presumption and scrupulosity

Some time ago I read a saint (don’t remember who) said that eating something for pleasure alone was a sin. Then later I wanted to eat some left over jelly beans from Easter. I knew that there was no good reason to eat them other than that I wanted to - I wasn’t hungry, there was better, healthier food available , etc… Scrupulosity has come up as a possible problem, and taking some advice that I read, I thought about whether any other good catholic I knew would think it a sin to eat the jelly beans and concluded they wouldn’t. However I still couldn’t see how it wasn’t a sin. I really wanted to eat them and figured I would have to give up all candy, desserts, possibly junk food, etc…if I had decided it was an actual sin. On the other hand, does God put it on our hearts sometimes to give up comforts and pleasures? It still seemed it had to be a sin. I ate the jelly beans concluding God would forgive me for a venial sin! So I believe I committed the sin of presumption! Later, I then convinced myself it was ok because I was probably being scrupulous about eating the jelly beans, so my conscience was directing me wrong and that somehow negated my sin of presumption. At the next confession, I thought about saying it,thinking it PROBABLY was a mortal sin, but had lots of other things to discuss so left it off my list. Now I think my confession may have been invalid. Or at the very least, I need to include it in my next confession. I recently found myself using the slightly different “God will forgive this IF it’s a venial sin” when I eat more for a meal than I need to or decide a bedtime snack would be pleasing, even if I don’t need it. FYI I could lose 5-10 pounds but am not overweight and up until a couple of years ago was thin as a rail and with a high metabolism. I ate at will because I figured I needed it.
I tend to be scrupulous, well maybe. Sometimes I think I am just too proud to admit my sins. My confessor does give me a little advice but not much. He wants me to see a psychologist. I have seen a psychologist before who is Christian but not Catholic. She says I just need to pray and tell God I am sorry for my sins (even those I believe are mortal). She doesn’t “get” that confession is required, and I can’t receive Communion which is very troubling to me because I believe I receive much strength from receiving Jesus.
So I find myself thinking that I must go back to confession tomorrow so that I can receive Jesus on Sunday. The problem being that (1) I am not even sure if I am sorry for eating the jelly beans, maybe just sorry that I willfully went against what I thought was a sin and presumed God would forgive me and (2) I get extremely anxious about going to confession and knowing what to confess. I also usually leave confession feeling like I messed it up. This makes me want to avoid confession and at the same time I want to call a priest and go to confession NOW. I will probably end up debating on Sunday whether I can receive or not anyhow. I fear that my anxiety is actually pride and not wanting to admit where I have sinned.
If you have read this far, I thank you for taking the time.

If you think you need to go to confession because you ate some extra jelly beans, yes, that does come across as being scrupulous. You’re unable in this instance to distinguish and discern grave matter.

Wanting to commit a sin because it’s “only” a venial sin is not presumption, it’s just evidence that you’re willfully committing said venial sin.

Willfully wanting to commit a venial sin is not a mortal sin.

Furthermore, you mention the writings of a particular Saint.

Lookit, scrupulous people are extremely susceptible, IMO, when it comes to at least three different things:

(1) Potential sins against the sixth and ninth commandments;

(2) Questions involving restitution;

(3) When they read the writings of Saints and mistake certain standards as being the absolute minimum behavioral requirement to remain in a state of grace.

Now, you mention pride. Respectfully, you’ve got it exactly backwards.

Insofar as scrupulosity is concerned, a prideful person might consider any offense as being way beneath them, and this might distort the perceived gravity of their sins, even if they could recognize those sins as being venial in other people. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa has observed, pride is a root cause of scrupulosity in some, as it is a certain rigorism that one applies only to their own behavior. On the other hand, pride can lead to laxism, too. But you’re obviously not being overly lax here.

Above all, I give you standard CAF advice: do the only thing that you can do to remedy this situation, see a priest specifically to help with scrupulosity.

Unlike everyone here, he can bind you to his judgments, and you must absolutely follow his judgment in order to overcome your scrupulosity. Consulting online every time you feel a pang of fear will only serve to pick at wounds.

Woah! Yes you do need to contact a priest as soon as possible but NOT for confession or because you “sinned.” You need to get those scruples in check before they eat you alive. You must learn to fight back, and a priest can help you with this. Then, when things clear up a bit on what is sinful and what are scruples, then you can make an honest confession. Right now you aren’t thinking clearly on this because your brain is sick with anxiety from scruples. Make an appointment ASAP with your parish priest. :slight_smile:

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