Author Topic: Feeling unforgivable  (Read 640 times)

Offline TandJ

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Feeling unforgivable
« on: January 23, 2019, 09:52:31 PM »
I’m a convert from 2009 and almost immediately after my baptism and conversion I have felt so guilty about my past. I keep thinking I have never made enough reparations for all my injustices and I keep on thinking of new sins I need to make up for, and the cycle never ends. I never feel forgive after my confessions and I feel like no matter what I am going to hell. This has been such a cross to deal with, I was just wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and maybe advice.
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 10:56:59 PM »
Sounds like scruples.

https://www.olmcfssp.org/index.php/olmc/post/on-scrupulosity

ETA: try also reading Fr. Quadrupani’s “Light and Peace”:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38355

It’s available on amazon for very cheap.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 11:00:15 PM by Gardener »
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2019, 11:29:01 PM »
it definitely sounds like scruples, and no, you are definitely not alone.  I struggle with this, as well, though I'm not a convert.  Most particularly, at night, I lie awake and my mind/soul is tormented by thoughts of how awful I am for every little imperfection/sin/mistake/quirk/unlovable tendencies/etc..., big and small (but, mostly, they all seem extremely BIG); and that I must be destined for Hell no matter what I do.  A lot of it is a subtle form of pride.  I have no idea how to overcome it, or even if I can, but I have found some practical ways to keep it at bay, as best I can.  First, I've just resigned myself to the fact that this is, indeed, my cross to bear.  I was literally on the path to hell in my previous life, so I figure if this is what I have to suffer to make up for that, then so be it.  Second, I find that Scripture is a HUGE balm to my soul, especially St. Paul.  Find a good bible concordance, and look up scripture versus on particular topics that combat scrupulous thoughts (joy, peace, love, forgiveness, etc.).  Tab your Bible where those verses are; read them, write them, embrace them, pray them out loud.  Finally, I just stay busy.  They say idleness is the devil's workshop, and man, is that true!  It's mostly when I have nothing to focus my mind and energies on that I spend my time dwelling on thoughts that lead me into a downward spiral (no shocker that nighttime is my most frequent time of attack).  Do you have any hobbies?  I do a lot of stuff with my kids, which really helps. We read, knit, paint, do wood working, bird watch, hike, play board games, bake bread, cook from scratch, study, pray,...the list goes on and on.   

Keep fighting the good fight!!!  It doesn't matter how many times you fall, as long as you get back up and keep trying.  :pray3:
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 11:32:01 PM by MundaCorMeum »
 
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Offline TandJ

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2019, 11:49:23 PM »
Thank you both for the replies. I do try to remember to keep busy, but my children are also the object of my scruples. Every decision I make regarding them is filled with anxiety and dread. Everything from having vaccinated them because it was required for Catholic school, to having sent them to a bad Catholic school, and now to having put them in public school because right now I feel like adding homeschooling to my plate is completely overwhelming and probably an imprudent choice because of my probable mental issues.. I feel like each choice I make is the wrong one but at the same time the only reasonable option but either way God is still displeased with me.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 11:51:58 PM by TandJ »
 

Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 12:25:15 AM »
I remember coming home from the hospital with my first child 14 years ago...my oldest daughter.  She was just perfect.  I loved everything about her (still do!...well, mostly  ;)).  She was so tiny, precious, soft, and helpless.  I loved holding her.  I remember that first night.  I snuggled in bed with her cradled in my arms.  I looked at her, and just started bawling.  I mean, seriously bawling.  My husband was sleeping, so he was clueless  ;D.  All I could think as I looked at this precious child was that I was going to ruin her. Why on earth did God give her to me?!  What was He thinking?!  I can't possibly return this soul in better condition than the way He created it.  I pretty much considered myself a failure before I had even begun!  My biggest fear?  That the child would turn out just like me (read my previous comment about scruples being a subtle form of pride  ::)).  I still to this day, lie awake at night, agonizing over the choices I make for my children, and how I'm going to ruin them; how they'll lose the faith; how they'll hate me as adults...you name it, I've thought it.  Many a nights have I cried myself to sleep over the torture I give myself at what a terrible mother I am (and I homeschool!  :P). 

The thing is, even if you make every single right decision, every single time, your children still have free will.  They will *still* make wrong choices themselves.  The question is not "if", it's "when".  Just give your children lots of love and lots of discipline (meaning true instruction in virture and correction when needed), and everything will come out in the wash.  Give them all the attention they need, but not necessarily all the attention they want.  Never seek affirmation from your children, and never put anything past your kids.  Just pray for the wisdom to do what is right for your kids; always make decisions that you believe is in their best interest, and God will be pleased.  God is not seeking perfection.  He is seeking for you to give Him your 5 loaves and 2 fish...He will supply the rest.  Trust that He will fulfill His part of the bargain.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 12:29:38 AM by MundaCorMeum »
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 01:00:52 AM »
Love Gardener's and Munda's replies.

Yes, you are loved.  However, sometimes some of us more self-critical types need someone in a cassock and collar to tell us that.  If you can find a traditionalist priest who will give you spiritual direction, even for a single session, ask for an appointment.  Ask him if a General Confession will help ease your conscience.  Although it is never a good idea to recite forgiven sins in new confessions (unless to mention "a past sin I am seriously sorry for and wish to mention"), there is no harm in making a General Confession of your whole life as long as you are not scrupulous.  But that's why meeting with a trained priest is helpful.  They are trained to recognize scruples, and to the scrupulous they will not recommend a G.C.

For example, I do know someone (not a scrupulous type) with quite a past, who converted from atheism or "nothing" about 6 years ago.  Like you, baptism wiped her soul clean, releasing her from the canonical need for a sacramental confession for that checkered past.  However, in her case she felt that it would not be right to proceed without unburdening her soul, so she made a G.C., with her priest's approval.

In any case, it would do you quite good to meet with a traditional priest.  Peace of soul is very important in the spiritual life, and it's worth the effort to find someone you feel comfortable enough with to ask for his advice in achieving that peace of soul.  That's what he's been educated and trained to do.
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 02:42:33 AM »
We must remember never to override God's mercy by telling ourselves (and therefore Him) that our sins are unforgivable.  That's actually a heresy as well.  But mostly, it offends His justice and sovereignty, because He has declared His justice to be mercy for the sorrowful.  To challenge His mercy is to challenge His omnipotence and His authority over our lives.

Third, on a practical level, He cannot forgive what we do not surrender to Him.  Holding onto our sins is a form of hoarding and possessiveness -- a kind of greed, and actually a lack of humility.  Logically, it's saying that unlike the rest of humanity -- who can be forgiven -- we are unique, in a special and separate category.  Instead, we should humble ourselves and be like everyone else -- "unworthy" of mercy but wiling to accept what He longs to bestow upon us.

When we obsess about our confessed sins we focus on ourselves instead of on Him.  That is definitely not His Will and does not bring us closer to Him but further away.  If we insist on staying away from His merciful heart we will please Him less, not more, and therefore compound our sorrow.  Letting go of the past is essential for every sinner.  If we don't, we remain chained to ourselves and we obstruct the action of His grace.
 
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Offline MilesChristi

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2019, 12:12:01 PM »
Sounds like scruples.

https://www.olmcfssp.org/index.php/olmc/post/on-scrupulosity

ETA: try also reading Fr. Quadrupani’s “Light and Peace”:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38355

It’s available on amazon for very cheap.


Father Doyle's little tome saved my sanity a long time ago
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 01:01:47 PM »
TandJ,

Hopefully you can see the relationship between scruples and discouragement which verges on despair.  If we rehash and rehearse details about our already-forgiven sins, it's as if we believe that God has not forgiven them at all, actually.  And naturally that would lead to the assumption that "no matter what we do," we are going to Hell.  This is actually even more of a problem with faith than it is with hope, because it's first necessary to believe that He can forgive us for everything we repent of, and that, if we have been to Confession, he has forgiven us.  It's not possible to have hope for an eternity with Him without that act of faith.

If He cannot forgive us (the logical extension of, my sins are unforgivable), then He is not God but a mere man or super-human creature not visible to us.  And that, of course, is heresy.  Surely we wouldn't want to have to confess the mortal sin of heresy in the confessional.

Regarding the reparation for injustices which you mention in your opening post:
My spiritual director (priest) has explained it this way.  Every time we sin, that sin has infinite effect because it's offending an infinite Being.  There is actually no way to "make up for" (completely) our sins.  This is why God's mercy is so essential to our current and future happiness, because if His mercy were not infinite, the entire human race, being sinful, would be damned to Hell.

Suffering, however, is an excellent way, and this is how the "economy" of the Passion comes into play, because when we unite our sufferings to those of Jesus Christ on the Cross, we partake of those divine merits.  Thus, some of us are more sensitive than others, and that's a good thing, ultimately, because it means that we suffer more than perhaps some others do.  Our sorrow is felt more intensely and for longer periods, and that includes sorrow for our sins.  Acknowledging the suffering --any suffering-- and submitting to it (i.e., not trying to "change" it, escape it, deny it, or complain about it) works toward our salvation.  He has already remitted our sins; remember that.  We do not remit them by our confessions or by our compunction; those are merely acts of awareness (compunction) and responsibility (sacramental confession, which activates grace).  But by willingly suffering for our sins and responding to opportunities to make reparation, we cooperate with that remission and increase our capacity for union with Him. 
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 01:17:27 PM »
Sorry.  I hate over-posting, but I want to add the next step to what I just said above.  If, when you suffer for your sins -- your deep awareness of them and how sad they make you feel -- you offer that suffering for someone's benefit -- someone you know/remember you have committed an injustice against -- that's a very fruitful effect of your suffering, and God will be very pleased for that deliberate, affirming act of yours.  We can even offer our temptations to hopelessness (the pain that that produces in us) as reparation for injustices committed, even when we don't remember all of our injustices.  My spiritual director has told me that God shields us from the fullness of our memories precisely so that we will NOT be overwhelmed by knowledge of our evil deeds and thus fall into despair of His love.  That's how much He wants us not to despair but to trust, and to relinquish our sins to Him rather than holding on to them.
 
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Offline TandJ

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 04:33:48 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I guess I just have a hard time discerning what needs to be forgotten and what needs to be repaired for me to get to heaven. A spiritual director would be nice, unfortunately there is little help in my Archdiocese. Even wondering if wearing sweatpants will send me to hell is a common thing for me to agonize over as funny as that sounds. Obviously my common sense tells me that the magisterium hasn’t condemned pants on women so it cannot be forbidden, but then I wonder what if the others are right. And this happens over and over again and for any decision. It feels like it’s inhibiting me from even growing spiritually because I’m always stuck on some random choice.
 

Offline MilesChristi

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 04:48:37 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I guess I just have a hard time discerning what needs to be forgotten and what needs to be repaired for me to get to heaven. A spiritual director would be nice, unfortunately there is little help in my Archdiocese. Even wondering if wearing sweatpants will send me to hell is a common thing for me to agonize over as funny as that sounds. Obviously my common sense tells me that the magisterium hasn’t condemned pants on women so it cannot be forbidden, but then I wonder what if the others are right. And this happens over and over again and for any decision. It feels like it’s inhibiting me from even growing spiritually because I’m always stuck on some random choice.

Wearing sweatpants would be unflattering and thus, if sinful, would be a sin against charity and not against chastity lol
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline mikemac

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 08:58:15 PM »
Like Miriam suggested, a General Confession.  But my priest said a GC is good for people with scrupulosity.  I told my priest that lately I have been thinking of some of the despicable things that I did when I was much younger.  It's not that I'm trying to, they just come into my mind.  When I first mentioned this to my priest he suggested a GC and gave me the impression that I may have scrupulosity.  The next time I talked to my priest about this I told him that for some reason I'm still remembering the mortal sins of my youth, but I don't think I have scrupulosity because I know the Sacrament of Confession forgives my sins.  He said that he doesn't think that I have scrupulosity either but suggested that a General Confession would be a good idea anyway.  He said as a seminarian they all did a General Confession.  He said it may be because I'm getting older and closer to death that I'm remembering them.  Is that scrupulosity; I don't know.  Anyway my priest said that even going through the motions of writing down all the mortal sins that I'm remembering, talking to him about it for an hour or so and then burning the paper afterwards may stop my mind from remembering them.  I still haven't done it yet but I'm going to.
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2019, 10:16:27 PM »
Like Miriam suggested, a General Confession.  But my priest said a GC is good for people with scrupulosity.  I told my priest that lately I have been thinking of some of the despicable things that I did when I was much younger.  It's not that I'm trying to, they just come into my mind.  When I first mentioned this to my priest he suggested a GC and gave me the impression that I may have scrupulosity.  The next time I talked to my priest about this I told him that for some reason I'm still remembering the mortal sins of my youth, but I don't think I have scrupulosity because I know the Sacrament of Confession forgives my sins.  He said that he doesn't think that I have scrupulosity either but suggested that a General Confession would be a good idea anyway.  He said as a seminarian they all did a General Confession.  He said it may be because I'm getting older and closer to death that I'm remembering them.  Is that scrupulosity; I don't know.  Anyway my priest said that even going through the motions of writing down all the mortal sins that I'm remembering, talking to him about it for an hour or so and then burning the paper afterwards may stop my mind from remembering them.  I still haven't done it yet but I'm going to.

It doesn't sound like you struggle with serious scrupulosity.  For those of us who do,  I would highly recommend NOT doing the bolded.  Just the idea of doing this gives me the hives.  Although, for some people, this may be a very effective practice to let go of their past faults.  For those who are scrupulous, writing it down would only cement it in their brains, and cause them to ruminate even more.  It's just too much navel gazing for a scrupulous person, which is part of our problem in the first place.  We think about ourselves too much.  I can't stress enough that people with scrupulosity, are dealing with a form of pride.  A really good mantra for a scrupulous person is, "humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself LESS".  It is better to focus on Christ and others.  Keep Christ in the center, not yourself.  Good virtues for the scrupulous person to practice are things like generosity, kindness, industriousness, etc...  Anything to get them outside themselves, and not deeper into their own thoughts or their own sinfulness (trust me, they do plenty of that in their free time)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 10:19:33 PM by MundaCorMeum »
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Feeling unforgivable
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2019, 12:00:02 AM »
Well, I agree with others, it definitely looks like scruples, TandJ. In Baptism, as you know, all sins are washed away, and we immediately become spotless, guiltless, pure, and entirely new creatures in Christ. So if you say even immediately after Baptism, you felt guilty, you know that the devil was likely tempting you to scruples and despair, and to doubt the Power of God's Love and Mercy, in washing away all our sins in His Blood. God makes us pure and innocent, like Angels, and like His Immaculate Mother Mary, on the day of our Baptism.

Making a General Confession once in a while is recommended; it could be once a year or differently as one's confessor recommends. It could be done just before the new year, or before around Easter. The idea is to confess once, and then forget it for the rest of the year. Scrupulous souls are generally advised to make GC's less frequently. The reason is because making many GC's may compound scruples. Still, sometimes one good general confession both gives us great graces and also takes away many worries. It's best to discuss this with the Priest and proceed as Father advises.

Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass is a sure means of obtaining complete remission for all our past faults. Remember that whenever we receive Holy Communion with love, He fills our hearts with His Love and He takes away venial faults. Fr. Mueller represents Jesus as saying to each one of us, "I have come down from Heaven just for you, and will I not take you to Heaven to live with Me?" Every day, the Good Lord gives us new reminders of His Mercy, and His desire to wash all our sins away.

Leave the past to Jesus. If the devil torments you much about it, you can say that prayer for negligences. After that, Jesus takes everything on Himself, and supplies for everything. https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/prayer-for-daily-neglects.html

Fulfilling well the duties of our state of life is the best means to give the greatest glory to God. Jesus unites Himself to us in Holy Communion because He wants to help us do all our daily duties, and do them with and in us. So speak to Him throughout the day, and ask Him for His help, and He will give you all the grace and wisdom to make your decisions. Make them, as others said, based on what is best for your children, not necessarily what they want.

In this month dedicated to the Holy Name, it's good to have the Name of Jesus always on our lips. Saying simple ejaculatory prayers like "Jesus, Mary, I love you. Save Souls" many times in the day will soon drive despair and other temptations away.

We must strive to grow in grace and merit each day. A good means of overcoming worry about the extent of reparation for sins after Baptism is to regularly gain indulgences. There are indulgences for faithfully praying the family Rosary, which can be the ordinary way to sanctity for all of us. "She also said to Blessed Alan, "I want you to know that, although there are numerous indulgences already attached to the recitation of my Rosary, I shall add many more to every five decades for those, who free from serious sin, say them with devotion, on their knees. And whosoever shall persevere in the devotion of the holy Rosary, with its prayers and meditations, shall be rewarded for it; I shall obtain for him full remission of the penalty and the guilt of all his sins at the end of his life. "And let this not seem incredible to you; it is easy for me because I am the Mother of the King of heaven, and he calls me full of grace. And being filled with grace, I am able to dispense it freely to my dear children." http://www.rosary-center.org/secret.htm

Hope all goes well. God bless.
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A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Please also offer the Precious Blood of Jesus' Heart to the Eternal Father, and our Lives in Sacrifice in Union with It, and with Mary's Immaculate Heart, that Jerusalem may be saved, Judah be restored, and the Jews may at long last happily be returned to saving Faith in Jesus Christ.
 
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