Need help


#1

Hello everyone. I love this forum and thank you guys for making it awesome.

I have a problem. I was going to go to confession tomorrow to confess something which I wasn't sure was a mortal or venial sin; actually I don't know if it was actually a sin at all!

Anyway I got presumptous and commited a mortal sin. I fear I may have just done it so I had something solid to confess tomorrow. I feel horrible now.

Have I commited another sin by doing this? Obviously I am very sorry for doing this and offending God, but if I was I wouldn't have done it in the first place. Thank you very much in advance for the replies!!!


#2

[quote="Eman_resu, post:1, topic:303727"]
I have a problem. I was going to go to confession tomorrow to confess something which I wasn't sure was a mortal or venial sin; actually I don't know if it was actually a sin at all!

Confession is required for mortal sins, but not limited to them. Let the confessor do the discernment.

Anyway I got presumptous and commited a mortal sin. I fear I may have just done it so I had something solid to confess tomorrow. I feel horrible now.

Been there.

Have I commited another sin by doing this?

Of course.

Obviously I am very sorry for doing this and offending God, but if I was I wouldn't have done it in the first place. Thank you very much in advance for the replies!!!

[/quote]

Let's see if I understood: while discerning whether or not the sin committed was venial or mortal (or whether there was any sin at all) you committed a sin you consider to be mortal. And you wonder whether you committed two sins now.

While only your confessor, after you explain things carefully, can discern this, I can give you my opinion.

The second is separate from the first. Let's focus on the second. You say "you got presumptuous". That is pride, one of the 3 root sins along with lust and vanity. The immediate excuse that was brought forth was: this way I am released from the anxiety and inner struggle over my scruples and I have something solid to confess. This is more common than you'd think (at least, I've seen it happen to me quite a bit and I'm not special :D). You yourself agree it was a mortal sin. That is rather bad, but while it may still be mortal, I would not see it as fully malicious: it was, in a way, triggered by anxiety and a natural need to be released from a stressor. Usually sins are triggered that way (especially lust and anger). We don't usually learn that it's not either repress or explode, but there's a third way, the Christian way of achieving equilibrium through an apprenticeship in self-mastery.

Back to the first one: your conscience told you that you did something sinful. Not sure if it was venial or mortal. It is therefore possible that your conscience, by the light of the Spirit, was aware that your intention was sinful, though perhaps the act in itself lacked all the aspects of mortal sin. But sometimes intention suffices, and the motion to confess is a motion that comes from grace, so we should never resist it.

Without knowing what that first something was, here's my thought.

It seems that you resisted the motion to Reconciliation, and that may be geared by pride, refusing to accept that you committed a mortal sin, that you lost sanctifying grace, that you betrayed Christ. You forgot that by yourself you are dust and utter nothingness, and you started to think over and over about that first sin instead of simply moving forward without looking back and approaching Christ to have your sin washed away forever.

When I trained boxing some years ago, I learned to first hit with a jab, and then strike (or, even worse, hit with an uppercut to the chin). The purpose of the quick and soft jab was to weaken, distract, make the person perhaps focus too much on a certain point, ultimately opening another spot, as well as to make the other person feel under attack and feel the presence of an attacker, which would elicit a defensive position. The strike or uppercut then would come by surprise, hurting both physically and psychologically.

How does any of this relate to you? Bear with me, it's 4 am :compcoff: I think it relates to all of us. Sometimes the adversary is rather clever, and when he knows he cannot hit us directly, he'll use the jab :rolleyes: Other times we're just so open he doesn't even need to...sometimes we're just exposing ourselves. But if we're on guard, "watching and praying", then the spirit will be ready, and strategies will have to be used to make us fall :shrug: And we will fall :shrug: What matters is that we keep getting up and moving forward. And that takes time, effort, commitment.


#3

Hi, Eman. Welcome to CAF!

You can find an Examination of Conscience in several locations online if you do a search. I think it's good to study different ones because sometimes a slightly different wording is more meaningful. That would help you, over time, get a clearer idea of where the different sins of commission and omission stand, so that you won't worry needlessly, but can make a good confession.

Go ahead to confession as you had planned and discuss what you've posted here with your priest. He can tell you the ins and outs of what you need to know and explain any additional questions that you may have about confession.

It's easier being Catholic when you're younger, or newly Catholic, because you don't know all the shades of wrong that affect your soul! But as you learn more, and realize that a lot more "things" fall into the category of sin than you had earlier known, it is easy for you to become a worrywart and let spiritual molehills become mountains of "Is this a sin? Is this a mortal sin?" . . . and on and on, until you work yourself into a mental extremism regarding sin, and you become obsessed with it. That is called scrupulosity. Don't go there. Instead, decide to trust in what the priest says. God forgives you, through the words of the priest, for the sins you reveal in confession. Once those sins are forgiven, that's it! All gone! Soul clean! So don't continue questioning yourself about sins that have been forgiven through absolution in confession, assuming you've made a good confession, have repented, resolved to change your ways, and carried out your penance.

Best wishes! (Don't worry! The priest will guide you.)


#4

[quote="R_C, post:2, topic:303727"]
Let's see if I understood: while discerning whether or not the sin committed was venial or mortal (or whether there was any sin at all) you committed a sin you consider to be mortal. And you wonder whether you committed two sins now.

While only your confessor, after you explain things carefully, can discern this, I can give you my opinion.

The second is separate from the first. Let's focus on the second. You say "you got presumptuous". That is pride, one of the 3 root sins along with lust and vanity. The immediate excuse that was brought forth was: this way I am released from the anxiety and inner struggle over my scruples and I have something solid to confess. This is more common than you'd think (at least, I've seen it happen to me quite a bit and I'm not special :D). You yourself agree it was a mortal sin. That is rather bad, but while it may still be mortal, I would not see it as fully malicious: it was, in a way, triggered by anxiety and a natural need to be released from a stressor. Usually sins are triggered that way (especially lust and anger). We don't usually learn that it's not either repress or explode, but there's a third way, the Christian way of achieving equilibrium through an apprenticeship in self-mastery.

Back to the first one: your conscience told you that you did something sinful. Not sure if it was venial or mortal. It is therefore possible that your conscience, by the light of the Spirit, was aware that your intention was sinful, though perhaps the act in itself lacked all the aspects of mortal sin. But sometimes intention suffices, and the motion to confess is a motion that comes from grace, so we should never resist it.

Without knowing what that first something was, here's my thought.

It seems that you resisted the motion to Reconciliation, and that may be geared by pride, refusing to accept that you committed a mortal sin, that you lost sanctifying grace, that you betrayed Christ. You forgot that by yourself you are dust and utter nothingness, and you started to think over and over about that first sin instead of simply moving forward without looking back and approaching Christ to have your sin washed away forever.

When I trained boxing some years ago, I learned to first hit with a jab, and then strike (or, even worse, hit with an uppercut to the chin). The purpose of the quick and soft jab was to weaken, distract, make the person perhaps focus too much on a certain point, ultimately opening another spot, as well as to make the other person feel under attack and feel the presence of an attacker, which would elicit a defensive position. The strike or uppercut then would come by surprise, hurting both physically and psychologically.

How does any of this relate to you? Bear with me, it's 4 am :compcoff: I think it relates to all of us. Sometimes the adversary is rather clever, and when he knows he cannot hit us directly, he'll use the jab :rolleyes: Other times we're just so open he doesn't even need to...sometimes we're just exposing ourselves. But if we're on guard, "watching and praying", then the spirit will be ready, and strategies will have to be used to make us fall :shrug: And we will fall :shrug: What matters is that we keep getting up and moving forward. And that takes time, effort, commitment.

[/quote]

It wasn't that I knew I had commited a mortal sin. I was so unsure about it that I felt I needed a sin that I was certain of so the confession would not be invalid.

You say that it is also the sin of pride. How should I confess this? Should I just confess the sin of presumption, or do I need to actually confess something about the pride part?

I know what I did was not okay. Maybe I'm just understanding the sin of presumption a bit clearer?

Would you suggest that I go to conession asap or take a day or so to reflect? I know God will forgive me but I'm just going to find it hard to find sorrow within my heart. Especially when I just sinned for the sake of it. This is the most horrible I've ever felt. I feel like I've pushed myself so far from God. Thank you for your reply.


#5

[quote="Eman_resu, post:4, topic:303727"]
It wasn't that I knew I had commited a mortal sin. I was so unsure about it that I felt I needed a sin that I was certain of so the confession would not be invalid.

You say that it is also the sin of pride. How should I confess this? Should I just confess the sin of presumption, or do I need to actually confess something about the pride part?

I know what I did was not okay. Maybe I'm just understanding the sin of presumption a bit clearer?

Would you suggest that I go to conession asap or take a day or so to reflect? I know God will forgive me but I'm just going to find it hard to find sorrow within my heart. Especially when I just sinned for the sake of it. This is the most horrible I've ever felt. I feel like I've pushed myself so far from God. Thank you for your reply.

[/quote]

Hi! :) I say that thorough examination of conscience is the key. If you feel like you really need to confess right away, go ahead. If you feel like you need further examination of conscience, then follow what you feel. Best is, pray about this matter. ;) With regards to how you are going to confess this, I would echo what have been said already with a little addition: tell to the priest the WHOLE matter in the best way that you can so that he can discern and counsel you.


#6

[quote="PCalungsod, post:5, topic:303727"]
Hi! :) I say that thorough examination of conscience is the key. If you feel like you really need to confess right away, go ahead. If you feel like you need further examination of conscience, then follow what you feel. Best is, pray about this matter. ;) With regards to how you are going to confess this, I would echo what have been said already with a little addition: tell to the priest the WHOLE matter in the best way that you can so that he can discern and counsel you.

[/quote]

Thankyou. How should I bring this up? When I'm in the confessional I often feel as if I can't talk to the priest as I would like to. This usually isn't because I'm afraid or I don't want to tell him, it's more I don't know how to. When is the best time during confession to bring something like this up? ie. before confessing my sins, after, during.... etc. Hope that makes sense.


#7

[quote="Eman_resu, post:6, topic:303727"]
Thankyou. How should I bring this up? When I'm in the confessional I often feel as if I can't talk to the priest as I would like to. This usually isn't because I'm afraid or I don't want to tell him, it's more I don't know how to. When is the best time during confession to bring something like this up? ie. before confessing my sins, after, during.... etc. Hope that makes sense.

[/quote]

Well my friend, don't worry. You are not alone. I sometimes feel the same thing when I confess.:D As a priest once told me, writing (perhaps in a piece of paper) about your sins do help not only in examination of conscience, but also in helping the person who's about to go in a confession express his/her sins (not only that but also other concerns) to the priest during a confession. That is, if you feel like writting. As of the timing, it's up to you. Depends on how you want the confession (or counselling) to go. For some people, when they confess and there's something that bother them, they usually go like " Father, I am not sure if this is something that I should confess/ this is not really a sin, but it bothers me a lot and I think it would help if I open them up to you.... can I hear some advice/your consensus?" in a middle of a confession. I've done it myself once.:)


#8

[quote="PCalungsod, post:7, topic:303727"]
Well my friend, don't worry. You are not alone. I sometimes feel the same thing when I confess.:D As a priest once told me, writing (perhaps in a piece of paper) about your sins do help not only in examination of conscience, but also in helping the person who's about to go in a confession express his/her sins (not only that but also other concerns) to the priest during a confession. That is, if you feel like writting. As of the timing, it's up to you. Depends on how you want the confession (or counselling) to go. For some people, when they confess and there's something that bother them, they usually go like " Father, I am not sure if this is something that I should confess/ this is not really a sin, but it bothers me a lot and I think it would help if I open them up to you.... can I hear some advice/your consensus?" in a middle of a confession. I've done it myself once.:)

[/quote]

Alright! Thanks very much for that. I hope it goes well. I'm thinking of going tomorrow, because I was watching this video and the guy said when Peter hear that Jesus had risen, he ran straight to the tomb to seek forgiveness after Peter denied Jesus three times.

One other quick question. I never realised that the sin of presumption was the sin of pride. Should I confess just the sin of presumption, or confess the sin of pride as well?

I'm guessing not, as when we commit a sin of lust it is implied in whatever we confess. (Instead of saying I commited the sin of lust 4 times, we give specifics... 'I x twice, y once and z once)

Anyway would someone mind clearing this up a little if you understand what I'm trying to say?


#9

Eman, in my opinion, you should confess the specific so that the priest can minister to you properly. Personally, what I do is "I've done this....". I do not usually give just the generic (e.g. Instead of saying, "I've committed the sin of lust." instead, I say "I've done this in the past few days").


#10

[quote="Eman_resu, post:1, topic:303727"]
Hello everyone. I love this forum and thank you guys for making it awesome.

*I have a problem. I was going to go to confession tomorrow to confess something which I wasn't sure was a mortal or venial sin; actually I don't know if it was actually a sin at all! *

Anyway I got presumptous and commited a mortal sin. I fear I may have just done it so I had something solid to confess tomorrow. I feel horrible now.

**Have I commited another sin by doing this? **Obviously I am very sorry for doing this and offending God, but if I was I wouldn't have done it in the first place. Thank you very much in advance for the replies!!!

[/quote]

You have committed at least one sin that definately needs to be confessed. Why not confess the other thing too?


#11

[quote="Eman_resu, post:4, topic:303727"]
It wasn't that I knew I had commited a mortal sin. I was so unsure about it that I felt I needed a sin that I was certain of so the confession would not be invalid.

Confession is not a place where we mention mortal sins exclusively. We are not servants confessing our transgressions to a master. It's a father-son relationship. It is a place in which we sit before Jesus and are reconciled with Him as brothers, as friends. We mention venial sins, vices, imperfections...all of those make confession more than valid! We are actually expected to be able to live a significant amount of time without mortal sins, you know :D It is expected of us: "*be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect"*! And "this is impossible for men, but not for God"!

You say that it is also the sin of pride. How should I confess this? Should I just confess the sin of presumption, or do I need to actually confess something about the pride part?

I don't say it's a sin of pride, but that the sin may find its root in pride, which is called a "root sin" or one of the *three-fold concupiscence*: the lust of the eyes (vanity), the lust of the flesh (lust as we know it) and the pride of life (pride). When you confess, you explain what you did wrong based on the Commandments, mentioning the circumstances, your intentions, etc. You must discern whether there was a motion of pride, vanity, lust, or a combination of some or all of these. Just confess what happened and let the priest advice you. You may ask for spiritual direction if you want to gain deeper understanding of the motions of your soul, for in confession the priest may have no time to discern this.

I know what I did was not okay. Maybe I'm just understanding the sin of presumption a bit clearer?

Well, the sin of presumption is for instance, assuming that you will be saved or forgiven regardless of what you do or don't do :rolleyes: The way you mentioned it, "I got presumptuous", sounded to me more like an act of pride in that you presumed you could face or resist the temptation :) It was a trust on your strength as if you had no need for God. God often allows that we fall and sin to teach us that by ourselves we cannot do anything, and that we are in total need of His assistance, that we totally depend on His grace. That inspires humbleness, the opposite of pride.

Would you suggest that I go to conession asap or take a day or so to reflect? I know God will forgive me but I'm just going to find it hard to find sorrow within my heart.

God is all-forgiving and His love is unconditional. However, do not presume your forgiveness, because it is contingent to your acts, that is, to your contrition, repentance, and reconciliation. There is no reason whatsoever to postpone the Sacrament. If you are deprived of sanctifying grace, you cannot do much. Repent and recover sanctifying grace, then keep working on getting better in what we call the apprenticeship of self-mastery ;) And don't worry about pushing yourself far from God: "*though your sins be of a bright red color, I shall turn them white as snow", says the Lord: "*I am, I am he that blot out your iniquities for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins".

You know, after absolution our sins are gone forever and ever. Their memory may be there like a scar to keep us humble, and the temporal punishment may be there because there is a perfect justice that must be fulfilled (this is why we receive a penance and why we can gain indulgences), but God will never ever bring your absolved sins before you again, neither in your individual judgment after death, nor in the final judgment. He is speaking the truth when He says: "I will remember your sins no more"!

[/quote]


#12

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