So tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Assumption (:)), and I obviously want to receive the Eucharist. But I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t now. Here’s my dilemma:
I was browsing the Internet today (a teenager in the summer with nothing to do) about St. Augustine and his idea about how time didn’t exist before creation. My problem was figuring out how this squared with the dogma The world had a beginning in time. Eventually I moved past that and ventured into proofs of God’s existence. Long story short, there was a time when I was searching where I started to question God’s existence and think that maybe atheism wasn’t so far off track. Later on, as you might expect with the Angelic Doctor, I realized Aquinas’ proofs are pretty much spot on and infinite regression doesn’t make sense after all.
So now I feel bad about that temporary period where I was sort of questioning God’s existence, especially because I just went to Mass this morning. Not to mention I don’t usually struggle with sins against Faith.
Am I just being too scrupulous or am I right in thinking maybe I shouldn’t receive our Lord’s Body tomorrow?
Unless you deliberately rejected God’s existence, you did not sin. Remember, to prove God’s existence by Thomas’ mode is less certain than the certitude we have through Faith. Doubts come and go. That is normal. Just say a prayer and think of something else. Think of the Blessed Mother, you believe she existed. The Apostoles existed. You believe in the existence of the Saints. And all the rest of Revelation. Therefore God must exist. Jesus was the physical manifestation of God. So God exists. Things like that.
I’d say it is impossible to tell from your post whether you committed a sin, and if so how grave that sin was. Any obstinate post-baptismal denial or doubt about the truths of the faith would be the sin of heresy. Notice that it doesn’t have to be a firm rejection of Catholic doctrines. An agnostic doubt concerning them also constitutes a refusal to give one’s assent to truths of the faith.
Now, from what you describe it sounds like more of a transient temptation to doubt than a refusal to adhere to the Catholic faith sufficiently deliberate to constitute the mortal sin of heresy, but that’s just my impression from way over here. You are the one who remembers what you were actually thinking and feeling, including to what degree and with what deliberateness you decided to no longer believe in God.
If you suffer from scrupulosity then obviously I recommend getting advice from your priest, or following that advice if he has already discussed this issue with you.
On the other hand if you are like me, more naturally inclined towards unscrupulosity than its opposite and with considerable confidence in your ability to determine what degree of consent went into a thought or action, then if after deliberation you really think you may have committed this mortal sin then obviously I would confess the sin before receiving the Eucharist. But again the way you describe it this doubt you experienced sounds passing and tentative, not obstinate and fully deliberate.
An internet poll is not a sound way to form one’s conscience nor determine one’s state of grace. A discussion with your pastor would be in order, especially if one is scrupulous-- regular spiritual direction is necessary.
You really shouldn’t be putting a poll up on the internet about whether or not you should receive Holy Communion.
Also, a good thing to pray in these circumstances is “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” which is the cry of the father of the deaf child in Mark 9.
“He who prays is certainly saved; he who does not pray is certainly damned.” – St. Alphonsus Ligouri. If you pray whenever you doubt, Christ will certainly here your prayer and give you the grace of final perseverance.