More helpful tips for the scrupulous.

“Whenever… the scrupulous person finds, after confession, no firm conviction of complete forgiveness, and therefore, no real peace of mind, he must reach this conclusion- “It is not the sacrament which is at fault, but myself; confession is not wrong in relation to me; but somehow I am wrong in my relation to confession.” UNTIL THIS ADMISSION IS MADE, THERE CAN BE NO LASTING CURE FOR SCRUPLES.” – Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“All Our Lord’s dealings with sinners- and they are frequent enough- show that He required for full forgiveness nothing more than the simplest, undetailed expression of guilt and regret. The publican struck his breast: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” and went down to his house justified. Mary Magdalene at His feet spoke no word… The scrupulous must, then, first realise that nowhere in the Gospels is there any sign that Our Lord wants the kind of confession they want to make. Moreover, the Church, through which God makes His wishes known, does not expect it either, having said clearly that the only sin one is bound to tell in confession is mortal sin, and about which we are certain… The word bound is important. We may in confession speak of details, of the attendant circumstances of a sin, to relieve our minds, to secure guidance, to increase humility… But once we insist on doing so with the idea of making forgiveness more certain, we are guilty of devising a special “sacrament of penance” for our own private use which is not that of Our Lord, nor of the Church, and will never bring peace, simply because it is not Our Lord’s sacrament…” – Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“The little that he wants—only the recognition that I have sinned. Not what you have done or how often you have done it, but are you sorry that you did it?… The devil tries to throw a veil over the face of Christ, by making us dwell on the enormity of our sin and nothing else. God wants of us the approach of confidence, not fear (except in the sense of reverence), and that we should know that there is no limit to the forbearance of God. He is longing only that His own should come to him, or if they have strayed, come back. Fear is lack of confidence, of trust, it even amounts to doubt. We fear we have exhausted the mercy of God [it is inexhaustible]; we must call up in front of our vision the figure of Christ.” – Fr. Steuart, SJ.

“No sin is a true sin if we have not willfully consented.” – St. Padre Pio

“When a scrupulous person has once made up his mind that he has not consented to a temptation, he must not reason the matter over again to see whether he has really consented or not, for the same temptations often return by making this sort of reflections.” – St. Philip Neri

“When scrupulosity centres upon venial sins, mental anxiety is a pure waste of energy since their confession is optional because they do not separate us from God.” – Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“The scrupulous person should say firmly: “God knows my sin; He doesn’t want to tell it to myself, which is what I’m really trying to do. He only wants me to be sorry for what it is. Even if God did let me see my guilt as He sees it, would I then have God’s view of myself? Would I have any real conception of His pity for my weakness, of the gladness with which He pardons me, of the generous grace He wants to give me? Yet these are the things it would profit me most to know. Why cannot I trust Him and tell Him simply?” – Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“Is it likely that God, having created us as we are and given us the nature that we have, would call upon us to do things which are too difficult for that nature, which was against it? That is nonsense; He has made us to harmonize and it is only we who have distorted it… God doesn’t ask me to play the game and not teach me the rules.” – Fr. Steuart, SJ.

“The scrupulous would cure themselves if, instead of this detective inquiry, which only deepens their worry without increasing their sorrow, they would ask simply: “What made me do this? [What was my intention?]” – Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“If you want to note down every thought, every interior movement, even if unexpected, every tendency, every fantasy and rebellion of the passions at their source, you will be irresolute and you will never find a confessor ready to listen to you. My daughter, be merciful with yourself and do not tyrannize yourself. Who forces and condemns you to such trifles? No-one. Catholic doctrine teaches us that the sins that have to be confessed are only mortal sins that are certain. We can expose our doubts, whatever they may be, should we so wish, otherwise we are dispensed. As for venial sins, it is certain they are forgiven, even if there were thousands of them, through an act of love, or contrition, or a devout sign of the cross, etc. As if all the trifles you mentioned were necessary for an integral confession. It is good for humility, for contrition and for general perfection to confess doubtful mortal sins and venial sins we are certain of, but we are not obliged to and therefore you can see for yourself if your scruples are not excessive. Less anguish and more enthusiasm.” – St. Padre Pio

“Contradiction, sickness, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outward torments are the chisel with which God carves His statues for Paradise.” – St Alphonsus Liguori

“For you, it is not good to scrutinize the lowest depths of your soul. If during prayer, God throws His light into your soul and in this light reveals to you, your misery and baseness, it is a signal grace. But your are not in a state to examine and analyze your soul in a natural light.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

“Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls.” – St. Francis de Sales

“Understand that the mercy of the Saviour is so measureless that it accepts the least ill, the smallest trouble, in payment for the most disquieting of your debts. Nothing, not even a headache, is lost.” – St. Lydwine of Schiedam

Visiting a criminal condemned to death, St. Michael Garicoits insisted: “My friend, you are in a good situation. Cast yourself upon the bosom of Divine Mercy with utter confidence. Say, ‘My God, have pity on me!’ and you will be saved!” He added: “If, one day, I found myself in danger of losing my life between Betharram and Igon, and if I saw myself burdened with mortal sins, without help, without a confessor, I would throw myself heart and soul into the arms of Divine Mercy and would believe myself to be in a very good situation.”

“They [souls] have not understood My Heart. For it is their very destitution and failings that incline My goodness toward them. And when acknowledging their helplessness and weakness, they humble themselves and have recourse to Me trustfully, then indeed they give me more glory than before their fault.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

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