Scrupulosity and temptation


#1

Hi.

A while back I started to suffer what I suspect were demonic attacks - blasphemous thoughts about our Lord and, mostly, our Lady. These occurred during rosaries and sacraments. Now they are more frequent. They are now pccurring even when I'm not doing anything spiritual and are constant, regardless of my activity.

I am also sometimes scrupulous. My confusion is that part of me believes these thoughts to be external and unwilled, while another part of me thinks I will them, so that I am confused as to whether or not I brought this on myself and concequintly if I have sinned. I definitely try and push away the thoughts asap, and detest them. I don't know to believe the voice which says I have sinned or the one which says I am innocent - I think the same forces behind this may be trying to confuse me. Any good strategies for dealing with, 1 these blasphemous thoughts 2 discerning my guilt in them?


#2

[quote="fireproofpoodle, post:1, topic:181067"]
Hi.

A while back I started to suffer what I suspect were demonic attacks - blasphemous thoughts about our Lord and, mostly, our Lady. These occurred during rosaries and sacraments. Now they are more frequent. They are now pccurring even when I'm not doing anything spiritual and are constant, regardless of my activity.

I am also sometimes scrupulous. My confusion is that part of me believes these thoughts to be external and unwilled, while another part of me thinks I will them, so that I am confused as to whether or not I brought this on myself and concequintly if I have sinned. I definitely try and push away the thoughts asap, and detest them. I don't know to believe the voice which says I have sinned or the one which says I am innocent - I think the same forces behind this may be trying to confuse me. Any good strategies for dealing with, 1 these blasphemous thoughts 2 discerning my guilt in them?

[/quote]

Not knowing you or the details of the situation my first thought is to suggest that you keep matters simple. Turn it all over to God. A simple prayer such as, "God take this one from me." There are times I do this and it leaves me at peace.

God bless


#3

First, choose one priest to be your regular confessor. Explain your scrupulosity problems and follow his advice to the letter, no matter what he tells you. The rules for scrupulous people are not the same as for everyone else.

Second, see your doctor to find out if you are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. Proper treatment for OCD often takes care of scrupulosity.

Betsy


#4

i have the same problem as you. i said the rosary today and when i went to kiss the cross and the medelone of mary at the end of the rosary i had a impure blasmphy thought of mary. very very bad. i ignored it and did the sign of the cross to finish off my prayer. this time i stayed carm and continued to walk out of my room.
I started to feel that i did not show that i hated the thought because i stayed carm and i said a small prayer askimg and telling God that i don't think it was my thought and asked that he take them away from me and depose of them for me and dont let them return.

these thought scare me alot as well because i do not want to offend anyone esp the holy trinity and the holy mary.

all i can say is that you are not alone with these problems and that when ever you gho to confession always mention them as best as you can as you can ghet the help and graces need to beat this. you may not get rid of it all but with confession you will start to feel more carm and less stressful GOD BLESS YOU AND ALWAYS HELP YOU IN ALL THINGS


#5

I don't really know a solution that puts an absolute end to it, I have difficulties with this too. I hope we hear more about this from people with more experience. This is what I have learned so far.

In fact one saint, St. John the Dwarf, pleaded with God to take away the mental attacks of the devils, and His prayer was answered with a yes. For a short while he wandered around the desert, looking rather lost I imagine, and then he told one of His brothers, that he had nothing to do with his time, so he asked God to give him back his trials, and then he went on, fighting the trials, but more satisfied.

In other words, this sort of mental battle may be something we will undergo to a certain degree at least, until the end of our days.

The way we think, the way our memories work is by habit and reinforcement. So if a demon sends us a blasphemous thought, and it makes an impression, it gets stuck in our mind via memory, and so inadvertently, then it comes to us again, and so the confusion..

And often we are thinking about prayer or some subject, and then the association between one thing and another happens, and the demons do their best to reinforce this association, and cause all sorts of problems.

The demons work especially with the imagination.

I think if we become especially focused on God, and learn to pray well, these attacks will largely only occur on the exterior part of our soul and not trouble us within -- on the other hand, some saints appear to have been particularly tried and attacked in ways interiorly.

And also we should convert our hearts so our hearts reject and hate all sin, and love God so fervently, so that I think when these things come to us we know they are so against our will that we can feel at peace that we have no guilty collusion with them.

We should feel comforted that the saints go through these trials too at the least.

So we take a deep breath.. and try to find our peace in prayer.. despite these things and not to let them disturb them, not to let them be our focus, but put them aside.. if necessary with anger.. if possible just by thinking of something else firmly or trying to build new good mental associations.. and focus on Christ and His peace, and contemplation of Him and His passion.

These attacks are meant to stop us from being devoted and praying. So above all else we must not allow them to so dishearten us as to cause us to neglect our devotion to God, but rather see them as a sign that we should increase our devotion, because obviously we are achieving some good success by it and so arousing opposition that would otherwise not appear.

Here are some words that may help.

'The enemy kept to this particular method by giving her for a long time the temptation of blasphemy – for which she never found any remedy either in confession or in any other way – until finally the devil came to her one night while she was sleeping and opened her ears and told her to blaspheme God. She, still sleeping, refused, saying: "I will not do that." And when the evil one saw how much she despised him, he made such a loud racket that she woke up and felt him depart. And in this way, she realized clearly that it was the enemy who had afflicted her so by putting in her heart such blasphemies and then leading her to think that they came from herself in order to make her fall into despair. And after this, she remained victorious over temptation, seeing openly how the enemy insinuated such blasphemies into her spirit. So if any of you, beloved sisters, should be tempted in a similar struggle, do not be alarmed nor saddened by thinking that it proceeds from yourself rather than only from diabolic envy which cannot stand it that God be adored and praised. But in eternity, without any respite, he will be blessed and praised and magnified and superexalted in despite and derision of Lucifer and all his companions and the dark brigade. Amen. Amen.'

St. Catherine of Bologna, 'The Seven Spiritual Weapons'

'The incensive power usually troubles and confuses the soul more than any other passion, yet there are times when it greatly benefits the soul. For when with inward calm we direct it against blasphemers or other sinners in order to induce them to mend their ways or at least feel some shame, we make our soul more gentle. In this way we put ourselves completely in harmony with the purposes of God's justice and goodness. In addition, through becoming deeply angered by sin we often overcome weaknesses in our soul. Thus there is no doubt that if, when deeply depressed, we become indignant in spirit against the demon of corruption, this gives us the strength to despise even the presumptuousness of death. In order to make this clear, the Lord twice became indignant against death and troubled in spirit (cf. John 12:27, 13:21); and despite the fact that, untroubled, He could by a simple act of will do all that He wished, none the less when He restored Lazarus' soul to his body He was indignant and troubled in spirit (cf. John 11:33) - which seems to me to show that a controlled incensive power is a weapon implanted in our nature by God when He creates us.'

St. Diadochos of Photiki

'Humble yourself before God; lose yourself in the very depths of that sacred desert of which I have, spoken to you; be absorbed by the Sovereign Good, consumed by the sacred fire of love. Believe me, this divine fire will dissipate all the dust and mist of scruples, and your soul will become purer and more beautiful in the eyes of your heavenly Spouse.'

'Do not let the devil frighten you. Keep yourself hidden in God, and nothing can hurt you.'

St. Paul of the Cross


#6

Ok here we go.

  1. Do not presume they are demonic in origin. Such is possible but it is more likely that they are not…at least not in their origin (though ‘natural’ problems can be stirred up by demonic cause…but still do not presume and do not worry).

  2. You mention that you are sometimes scrupulous. Keep that in mind for the following.

  3. Such thoughts are likely scruples (those with scruples can be known to have a problem with them --and they really become scruples when one worries or fears sin). Which is why scrupulosity is often put together with OCD --but note too that this does not mean that Scrupulosity = OCD as some hold. Though a persons scruples can also be at the same time OCD. Hope I do not confuse you here… It all depends on the person.

  4. They can be internal but not willed.

  5. Now are they mortal sins? No. are they venial sins? No. Not very likely at all.

(for you say above that you detest them even and do not want them…)

For a mortal sin one needs a grave matter …full knowledge AND full consent!!!

A. If you do not want the thought…it the thought displeases you: it is a sign actually that you did not give consent or do not give full consent (most likely none at all in your case). And actually one could say prob. ANY consent --especially in these thoughts that keep coming like this.

B. Even if you felt a temptation for the thought – and were drawn to it – say a sexual thought – --but rejected it and maybe even turned to God : again a sign not full consent.

C. But what if one has a tempting thought --say of a sexual nature and even hesitated for a moment…but then rejected it for one did not want to sin? : it can be partial consent perhaps (and thus a venial sin)-- or it may be no sin at all but rather a strong temptation that drew you but then you saw what was happening and turned away.

D. A temptation can even be very strong or the thoughts very often – but this does NOT mean one has consented! so worry not…even it they go on for a long time…

What if one is doubting if they gave full consent – well if you are seeking to follow Christ and live a good life or at least not giving in often in that area-- you can assume or judge that you did not. Especially since you are not ordinarily giving it to such things…

This is especially true of those with scruples…

remember – for everyone --for it to be mortal there must be that deliberate consent!

a person who is lax --well they do well to go see a priest in confession for they may need to confess or it would not be bothering them…for their conscience normally is rather asleep or dulled and it takes big earthquake to register any movement on their rictor scale!

What to do? on the spiritual side–relax first of all and remember the above.

Next – know that the more one fears the thoughts the more likely they are to come. or said another way --the more a person seeks to avoid the thoughts the more likely he will have a problem with them.

for example: for the next 10 seconds try NOT to think of an apple.

tick tock …

Ok what did you think of? Most likely an apple.

So it is best to ignore them and just not consent and then turn your attention to some other good thing…for instance whatever you are doing. Simply do not consent and move on. and do not worry :slight_smile:

These thoughts and other scruples should be treated like a barking dog --and just ignored and passed by… one does not stop to argue with a barking dog one just keeps walking (this wisdom about the dog is from a Carthusian from the 15th century --Joannes Lanspergius)

another point – thoughts can just happen --they are the stuff with which we think…it is up to us to consent and take them further or not.

And remember – we are not even obliged to confess doubtful things…

let me know if anything is not clear.

Also here is a treatment from jimmy akin of Catholic Answers

jimmyakin.org/2005/04/a_crown_of_thor.html


closed #7

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