Spiritual Life for the very Scrupulous


#1

Hello! :slight_smile: Never posted in this section before. But a good friend of mine thought this might help me find some answers. So this is very embarrassing :o but I am looking for ways to grow and deepen in my faith and I suffer from severe scrupulosity. I find it difficult to do most anything spiritual (thoughts of being damned, everything’s a mortal sin, impure thoughts, blasphemous thoughts, everything’s invalid, etc.) I always do what I need to do (Sunday mass, Confession every 3-6 weeks) [FONT=Verdana]and say prayers from the heart for persons in need off and on throughout my daily work. Many times that is all I do.I feel like somehow it isn’t enough. But I so often have negative experiences at church or when praying that I simply have grown completely exhausted with trying. And to the point that I am literally afraid of God. Not fear Him, but am afraid of Him. Which causes thoughts of self hatred and sends me into tears because at times I’m so certain I’m not going to make it to heaven. Any thoughts? Especially from those who have struggles or who have struggled with scrupulosity themselves. Thank you. :blush:
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#2

I’d like to help but I don’t understand. :slight_smile: :frowning: Maybe you can help me to understand what your negative experiences at Church and praying are and what you fear. :thumbsup: Maybe you might also check out this thread by beckymarie: God’s Mercy is Greater: The Teaching of St. Therese of Liseux on Purgatory forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=301726 and St. Maria Faustina’s Diary Divine Mercy in My Soul saint-faustina.com/Diary/DMIMS1.shtml Maybe you might also let me know how you feel about praise and worship songs and hymns such as Ave Maria youtube.com/watch?v=aQVz6vuNq7s, Hail Holy Queen youtube.com/watch?v=ZegCfxp9BpA, Blesssed Be Your Name youtube.com/watch?v=JRl7LD-3qtQ&feature=related, Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord, He Reigns, Our God is An Awesome God, How Great is Our God youtube.com/watch?v=xi0yLRX4d2M&feature=related, and Amazing Grace. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

**Thank you for responding. :slight_smile: Scrupulosity is not easy to understand unless you have been around those who are scrupulous or have been there yourself. No worries. Your help is so appreciated. :thumbsup:

Basically my negative experiences are everything I mentioned above. Sometimes I just get one ‘strain’ of bad thoughts, sometimes they come all at once. The worst feeling of all is the feeling of isolation from God, being so afraid of Him and going to hell. I used to have a spiritual director who helped some, but I haven’t found a good one where we moved to. :shrug:

Thank you for your kind reply and links. :slight_smile:
**


#4

I recommend some reading. The words of Our Lord will sooth your soul and deepen your faith. :wink:

Recommended reading:
Life of Saint Margaret Mary
Message of Fatima
Diary of Saint Faustina

If you wish to console yourself, just a take a look at how wretched a sinner I am.


#5

I, at times, have found it more easy (and comforting, sadly) to accept that I’m going to hell than to think there’s anything about me worth loving or saving. I’ve been told by friends and even a priest that my world outlook is more Calvinistic or Lutheran than it is Catholic. (Makes me wonder why I converted?)

I have no suggestions, I’m sorry. But if you want someone to empathize, then I’m with ya. If only I could recount the emotions I’ve spent on so many nights pleading with the image of the Sacred Heart.


#6

I was born Catholic, and I sometimes think this. :slight_smile: If we look at it from the presective of strict merit, then no one can please God, or put him in a position to say, “you da man”. But what I believe is that we are under grace, and he looks at use with mercy, and with the eyes of grace. He is patient, kind, and he wants to purify us so we can be in his presense.

In a sense, we need to trust his efforts to sanctify us, more than our own efforts. That is a part of salvation through faith. The other side of the coin, salvation also through works, presuposes this faith.

I have no suggestions, I’m sorry. But if you want someone to empathize, then I’m with ya. If only I could recount the emotions I’ve spent on so many nights pleading with the image of the Sacred Heart.

We can’t grow in holiness faster than the graces he provides us. Just trust that he will provide all that is necessary.

God bless,
Ut


#7

Oh darling! Please don’t think this. :console: We must never let the devil take over completely. You don’t want that do you? Do you want Satan to win? Please never accept hell for yourself. :nope: There’s always hope for every single person. :yup: As slight as it may seem, there’s still a sliver of hope for even the most hardened of hearts. We might fear hell, or being sent there. We might fear it with every ounce of our being and be so certain we’ll never make it to heaven. And we won’t on our own. But please never accept that you will go there. Don’t despair and loose all hope entirely because God loves you and will do everything to save you and spare you those flames. Even if we fear otherwise we must never stop believing that HE CAN and MIGHT and HOPE that all will be well in the end. God love you dear. I remember you from prayer intentions. You’re still in my heart. :console: :hug3:


#8

Hi “HH” :wave: God bless you as you struggle with scruples. These threads always catch my eye… because, like you… I’ve struggled with scruples too. But I’ve gotten better… so don’t give up hope! If I can get better… ALL of us can! :smiley:

I’m going to leave you a website… that I hope will be helpful… below. I’d also like to suggest Eucharistic Adoration to you… to help you get through your bouts with scruples. And something that helped me, greatly. Whenever I’ve had doubts about God’s love for me… or whether or not He forgives me for my sins… etc… I’ve found that contemplation of a Crucifix is extremely effective. When we realize all that Jesus went through… for LOVE of us… we can find peace in our hearts.

He LOVES you, very much! Believe it! :extrahappy:

catholicspiritualdirection.org/scrupulosity.html


#9

I don’t think that you are going to hell Epistemes if you keep on doing what you are doing now, striving to follow Christ with your whole heart and soul wherever the journey may lead. I, for one, do not know at all!! I think that something about you worth loving is that you have such high standards for yourself and an appreciation of sainthood and perfection. You also seem very inquisitive. Those are positive characteristics of your personality that come from God. Have you tried the path of self-sacrifice for a long and extended period of time? Maybe JReducation could help you formulate a personal model of self-sacrifice coming from Francisan Mysticism and Spirituality to be experimented with over the course of an entire year. :o :stuck_out_tongue:

*“When we know that the way of love - this exodus, this going out of oneself - is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people, he becomes hard and selfish. Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love I experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness. Yet, on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand why it is so important to learn how to suffer – and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life.” * Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict XVI

By the way, I think that people who suffer greatly most share the passion of Christ on the Cross and so may experience the greatest glory in Heaven. Michaelangelo’s Pieta of Christ’s broken body in his mother’s arms as well as the Sistine Chapel is world renowed, and Michaelangelo never married - Condivi said he had a “monk-like chastity”, though he dedicated three hundred sonnets and madrigals to a man in friendship and later in life nurtured a great love for the poet and noble widow Vittoria Colonna. Homosexuality reminds me of anorexia and bulimia and is a great suffering. Could he have captured Christ broken and dead the way that he did without God loving him enough to inspire him and make him that way…

It’s interesting because St. Therese of Liseux also suffered greatly in life and even wrote that she would have committed suicide if not for her faith. Yet, at the end of her life at 24 dying of tuberculosis she said she could suffer no more for all suffering was sweetness to her. She thought of herself as a toy for Jesus. I wonder if she ever thought of herself as his punchingbag. :eek: :eek: And look how much she spreads Christ’s love to others now. :heart: :heart:

These words of Scripture might be worthy of reflection.
**Humility is key! Let us all become like little children. :stuck_out_tongue: **
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and thew two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” [His] disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After he placed his hands on them, he went away.Matthew 19:4-15

I’m sorry if my words have hurt you in any way unintentionally. :frowning:

To Practice Gratitude: The Practice of Gratitude is Closely and Statistically Associated with Happiness!! ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/zgratitude.HTM


#10

[quote=Hopeful Heart]I simply have grown completely exhausted with trying. And to the point that I am literally afraid of God. Not fear Him, but am afraid of Him. Which causes thoughts of self hatred and sends me into tears because at times I’m so certain I’m not going to make it to heaven. Any thoughts? Especially from those who have struggles or who have struggled with scrupulosity themselves.
[/quote]

Hopeful Heart my heart goes out to you. Can’t help with scrupulosity but think there are some parallels with perfectionism which I think I have inherited a tendency towards and taken on because of my personality type and aspects of my upbringing.

Most of the time my perfectionism is low key and doesn’t cause any problems. Okay I may read things over more than most people would to try and make sure there aren’t any mistakes. But at other times it can and I allow my self worth to be affected when I leave one or two types of typos in a post, a letter or a report at work. Then I get into 100 correct = good and 99.9% = bad.

What I forget then is that intention does matter. I also forget that there is a huge difference between being missing a typo and not reading something over. Can even get to the stage where I think I did not make mistake but I am a mistake.

I find thinking about what I would think about/say to a friend doing the same thing. Would I condemn them as much as I condemn myself. My answer is nearly always “:no”.

Helps for me to think of change on a continuum – to change ingrained behaviour overnight would be a miracle – small changes are more likely. Small changes add up to big changes.

All that said I wish that verses like Matthew 5:48 (You must be perfect – just as your Father in Heaven is perfect) did not exist as unless they are understood properly they can be fodder for the scrupulous and the perfectionist.


#11

‘The LORD, your God, who goes before you, will himself fight for you, just as he took your part before your very eyes in Egypt, as well as in the desert, where you saw how the LORD, your God, carried you, as a man carries his child, all along your journey until you arrived at this place.’

Deuteronomy 1:30-31

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him – with love, and He will direct your paths.

The solution to scrupulosity is love and trust. Pray a prayer for the holy name, that the Name of God be loved and adored, and spoken of in no other way, with no other feeling by any man, and pray and put your heart into feeling it.

He will set your paths straight, and in every moment if you possess that trustful humility and love, how can you be unhappy then? :slight_smile:

For our God is a Good God, and His desire is for our salvation not our condemnation. :slight_smile:

“I am the way and truth and life. Whoever walks in me walks not in darkness but in light.”

'By only looking at a person, we know if he is pure. His eyes have an air of candour and modesty which leads you to the good God."

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

The peace of Christ to you. :slight_smile:


#12

It’s very hard when you have serious scruples. Be sure you get medical help if you need it. Counselling etc. One thing you can be sure of whatever the cross is, is that it will never be more than you can bear. Try reading the famous footprints prayer. Google it if you don’t know it. One thing that really struck me reading the imitation of Christ was when it said that when hard times come we think they’ll never end, but they do. And then when good times come we think they’ll never end but they do. This problem will end and good times will come. We had a long thread about scruples here a while ago. You may find some very useful info on how to deal with it there. Following is an old post with the link-

Hi all
We had a long debate about scrupulosity on here nearly 3 years ago. it was not about OCD. If any have scruples then check this link forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=91679 I copied a lot of material from a very good book on scruples and others made great contributions and we debated the whole question in great length.
If you have scruples you need all the help you can get.


#13

[quote=John Russell Jr]Hi all
We had a long debate about scrupulosity on here nearly 3 years ago. it was not about OCD. If any have scruples then check this link forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=91679 I copied a lot of material from a very good book on scruples and others made great contributions and we debated the whole question in great length.
If you have scruples you need all the help you can get.
[/quote]

Thank you very much for this link, John Russell Jnr.

I have spent the last hour reading it and following up some of the secondary links.

Really interesting reading and shows the value of reading old threads. Need to go back to it again (and again) to get the full value.


#14

Your welcome. Hope it helps if needs be. God bless.


#15

I have been there myself and my greatest consolation was the direction of a holy priest and the Rosary. Just keep praying!


#16

H o p e f u l H e a r t. :heart:
welcome to the spirituality forum! :slight_smile: i love your screen name, by the way.

please don’t ever be embarrassed by anything that you’d like to share with us. please know that everyone on here is absolutely amazing, and that this website is an incredible resource. also know that no one will ever judge you or put you down for anything that you have to say. this is a true Christian community, filled to overflowing with love, warmth and support, and we are here to help you, support you, care for you and build you up in every way, not ever tear you down. please be reassured that no one here wants to hurt you or embarrass you in any way. please don’t ever feel pressured to share anything you’re not comfortable telling us, but that you also don’t ever have to hold back. i hope and pray that you have a great experience here, and that you find the answers you need, and that i am able to help you in at least some small way through this post. :slight_smile:

i suffer from extremely severe scrupulosity as well, so i know exactly what you’re going through, Hopeful Heart. :heart: please know that i will keep you in my constant thoughts and deepest prayers for your hope and healing. i know exactly what you have to suffer through constantly, every day of your life – i struggle severely with all of the things that you mentioned. when you say that you are looking for ways to grow and deepen your faith, i find that absolutely amazing, and i just know that God is extremely pleased with this, especially the fact that you are persevering and being determined and faithful for love of Jesus, and not allowing the pain of your scrupulosity to keep you from growing in your faith. this shows true love and strength, and i admire you so much for it. :heart: when you say that nothing that you do feels like it’s enough, i have a feeling that you are doing very well and that God is extremely pleased with you, but that because you suffer from scrupulosity through no fault of your own, (i tend to blame myself for my pain sometimes, and thought that you might as well, since we both suffer from this) you don’t see yourself the same way that God sees you—as His precious, beautiful creation whom He loves passionately, infinitely more than you could ever imagine or comprehend. :slight_smile: yet if you truly want to grow in your faith, there are many essentials that will help you to develop a deeper spirituality—prayer (especially the Rosary), fasting, reading Scripture, frequent reception of the Sacraments and time before the Blessed Sacrament and time alone with God.

before i go any further, here are some great resources on all of the essentials i mentioned.
prayer—catholic.org/clife/prayers/
catholicdoors.com/prayers/
ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/index.htm
catholictradition.org/prayers1.htm
catholicity.com/links/152/


#17

i suggest that you try out all of these resources, and learn more about all of the essentials that are extremely important when it comes to developing a deeper spirituality and growing closer to God. i will definitely keep you in my constant thoughts and deepest prayers, that your relationship with God deepens, and that you are healed of your scrupulosity in such a way that you experience God’s Love and Mercy as never before. :slight_smile: :heart:

i know exactly what you mean when you say that you have negative experiences at church and while praying. i experience the same problem, with constant curses and blasphemous thoughts (all unwanted and despised) running through my mind while i’m trying to concentrate on the Mass or spend time with Jesus. it’s frustrating, but i’ve learned that if i don’t focus on the thoughts and remember that if i don’t want to have a certain thought, it’s not a sin to have it in my mind, even if it’s persistent, the thoughts don’t upset me as much. the more i give them power over me, the more difficult it is to focus on church or prayer. i will definitely pray that you are able to overcome this completely as well. i have no doubt that God is pleased with you, and i know that He loves you infinitely more than you could ever imagine. please don’t ever feel that this is your fault, or that you deserve to go through this. you seem like such a beautiful, faithful person, and it takes extreme courage to reach out to people as you have done here, especially when you feel embarrassed or afraid of what you are going through. :heart:

i also struggle with being afraid of God as well. i love Him with all of my heart, but one of my deepest—and constant—fears is that He is angry with me, disappointed in me, doesn’t love me or is hurt because of something i have done. i’m slowly but surely learning to trust that He is pleased with my efforts to aspire to perfection and Sainthood and to please Him and give Him glory in all things, and as i’m sure that you aspire to the same goals, i just know that He is pleased with you, and loves you so much. my suggestion to you to overcome this is to persevere in prayer and in reading Scripture, and to spend more quiet time alone with Him, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. the closer you grow to Him, and the more you get to know and love Him, the more you will experience His immense Love for you, and the more you will realize and experience that you don’t ever have to be afraid. perfect love casts out all fear, and His Love for you endures forever. the more that you pray, the more you will hear His Voice—if you take time to listen for it—and the better you will get to know Him and experience His loving hand in your life as He answers your prayers according to His perfect Will. i would suggest that you focus on finding verses in Scripture that inspire you and encourage you, that remind you of God’s Love and Mercy, and maybe memorize them so that you can combat the thoughts of fear when they come with the truth of how much He cares for you. you don’t ever have to be afraid of God, for although He is holy and infinitely more perfect than we could ever imagine, He is also perfect Love, and you are in His Heart. He will never leave you or forsake you, and even when He is driven out of a soul through mortal sin, He keeps our guardian angel very close to us. that’s how much He loves us! that’s how much He loves you. during my spiritual depressions and times of intense suffering, i tend to doubt that God loves me—but i’m learning to experience His Love in new ways, and i hope and pray that you never doubt that He loves you, but experience that Love always. the more you spend time alone with Him, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, the more you will get to know and love Him, and the more clearly you will hear His Voice, receive graces and experience His Love.


#18

i am also uncertain of my spiritual condition at times, although my doubts always take place during one of my deep spiritual depressions. when i am in a normal state of peace, as i am now, i know that i am in the state of grace, and that Jesus is in my heart, just as He is in yours, loving you with all His Heart. :heart: my suggestion to you is to keep persevering in prayer, asking for the grace to trust in Him and to trust that He will save you, to persevere in reading Scripture, especially focusing on verses that mention the truth of our salvation, such as John 3:16 and also persevering in growing in your spiritual life, for the closer you grow to Jesus, the more graces you will receive, and the more likely it is that you will be saved. i’m pretty sure at this point that i’m going to go to Heaven, and i’ve even overcome my fear of Purgatory and trust that God is using my suffering to purify me so that i don’t even have to endure it. my suggestion to you is to keep praying, keep working on deepening your faith and to grow closer to Jesus through Mary, especially through praying the Rosary, for Mary has promised that anyone who faithfully recites the Rosary will receive all of the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of their death. i also definitely recommend that you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/dmmap.htm) as well, for Jesus promised St. Faustina that anyone who prays this Chaplet faithfully will also receive great mercy as the hour of death. the best solution, however, is simply to learn how to trust that God is taking care of you and will lead you home to Him—and this can be accomplished through persevering in prayer and in the spiritual life. please know, Hopeful Heart, that i will pray for you as well. :heart:

God bless you, Hopeful Heart. you definitely seem like an incredible person, and i just know that you are deeply loved by and very pleasing to God. please stay strong, please stay safe and please take care of yourself—and know that you are never alone in this, and that there is always hope and glorious healing in Him. please know that i will be keeping you in my constant thoughts and deepest prayers, and that if you ever need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me. take care.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison :heart:


#19

A book I just finished called “Can Christianity Cure OCD,” by someone-or-other Osborn, was excellent. Had miniature biographies of Luther and Bunyan (the author is Protestant, as am I) and also one of St. Therese of Lisieux-- all of whom suffered from scrupulosity/OCD.

I’ll pray for you. Remember that the fight is to trust God, to trust that He loved us enough to die for us and that He is powerful enough to rise from the dead, and that He is the one who can shepherd you home to Himself.

Love,

Susannah
Susannah


#20

I always have high standards but sometimes this slips into perfectionism, especially when I am stressed. I find I achieve less when I am in the grip of perfectionism than when I am not.

I am interested in whether perfectionism and scrupulosity are different or whether they are on a continuum. If they are different then how to deal one may not help dealing with the other bit if they are on a continuum then they may.

Look forward to learning more on this thread and others.

And thanks for not making any assumptions about whether I am scrupulous or not.


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