” which are outstanding explanations of bits of Catholicism). Get on the mailing list for the various Catholic publishers. Explore Catholic Web sites.

The point is that rather than trying to dismiss or forget past sins, it is better to exert the same effort at building a new “you”. At some time in the future, what will happen is that the postive accomplishments of the new “you” will begin to outweigh the negativity of the old “you”.

You will have read a hundred Catholic books or two hundred and have begun to actually understand all that stuff and be able to explain it. And take delight in your new knowledge and skills.

I will post a list of Catholic Web sites for you to download and print out.


P.S. Look up Father John Corapi; he has a Web site. His retreats and sermons are frequently broadcast on EWTN. Read up on his background. He’s right up there with Saint Augustine in terms of the stuff he’s done. But he rebuilt his life … and became not only a priest but one of the finest preachers in Christendom.

Catholic Web Sites

As promised, here is a list to explore. There are hundreds. And new ones all the time.

Google “Catholic Web sites”. Here are a few to start with.:

www.olmcriddgewood.com

www.zenit.org

www.catholic.com

www.ccaction.com

www.catholicleague.org

www.newadvent.org

www.spiritdaily.com

www.magnificat.com

www.envoymagazine.com

      [www.rc.net](www.rc.net)

www.acfp2000.com

 [www.ewtn.com](www.ewtn.com)	

www.therealpresence.org

www.rcan.org

www.franciscanfriars.com

     [www.ccli.org](www.ccli.org)

www.oratorydl.com

www.sophiainstitute.com

[www.scotthahn.com](www.scotthahn.com)   

www.unfairchoice.info

www.mindszenty.org

[www.tanbooks.com](www.tanbooks.com)

www.inthearmsofmary.org

        [www.hli.org](www.hli.org)	

www.catholicculture.org

          [www.cuf.org](www.cuf.org)

www.catholicexchange.com

www.pop.org

www.cardinalkungfoundation.org

I appreciate this saying…

When God forgives us of our sins…he takes them and throws them into the deepest part of the ocean. Then he posts a sign…No fishing!

forgive yourself too. If you want to atone for your sins…volunteer, pray for others, go on a retreat…etc.

Or seek out guidance with a spiritual director. If God can forgive you, why not try forgiving yourself!

He loves us, warts and all!

I understand what you are saying. It sounds so much like my life. I just can’t forgive myself and actually fantisize about living in a dark cave. I don’t feel that I’m worthy of forgiveness and even now I am thinking of quiting my career & travel like a hobo. I know how crazy that sounds and I have a job with a lot of authority and great pay. I think that if it wasn’t for my family, Mother & siblings 10,000 miles away that I don’t want to disappoint, I would just drop out and quit. If you met me, you would never know how depressed I am. I will pray for you. Godspeed.

I don’t think this statement is true. Purgatory is a way of purging away imperfections that we still have at the time of death. It’s not payment for confessed and forgiven sins.

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
Cathechism of the Catholic Church

Jim

I don’t think this statement is true. Purgatory is a way of purging away imperfections that we still have at the time of death. It’s not payment for confessed and forgiven sins, where penance would have been done.

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
Cathechism of the Catholic Church

Jim

You have to believe in the mercy of God.

Perhaps learning about his Divine Mercy, and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet will help you.

Here’s a place to learn about it.

ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/index.htm

Jim

I’m pretty certain about this one. The sacrament of Reconciliation does not remove all temporal punishment for our sins. It releases us from eternal punishment, but not from the temporal punishment that is suffered both on earth and if necessary in purgatory if there is any temporal punishment still to be paid. From the Catechism…

**The punishments of sin **
**1472 **To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.83
**1473 **The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the "new man."84

**1496 **The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  • reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
  • reconciliation with the Church;
  • remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
  • remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
  • peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
  • an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

Jeremiah 29 (NAB)
11 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.
12 When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.
13 When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart,
14 you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you, says the LORD, and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.

Luke 12
32 Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.

OK, from my understanding, penance removes the temporal punishment, which is what indulgences are about.

The way it was explained to me once by a priest is, " a child breaks a window. He goes to his father and ask for forgiveness. The father forgives him, but the window is still broken and must be repaired." Penance, while here on earth or in purgatory, are the means of repairing the damage done by sin.

Seem to make sense to me, and it also removes the idea that we’re being punished by God, but rather, making amends to the damage caused to our souls, but sin.

Jim

Penance removes some temporal punishment. That is what is stated in #1469. However, in 1473, we see that:

**1473 **The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains.

Thank you! I have gone to this site and I hope to stick to it. I know I would never harm myself or others, but I need to live, at least hope to live! Right now I think that I do not deserve to be happy and that I am not good enough for anyone and will be alone forever. Surprisingly, almost all my co-workers think that I am happy and they like me. I do not like myself.

I am now looking for another job. The crazy thing is that my current job is one that most would love to have. I am paid very well, I work with many diferent agancies from around the pacific and I travel often on planes and boats to exotic places. It does call for me to judge others, as it is law enforcement, and I am having a hard time judging anyone.

I am sorry for my whining. I need to try to be a man, a Christian man again.

Thank you all and God Bless you.

I just can’t forgive myself and actually fantisize about living in a dark cave. I don’t feel that I’m worthy of forgiveness and even now I am thinking of quiting my career & travel like a hobo.

A dear friend told me “God convicts, the devil condemns.” This self-degradation you are engaged in is from Satan, not God. Christ has set you free. Satan wants to keep you in bondage with guilt and self-loathing. Do not reject Our Lord’s gift for you by believing in the evil one’s lies.

A happy occurance, the life of Saint Faustina is on EWTN right now, as I am first hearing & reading of her on the internet. I hope to increase my faith. I ask to be strong enough to be selfless. I hope to mean and live the words in which I speak. For I am in a dark pit of my own dispair and sin. I hope to have hope to climb out. I thank you and pray for blessings for all you who help each of us. I especially pray for those who need help, to accept it and to pass on to others. WE all have good days and bad days. I long to know the Lord! Thank you, Godbless & Godspeed.

I have struggled and continue to struggle with the same things. I just cannot put my guilt behind me. But I’m working on it, improving. In addition to having a good and understanding regular confessor, I strongly recommend seeking other help. I’ve been going to a counselor for a year now, and it’s helped me immensely. Perhaps such a thing would help you too.

Remember, God did not make us to destroy us! He hates our sins because of his great love for us! Think of it this way, when a bone breaks, you do not hit it with a sledge hammer. No, you set it and put a cast on, because the bone is very important to you and you want it to heal. In the same way, we’re very important to God, and he wants nothing more than our mending.

Your sorrow for sins, like all pain, is useful and good only insofar as it brings you to a right relationship with God. When your sorrow, based on love for God, causes you to bring your sins to the Sacrament of Forgiveness, to praise him for his mercy, to plead with him for the ability to do his will, and actually go out and do his will, then this sorrow is truly of God. As soon as it starts to interfere with your ability to do God’s will in the present (with that will, of course, including contrition and the confession of past mortal sins), then you can be sure it’s not of God.

I find the following quote from St. Padre Pio helpful…

The Spirit of God is a spirit of peace. Even in the most serious faults He makes us feel a sorrow that is tranquil, humble, and confident. This is precisely because of His mercy. The spirit of the devil, instead, excites, exasperates, and makes us feel, in that very sorrow, anger against ourselves. We should, on the contrary, be charitable with ourselves first and foremost. Therefore if any thought agitates you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives you peace, being the Spirit of Peace, but from the devil.

tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/35/keywords/+The+Way+of+DIvine+Love+/

Explore Theresa Drake

I find this book really helpful.

Also, I think doing acts of mercy helps us to forgive ourselves. In doing our acts of mercy we become closer to the Image of the All Merciful

Venting your pain does not mean that you are not a christian man… remember that Jesus did the same at Gethsamane… did that make him any less of a man?

Peace.

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