Question re: mortal sin/full consent


#1

This is kind of embarassing to post, but I’m concerned and wanted to get some advice.

Early this morning, I committed an impure act by myself. Not of the “most serious” type (if there are differences!) but one that should normally be confessed, just to be safe. However, I’m not sure if I was awake! I had been drifting in and out of sleep, and I’m not sure if I was dreaming, just barely awake, or half-awake/half-asleep!

Have I committed a mortal sin? Do I need to confess this as soon as possible? I’ll probably mention it at my next confession, anyway, but it isn’t easy for me to get to Confession due to a lack of availability at my nearby parish. I just went to Confession two days ago and it would be very difficult to get there again in the next day or so - while I’d like to go to Confession weekly, I usually just go to confess mortal sins.

Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.


#2

Since you have already repented, and (I assume) made an act of contrition, and are planning to confess it. I would not worry over this too much.

To answer your question…The pertinent paragraph in the Catechism would be this one describing what constitutes “full consent”…
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. (Bolding mine)

None of us here can say if you were “awake enough” for the consent to be “sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice”. But I thought the above might give you something to contemplate in prayer.

Peace
James


#3

Just a thought: when we sin, we would be unable to repent by ourselves without the grace of the Holy Spirit. Depending on whether the sin was mortal or not, this may be a work of the sanctifying grace or of the (temporary) auxiliating grace.

If the Holy Spirit is suggesting that you may have lost sanctifying grace and be in a state of mortal sin, I think it is better to do His will and confess as soon as possible. Even at another Parrish.

Regardless of whether we are men or women, meditation on the Blessed Virgin is a most powerful way of defeating these temptations, because while natural attraction is not sinful, but very good, we will develop a strong love for purity and an utter contempt for lust. Placing ourselves always at the presence of God - that is, learning to develop an awareness of His presence at all times - will also help us, both because we are less willing to forget Him and because we are more likely to ask for His help.


#4

:thumbsup:

Regardless of whether we are men or women, meditation on the Blessed Virgin is a most powerful way of defeating these temptations, because while natural attraction is not sinful, but very good, we will develop a strong love for purity and an utter contempt for lust. Placing ourselves always at the presence of God - that is, learning to develop an awareness of His presence at all times - will also help us, both because we are less willing to forget Him and because we are more likely to ask for His help.

Excellent advice.
And - it’s interesting to note that, with diligent effort this begins to infiltrate our dream life as well. Oh we may still have improper dreams/thoughts for quite some time - maybe never fully get rid of them…But the awareness of God, of how we are to live etc can act on our dreams just as our other thoughts can.
I know this from personal experience.

Peace
James


#5

Thank you for the responses. To tell the truth, until recently, when I started trying to get to Confession on a regular basis, this was not a problem for me!

Now, it seems to be happening more and more. I’m often not sure if I dream these things completely and just remember the dream and am unsure of whether it really “happened” or not, or if I start to dream them and then wake up. That is what happened to me this morning - I woke up and thought, did this really happen during the night while I was waking up from a dream and only half-awake, did I dream it, or was it some combination? I definitely wasn’t fully awake. I’m not sure if this makes any sense. (In normal, waking hours, I don’t feel tempted to do these things and never do.)

I’m scrupulous by nature, and I’m concerned that by worrying about it a lot, I’m actually causing myself to dream about it because the worry about it is often in my head when I go to sleep! This is also distressing because it isn’t easy for me to get to Confession now.

I was going every one - two weeks, but it involved a lot of travel on public transport and took me a half-day, just to make a 5-minute confession. I would leave the house at around 7 or 8 am and get back after 1 pm. I’m expecting a baby now, and I started to find the trip exhausting and difficult - too much time on my feet, I had constant nausea, and sometimes the trains are very hot and crowded. It wouldn’t usually be a problem for me, but I’m worried about somehow endangering the health of my baby by wearing myself out. In the meantime, I can usually get my husband to drive me to a parish that is closer (but not reachable by public transport) about once a month, after some pleading! The only parish within walking distance of my house only has Confession right before Easter. Most other parishes in my diocese also do not have regular hours for Confession.

Now that summer is ending and the temperatures are dropping, it should get easier to make the trip. I’m hoping to be able to resume going to Confession more regularly, at least until the baby is born.


#6

[quote="Margherita_80, post:5, topic:298155"]
I'm expecting a baby now

[/quote]

:eek:

That's so nice!!! You are in our prayers even more, now :crossrc:

Also I read somewhere else in the forum that it is a very common thing for an expectant mother to have very strange dreams.


#7

To be safe, if you can make an act of perfect contrition now, but just skip communion until you can go again to confession. If your contrition is perfect you will certainly receive the Holy Spirit at that very moment.

If this is a regularly occurring sin, it can be lodged in the subconscious, which could make is more difficult to overcome. Even with imperfect contrition, which is the minimum required for absolution, there is the firm intention to not repeat the sin again, yet we may still have the temporal effect, that is the attachment to the sin, to overcome. This is where perfect contrition is more powerful. Perfect contrition arises from love of God rather than fear of damnation and is a better motivator, especially since we have difficulty imagining what could happen at death to our souls, and fear tends to cause avoidance. (Adam and Eve were hiding.)


#8

It’s good that you recognize a bit or scruples in yourself…though compared to many posts we see here you seem to have a very good handle on it. This is great. Also, as R_C pointed out above, pregnancy, with it’s hormonal changes, could be a contributor.

I think you are right that worrying about it can cause the dreams to increase…It’s like if I say to you…whatever you do, DON’T think of an apple…and of course the first thing to pop into your mind is an apple…

I’ve found some success in these matters by actually taking the opposite approach. Instead of worrying, I laugh at them…
Say I wake up from some sort of weird “impure” dream…I would just shake my head, chuckle and say - "Lord, Why was I dreaming that…Or, if it is some sort of thought while I’m awake, I would again…chuckle and dismiss the demon, the temptation with a, “I’m not going there” (meaning continuing the thought), or “you ain’t getting me with that one”.
But I think the important thing really is the dismissive laugh…not like laughing at a joke…more like a quick…“hah” or “humph”…you know what I mean…Anyway the devil seems to hate being laughed at and summarily dismissed out of hand…

Try it…It works pretty well…

Peace
James


#9

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