Struggling with 3 things


#1

I hope I can do well enough to describe what I’m trying to express…

My first thing I’m struggling with is that I don’t understand the concept of if someone believes something is a sin, then it is sin. Does this mean if I believe that if I mow my lawn too slowly, I’m guilty of being sloth-like, or if I ate extra spoonful of homemade ice-cream because it was so delicious, I’m guilty of gluttony, or simply because I crossed the street on my cul-de-sac to talk to my neighbor, I’ve broken the law by jay-walking and thus guilty of sin? If I believe it to be so, then doesn’t the bible tell me I am guilty?

Secondly, I’m struggling with understanding my true nature of what I believe and discerning if it is Satan tempting me, remnants of my old self or my true nature. I do a lot of good things God expects of me, like volunteering, helping the poor, am a Knight, preaching to others, donating, sacrificing self for others… etc. But often times I get this nagging feeling like I’m doing it because I’m expected to and not because I want to… Sure I enjoy volunteering at the local food prep place, but it’s like I said, sometimes I just feel like I’m doing it because I don’t want to go to Hell. I get these thoughts that nag me, like “deep in your heart, you don’t believe any of this, it’s all stupid”. I quickly wash that away and tell Satan to shutup and ask Jesus for His Holy guidance, but it is like why is this? Is it because I have stopped doing so many mortal sins and now Satan is trying other ways to confuse me? I hope to God I don’t believe that I don’t believe. Is he just imparting doubt on me?

Lastly, I know there are hundreds upon hundreds of posts on this, and the responses all seem to be the same, (3 criteria of mortal sins), but my sexual history has not been one of the most holiest (as I’m sure I’m among vast company here). I know unwanted thoughts are not consented to, and thus not mortal, and plus I am practicing (and getting better at) just brushing those thoughts aside. Can a quick unwanted thought for a few seconds turn into lust in one second, or does it really take a lot of effort? I sometimes feel that these temptations can go from unwanted thought to lust immediately. Sometimes it is as if for a second I engage it and then immediately turn away from it, shake my head, close my eyes, think something else, pray, and move on, but I feel as though I’ve lusted in the brief second (Am I committing mortal sins here?!)… And because of my past, many of those thoughts come “more naturally” than they should, they are distorted, and I have to live with that. I’m hoping that changes over time. I feel like the devil is just toying with me… Even though I don’t feel or believe it, and because of my scrupulosity, the words “I’d like to **** her” go through my head every time I see an attractive woman even when I don’t believe it and I HATE IT. I don’t want that anymore. This is why I struggle to feel like in my second point above, I don’t believe any of this… but I keep coming back to that all of it is Satan… but then I struggle like I don’t know…

Please help. Any kind words. I want to be holy and seek God and be at peace.


#2

Speak with your confessor.


#3
  1. If someone believes that an act is immoral, and then he freely chooses to commit that act, he has made a decision to act in contradiction to his own conscience. This willingness to do something wrong, is sinful, even if the person was mistaken and the act is moral.

  2. Most sins are not caused by the temptation of fallen angels. The three influences on free will toward sin are: the flesh, the world, and the devil. The flesh means our own fallen nature, tempting us toward sinful selfish behavior. The world means the influence of other persons and society. Fallen angels are the least of the influences toward sin.

  3. In general, passing sexual thoughts are not actual mortal sins. One test of the degree of sinfulness of thoughts is whether or not you would be willing to commit the sinful act, bodily, if the opportunity arose. On the other hand, your continued willingness to adhere to Catholic teaching on sexual ethics, and to continue seeking moral truth, attests to your faithfulness to God.


#4

This is a little bit tricky, but in part, yes, one must not commit violence against one’s conscience by going against it, but therenis a huge caveat: one’s conscience ought to be in line with Church teaching. IOW, some people have a conscience that has been violated so often that it is sort of squashed flat. Others have a conscience so tender that it is like a blown in balloon. And then of course, there are those whose conscience is not too unhealthy but is twisted out if shape due to wrong beliefs.

As you can probably see, each of those problems can lead to sin–the sin of the excessively scrupulous being fear and distrust of the Lord, and there is also the possibility of self-centeredness rather than God-centeredness. It can become a form of pride in which one puts one’s own ideas over those of the Church.

So the answer to your first question is, generally, but sometimes not, as the cure for an unhealthy conscience is to “substitute” a better one for a time.

Secondly, I’m struggling with understanding my true nature of what I believe and discerning if it is Satan tempting me, remnants of my old self or my true nature. I do a lot of good things God expects of me, like volunteering, helping the poor, am a Knight, preaching to others, donating, sacrificing self for others… etc. But often times I get this nagging feeling like I’m doing it because I’m expected to and not because I want to… Sure I enjoy volunteering at the local food prep place, but it’s like I said, sometimes I just feel like I’m doing it because I don’t want to go to Hell. I get these thoughts that nag me, like “deep in your heart, you don’t believe any of this, it’s all stupid”. **I quickly wash that away and tell Satan to shutup and ask Jesus for His Holy guidance, but it is like why is this? Is it because I have stopped doing so many mortal sins and now Satan is trying other ways to confuse me? **I hope to God I don’t believe that I don’t believe. Is he just imparting doubt on me?

It may well be your self telling you these thoughts, but all too often we discount the possibility that the demons are prowling around looking for *us. *You are refusing to think about it without making a fuss about it, and praying to Christ–this is good.

Lastly, I know there are hundreds upon hundreds of posts on this, and the responses all seem to be the same, (3 criteria of mortal sins), but my sexual history has not been one of the most holiest (as I’m sure I’m among vast company here). I know unwanted thoughts are not consented to, and thus not mortal, and plus I am practicing (and getting better at) just brushing those thoughts aside. Can a quick unwanted thought for a few seconds turn into lust in one second, or does it really take a lot of effort? I sometimes feel that these temptations can go from unwanted thought to lust immediately. Sometimes it is as if for a second I engage it and then immediately turn away from it, shake my head, close my eyes, think something else, pray, and move on, but I feel as though I’ve lusted in the brief second (Am I committing mortal sins here?!)… And because of my past, many of those thoughts come “more naturally” than they should, they are distorted, and I have to live with that. I’m hoping that changes over time. I feel like the devil is just toying with me… Even though I don’t feel or believe it, and because of my scrupulosity, the words “I’d like to **** her” go through my head every time I see an attractive woman even when I don’t believe it and I HATE IT. I don’t want that anymore. This is why I struggle to feel like in my second point above, I don’t believe any of this… but I keep coming back to that all of it is Satan… but then I struggle like I don’t know…

If you don’t consent, you’re fine. The problem is that part of you is still conditioned to react before you have a chance to think–imagination, etc., can be like that.

Please help. Any kind words. I want to be holy and seek God and be at peace.

You might be interested in these “penanceware” audios, esp the classes, towards the end. Don’t forget to help Fr Ripperger out!


#5

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