Scrupulosity vs not receiving Holy Communion

I have been struggling with scrupulosity for the past almost 8 years. I have been receiving Holy Communion off and on during that time…But I have not (in the state of grace) for almost 2 years. I need to go to Confession but I keep putting it off…every Saturday I talk myself out of going. Even if I were to go…by end of the Mass, I will think I that have committed a moral sin and wont go to Communion…it happens…Every.Time.

Any advice? Please don’t say that I need to talk to a spiritual director…its not going to happen. I am having a hard time praying without sinning…

I haven’t been to Confession in almost 2 years. I know I should go, but I keep putting it off. I am scared that God is going to strike me dead and I will end up in hell.

Sometimes the only thing left to do is… well, to do what you know you should do. It’s not easy, but all the talk and good intentions in the world aren’t going to change anything about your situation until you actually make a choice and stick to it.

You can work on your thinking, because it sounds like you’re talking yourself out of doing what needs done (even prayer), so checking your negative thoughts and reminding yourself of the positive will probably help somewhat–but even that won’t matter if you don’t actually make an effort to go to Confession at some point.

You also say speaking to a spiritual director is “not going to happen,” but what happens if that’s what God is calling you to do? Are you willing to change your thinking in order to get right with God, or is it “my way or bust”?

You already know you’re going to need to go to Confession, and probably, speak to your priest and/or a spiritual director to overcome these things. We’d all like to think (at least sometimes) that there is another way–an easier way, that doesn’t require us to actually change what we’re doing or step out of our comfort zone. Something that doesn’t take any real sacrifice.

But there really isn’t any getting around it–our actions do matter (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, right?). We are called to obedience and love, and that often means doing things we don’t want to do, or that are scary or uncomfortable. So, yes, my advice is exactly what you probably don’t want to hear.

I’d also suggest taking smaller steps if necessary… perhaps go to Adoration and pray for a few minutes for the will to do what needs to be done… and go to the scheduled Confession time to pray and do an examination of conscience, even if you don’t get in line the first time (or the second time). But do something. Keep moving forward.

Will pray for you. :gopray2:

I know what that’s like.
It’s been, what, a month since I was received into the church, and I’ve already come to realize that the only way I’m going to get down to confession is by making an appointment. If I know that the priest is there waiting for me, I have to go, and I do. At a scheduled time it is just too easy to walk away.

Remember that Satan doesn’t want us to have absolution and he will do whatever he can to prevent us from getting it. I have trouble talking to people, especially about deeply personal subjects, and there are so many things in my life that I would never breath to another soul save for the priest in the confessional. And the single, solitary, little lonely reason that I have been able to speak those words in the presence of a human being at all is by the glorious and powerful grace of God. Usually I can’t even believe what I’m doing until I’ve sat down and begun speaking, but once I leave the confessional I realize how glad I am that I just poured out my deepest, darkest secrets to a practical stranger…because he is not a practical stranger at all, he is acting as Jesus Christ, who is someone I know very well.

It always helps me to remember the fear that Jesus felt before His passion. I’ve written at the top of my confession lists before, “Jesus felt fear, too”. And knowing that the man from whom I am seeking forgiveness has felt this fear multiplied by so much more…it gives me strength.
(it also doesn’t hurt to remember that priests go to confession too, and they understand what it’s like just as well as you).

Now, what will NOT help is fearing that God will kill you. I’ve been there as well, being terrified that God will punish me by a premature death and a sentence to hell. It’s probably the worst thing you could do. Why? Because God is the most kind, most loving, most generous, most merciful, most understanding, most caring and faithful being in all of existence. He knows you’re afraid, He understands you’re afraid, and to think He will be enraged and strike you dead…well, who would go through the mental anguish of confession for a deity like that? You go to confession because you love God, and because you want to be reconciled into His good graces. If you despair of God’s mercy then that will only keep you farther away from this sacrament that you dearly need. Remember that there is not a single being that can even kinda match up to God’s mercy. It is infinite and eternal, and probably the best thing you can do is remember that all God wants is for you to want to be reconciled to Him.

And Holy Communion. Even more than confession, Satan wants to prevent us from receiving Holy Communion. I’ll admit - I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve gone to confession before, only to have the Eucharistic prayer begin and realize there is something I’ve done that I should have sought absolution for. It’s such a vulnerable moment because you’re trying to pay attention while simultaneously scrambling to think “WAS it mortal? DID I intentionally neglect to confess it?”. And usually I look back and realize it probably wasn’t mortal…but I will abstain, just in case. Just in case. I think that “Just in case” should be written on the official flag of scrupulosity and OCD everywhere. I can’t even tell you the ridiculous and idiotic things that I’ve done “Just in case”. "What if? What if? What if? What if? ? over and over and over and again until I’m about ready to give myself brain damage so that I can stop thinking it. I know…EXACTLY how you feel.

But the Eucharist is the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is Jesus in the flesh. It is a healing sacrament. We NEED it, with all our hearts and souls. How do you think the apostles and saints and martyrs managed to endure such horrible sufferings throughout their lives and in their death? Because Jesus was with them, in their hearts, in their spirits, but also physically, truly, and really right in front of them, right beside them, and fully within them. Without the Eucharist, how could such things be done?

Now, one minor problem is that it can turn into a bit of a vicious cycle. I was laughing to myself this morning about how I might need all the strength of communion to get to confession. But confession comes FIRST. Always. So how do we obtain the strength to go to confession? By prayer. Once you get to confession and then communion that first time, you can turn it into a routine, communion relying on confession and confession relying on communion, one after the other and the other after the one. But you need to get to confession that first time.

It could help to make an appointment for Sunday morning if you can’t find a church that has one scheduled. Make the best examination of conscience that you possibly can, be thorough and detailed and scrape through your entire life, so that even if you remember something, you can rest assured it was an honest mistake. (If you forget a sin, you may still receive communion, as long as it was honestly forgotten and you mention it the very next time you confess). Then immerse yourself in the words of the mass directly afterwards and don’t even think about sinning until you’ve received. On the day of my “first” communion last month, the one thing I could not get out of my head the entire mass was what would happen if I manage to sin, right here in mass, and I have to refuse communion in front of everybody? Those are the kinds of thoughts OCD gives you, but they are not real. OCD is a mental disorder and it can give you disordered thoughts that are no more than your brain being tricked into sending out false danger signals. You cannot sin by accident, ever. You cannot accidentally not be absolved, ever. They are not real, and you cannot let them prevent you from receiving communion, because communion is quite possibly the only thing that will help them go away.

I hope that you can find a solution to these troubles, my friend. I will be praying for you.

Yes - pick yourself up by the scruff the the neck (like a cat) and drag yourself to confession :wink:

You need yes a “regular confessor”. It does not have to be a “spiritual director” but a regular confessor who can know you in confession and your scruples and direct you.

That will assist you in both areas. One it will get you to confession and two he can then direct you about the rest.

A person with scrupulosity --ought to have a *“regular confessor” *who can direct them --and even give them some general principles to follow -to apply (for them due to their particular scruples -they are usually not for those with a normal conscience). This is the age old practice in the Church - and you need to be firm with yourself and go meet with a Priest. This is the way. Obedience, obedience, obedience.

For they can be in a rather different boat than others. They with the direction of their confessor and the principles given - then act contrary to their scruples - ignore them -(using the older language) despise them, dismiss them–following that direction and the principles given. Acting contrary to what is not really their conscience so much as is unfounded fears. Such is a large key in the age old approach in the Church for scruples.

He may for example - then as your confessor direct you - due to your scruples- to go to Holy Communion unless your *certain *you have committed a mortal sin - that you can affirm with certainty that the three aspects where present that are required for a mortal sin (grave matter, full knowledge, complete/deliberate consent).

Know that *Jesus of Nazareth *loves you and came and became mam and suffered and died for you - so that you and I may have true life in him through his death and resurrection.

(if I can be of further help feel free to pm me)

Jesus of Nazareth is the Lamb who takes away our sins-- the Good Shepherd who gives laid down his life for us --who gives us true life!

“Jesus is called the Lamb: He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Someone might think: but how can a lamb, which is so weak, a weak little lamb, how can it take away so many sins, so much wickedness? With Love. With his meekness. Jesus never ceased being a lamb: meek, good, full of love, close to the little ones, close to the poor. He was there, among the people, healing everyone, teaching, praying. Jesus, so weak, like a lamb. However, he had the strength to take all our sins upon himself, all of them. “But, Father, you don’t know my life: I have a sin that…, I can’t even carry it with a truck…”. Many times, when we examine our conscience, we find some there that are truly bad! But he carries them. He came for this: to forgive, to make peace in the world, but first in the heart. Perhaps each one of us feels troubled in his heart, perhaps he experiences darkness in his heart, perhaps he feels a little sad over a fault… He has come to take away all of this, He gives us peace, he forgives everything. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away sin”: he takes away sin, it’s root and all! This is salvation Jesus brings about by his love and his meekness. And in listening to what John the Baptist says, who bears witness to Jesus as the Saviour, our confidence in Jesus should grow. Many times we trust a doctor: it is good, because the doctor is there to cure us; we trust in a person: brothers and sisters can help us. It is good to have this human trust among ourselves. But we forget about trust in the Lord: this is the key to success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us trust in the Lord! “Lord, look at my life: I’m in the dark, I have this struggle, I have this sin…”; everything we have: “Look at this: I trust in you!”. And this is a risk we must take: to trust in Him, and He never disappoints.”

~Pope Francis

vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2014/documents/papa-francesco_20140119_omelia-parrocchia-sacro-cuore-gesu_en.html

"Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” who goes in search of lost sheep, who knows his sheep and lays down his life for them (cf. Mt 18:12-14; Lk 15:4-7; Jn 10:2-4, 11-18). He is the way, the right path that leads us to life (cf. Jn 14:6), the light that illuminates the dark valley and overcomes all our fears (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46).

He is the generous host who welcomes us and rescues us from our enemies, preparing for us the table of his body and his blood (cf. Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25); Lk 22:19-20) and the definitive table of the messianic banquet in Heaven (cf. Lk 14:15ff; Rev 3:20; 19:9). He is the Royal Shepherd, king in docility and in forgiveness, enthroned on the glorious wood of the cross (cf. Jn 3:13-15; 12:32; 17:4-5)."

~Pope Benedict XVI

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20111005_en.html

For this we must persist, with all our heart, our mind, our soul, indeed with every fiber of our being to be with Christ here in this pitiful earthly abode then to be with Him always in eternity. That is heaven.

Two things.

  1. Confess.
  2. Find a spiritual director or regular confessor who understands scrupulosity and obey him unconditionally and without question.

You may not want to hear it or us to say it, but that’s the kind of hard-headedness that will never get you any healing. So we will say it any because IT IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO!!! You will not find any relief here on an Internet forum. THAT, I can guarantee you.

Thank you CatholicRaven, Butaperson, and BookCat for the advice and encouragement. Its hard to describe, but I feel really lost and unsure. I’m really lacking in my prayer life. Any prayers or novenas that might help? Confessions start at 3pm tomorrow…I know I’m going to come up with a reason not to go…happens every time:banghead:

PS: Posthos11 you came across as a bit harsh…

(Sorry I haven’t been able to respond sooner due to computer problems.)

When I’m struggling with doubts, one of my favorite prayers is, “Lord, I believe; help me with my unbelief.” When I’m in need of courage to do what needs done, I usually pray the Serenity prayer: *“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” * Sometimes I call on St. Joseph for help, or St. Peter, who denied Christ three times out of fear, but later was truly courageous and strong in his faith.

I would suggest praying at first for the strength of will and desire to pray more often. There are many prayers that would work for this, such as the Hail Mary, the St. Michael prayer, calling on a patron saint (such as, “Mary and Joseph, pray for me”), or just using your own words. St. Michael the Archangel is an excellent help for those temptations, too. :thumbsup:

Are you praying before meals? If you’re already in that habit, you might add another prayer at the end as part of it, such as an Our Father, specifically for the grace to help you desire Confession.

It’s also sometimes easier to pray more often when your prayers are for others or are in thanksgiving–so perhaps you could pray for someone else, and/or think about some things you are grateful for and say a prayer of thanks to God for those. If a petition for yourself comes into your heart while you’re giving thanks, then ask it right away, before you have a chance to put it off. Listen to your Guardian Angel. :wink:

You might try setting an alarm on your cell phone or clock specifically for a daily prayer. Set it when you are likely to not be busy so you can’t as easily overlook it because of other pressing matters. Or decide to say a small prayer each time you’re in a specific regular daily situation–such as riding in a car, brushing your teeth, walking up or down a staircase, doing dishes, etc. Choose a favorite prayer or one that is short, so it’s easier to remember and complete.

The Act of Contrition is an excellent prayer to use even outside of the Confessional–I’d suggest it every evening (and I’m still working on remembering to do this, myself!). Any novena would also be helpful (there are lots of pre-written ones available), but if you don’t have it memorized, be sure to place it somewhere you’ll remember to do it. If you do miss a scheduled time to pray, or fall for the temptation not to pray, try to remember that we all struggle and we all make mistakes; don’t give up. Keep trying. Like any good habit or skill, it takes practice (and persistence) to pray regularly.

If you have a friend who can help you by praying with you and going with you to Confession (especially if they’re driving you there), that could really help, as well.

Whatever helps you get it done, that makes it more difficult for you to avoid doing, and/or motivates you to want to do it.

Hope some of that is helpful.

I will continue to pray for you, too. :gopray2:

As I noted there -pick yourself up by the scruff the the neck (like a cat) and drag yourself to confession.

And if need be one may also seek out a good Catholic Counselor (I saw this site advertized before and mentioned on CA show - catholictherapists.com/ )

A classic quote: Contra scruplos agendum est, et fixo operis pede certandum

(Act contrary to scruples and with a firm foot overcome them)

With the direction of a confessor.

Such is referring to overcoming ones scruples with a “firm foot”. Learning to act against them under the guidance of your confessor. Including scruples over going to confession - one must be firm and go see the Priest and lay things out before him. A regular confessor to guide one. Such is the age old practice in the Church.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.