My Scrupulous Tendencies...(Prayers Appreciated)

Hey, folks. It’s been several years since I last posted here. But, recently, I felt a call back to the faith :signofcross: I am currently continuing to deal with a severe case of the scruples. I have OCD, which compounds to create quite a dilemma for me. I feel like God blessed me with an answer recently to my scruples, as I tend to see not everything I worry about as being mortally sinful, let alone a sin in the first place. I have come to seek guidance on a few issues which I intend to pray about and discuss with my confessor.

Recently, at my Catholic High School, I have encountered several issues…

  1. I feel like I am committing a sin by not wishing every person I talk to a “God Bless” at the end of every conversation. Sometimes, I try to force it and I get looked upon as if I have three heads. Sometimes I don’t do it at all out of fear of the awkwardness of the context. The same thing in my workplace: I work at Staples, and I don’t necessarily know if my bosses would like it if I attempt to bring faith into the workplace in regards to my interactions with customers. By ommiting saying “God Bless”, am I commiting some degree of sin?

  2. I am currently 16, turning 17 in a few months, and I am employed. For the purpose of this discussion, I should note that I have about 600 dollars saved up from work. The issue here is this: I have made a list of items I believe I should technically be obligated to make restitution for. The most recent of all of these items was when I was a freshman, before I had really begun to be enveloped in my faith as much as I am now (praise God). My parents told me I’m essentially torturing myself by worrying about making restitution for the sins of my youth. I have confessed to stealing in several forms, but oddly enough I’ve never mentioned restitution. I feel consumed by this issue, like I won’t be able to be fully peaceful until I can make right by each and every person on my list. Some items are pretty practical, like repaying Target an estimated $25 for an item I stole. Others include a baseball card (likely worth no more than $5) that I stole from a flea market. One is even a textbook from 6th grade that I kept, or books from my 7th grade English teacher’s class library that I kept. She is now retired, yet I still have the books in my possession. I know by doctrine we are obligated to make restitution, but I truly wish there is something to do to cover it all and leave it behind in a “fresh start”. Additionally, I downloaded illegal music before, or listened to songs illegally shared on YouTube. How would make restitution for those? There’s so many things that are troubling me that I don’t know where to begin. Every time I feel like I have a plan on how to deal with it, another item I need to atone for rises to my mind. It’s a never ending vicious cycle!

  3. I had a debate with an atheist in my religion class the other day, and after he handed me his email and said we could continue the debate onto email. He is very confident in his atheistic ways. Should I be obligated to continue this discussion with him? I don’t really want to, but I don’t know if I don’t whether or not I’ll be sinning on some level. I don’t want to have him plant seeds of doubt in my heads after finally being at peace with my faith.

  4. I sometimes tend to be lazy in my schoolwork, knowing it is not right. My parents to pay for my education, and I am so grateful and blessed by God for that. So, if I tend to procrastinate in my homework, or not do certain questions or problems, is it mortally sinful?

PEACE AND LOVE,
Zach.

Zach,

I am also quite scrupulous, and suffer with OCD, it can be very difficult, but you must remember God loves you consistently and constantly. The devil can trick you into thinking that anything is a sin if he has a convincing enough argument.

As for saying “God Bless” at the end of every conversation, it is in no way a mortal sin (by any known sources I have seen). This may be very much a part of the OCD you struggle with. You may obsess over saying it, and then you feel the need (compulsively) to say it. When you don’t you haven’t satisfied your compulsion, and you continue to obsess, making you feel like you’ve missed something or sinned.

As for your restitutions, take things one step at a time. God does not demand everything at once, he actually prefers that one takes small steps to achieve holiness. So, take one restitution at a time. Repay one and when you think of another one to repay, make a plan, and execute it when it is possible. Trying to do it all at once will be too overwhelming. As for your illegal YouTube music, I can not fully say what could be done, besides deleting the illegal copies, and then legally purchasing the songs from the appropriate companies (therefore giving them the pay they were due).

Regarding the debate with your Atheist friend, wait and set up a good time to either meet with him online or face-to-face. Online may actually help you as you have access to the internet and other resources for help with an argument. If he stumps you or if you get stuck have a copy of the CCC, Catholic Answers.com, or the Bible on you to help you out. With these and the Holy Spirit at your side, you may actually wind up stumping him/her!

I also procrastinate with my homework (I attend a public high school), however it is important to try to get it done as soon as possible. If you are having trouble with a problem it’s OK (in my opinion) to save it and ask someone more knowledgable about it later so you get the right answer and an explanation as to why. If you have trouble concentrating, take a break, but remember to continue on later. My rule is, as long as it’s done before the teacher starts going over it, it is done “validly.” If you are very tired or busy, it is OK to skip a certain assignment as long as you have time to complete it sufficiently before class later on.

I hope this helps! You are in my prayers! -Sam

Praying for you to find the help you need.

I too have suffered with Scrupulosity and if I’m not careful it will rear its ugly head. You mentioned that you had left the church and recently felt the call to come back. This is ultimately what the Devil wants to do is to have you leave the church. I feel Scrupulosity can be a great tool for him in this regard.

Make sure and remind yourself how much God loves you. His love is infinite. Remember what He says to St. Faustina “…the greater the sinner, the greater his right to His mercy.”

If you feel exasperated, uneasy or anxious I feel that’s usually a sign the Devil is trying his tricks. He’ll put you on a treadmill and try and not give you any peace.

The Holy Spirit is peace and love. :slight_smile:

Sam, the only issue with the youtube music is that there’s so many songs that I didn’t even know I was doing anything illegal until recently. additionally, some of the music is songs I no longer find appropriate to listen to.

Zach,

If I were in your place, I would try and estimate as best I could when the illegal downloading started. That way I could identify all the songs that were downloaded illegally. Then, You could find all the songs that you find inappropriate and calculate the total cost of those songs. Obviously, it would be just as inappropriate to repurchase those songs and support those who made them, so why not give the money to charity? Thereby making a restitution for the theft (giving away the money) while supporting those who need it.

As for the other songs, remember if you initially miss one or several songs when looking back, don’t panic! If you honestly forgot or estimated wrong, God knows. He knows your heart mind forwards and backwards and He is always ready to forgive. The goal is to try and do the best you possibly can until God shows you how to be even better!

Hope this helps too! You are still in my prayers! -Sam

If I can find the artists songs on their legal youtube page, or on the legal spotify, then I don’t necessarily think I need to pay them back right? I never downloaded the songs off of youtube, just listened to them. Me listening wasn’t illegal (thats on the uploader), but it is immoral. If the songs can be accessed freely and legally in another way, by listening to them there that should suffice, no?

Well, from what you say it sounds like you simply must stop listening to the inappropriate songs altogether and, certainly, if you can find the songs you like legally and freely on the web, you are more than welcome to listen! The reparations would only really need to be necessary if you paid money for their songs illegally (which is what I initially thought you said, sorry!). No, you just need to stop listening to what is inappropriate and delete it completely if have any songs you have purchased, and all of your other music is probably fine where and how it is!

-Sam

I’ve heard that I’m only obligated to make restitution for other things if my confessor says I do, no?

Yes, if your confessor thinks it is necessary for you to make any extra restitutions, you are recommended to do them and any penance the confessor gives. However, I think only penances are obligated by the confessor, extra restitutions are likely only strongly recommended. You may want to check other sources, such as the CCC, it is far more specific and reliable than me!

I’m referring to these particular items, like things I stole when I was in 7th grade. It’s been four years since then. If he says I don’t need to make restitution, I should trust in his guidance?

Yes, he is likely right, you do not have to make a restitution after all these years, or at least it is no longer necessary. However, if you still feel the need to make reparations, you are more than welcome to! Remember, while priests are only human, about 95% of the time they are incredibly reliable sources of the Truth. Trust in them and, unless that say something totally bizarre that you know is wrong, they are usually right!

continueing debates I think is not something we are required to, why? because not everyone is good at apologetics, and they could end up convrting you, or you could confuse them, etc. tell me are you sure you could handle him? I have deal with atheist in the past and sometimes what they say comes back to me when in moments of weakness, and believe me, I somehow wish I’ve never heard their arguments. not saying this happens to all, but i would suggest contacting your priest before, maybe you should develop your knowledge of the faith before engaging into debates, or maybe you should not engage in those at all, speak to him.

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