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So . . .  I went to confession yesterday and was told I was being scrupulous.  On one level, my struggle with guilt about some things has been released by my confessors advice, but on another I am doubting my ability to differentiate degrees of sin.  I feel wrapped in confusion and self-doubt.  I left the confessional crying - perhaps partially in relief about some things and partially out of confusion.  I still feel very shaky, more than a little frustrated and overwhelmed.  I have never left the confessional like this - not once.

I was told to start afresh and work on keeping my examination of conscience very academic.  I just don't know how to edit out my emotions from something so deeply important.  I must sound crazy, but please help me.  Any and all advice is welcome.  I just need to figure out a path forward.  

I think I have decided to:
1.  Trust that my confessor is right and that I am not thinking clearly about things.
2.  Accept that I am perhaps too emotional to gauge the situation clearly which certainly seems like a mitigating factor in any sort of improperly confessed sins.  If I have missed something along the way . . .   I honestly left that confessional so confused that I didn't know which way was up.  So, at this point, I throw myself on God's mercy and love and try to move forward without reconfessing and second guessing.  
3.  Try to do a more methodical and academic examination of conscience and keep my emotions out of it.  (How exactly that is done, I have no idea . . .)

Does this sound reasonable?  

Would you please pray for me?

I feel so lost right now.
Pray Pater Pray Ave Pray Gloria
I know what you're going through.  I, too, suffer from temptations to scrupulosity.  Interior peace is a stranger when one struggles with the question of whether one sinned or not.  As to emotions, they can be a help or a hindrance. It is best to see them as unrealiable tools, and not guides. What matters is the will, the heart. In any case, what helped me overcome scruples was having a regular confessor, who is wise.  I cannot perfectly comment on your situation, but obeying your confessor is a good step on the road to truth.  That's what helped me, and I found the peace of God returned to me. Be assured of my prayers, and don't be afraid to speak with your confessor outside the confessional. Persevere, for God will reward your heart with the truth, eventually. 

I recommend picking up the book "Searching for and Maintaining Peace" by Father Jacques Philippe. May Our Lady guide you always.  God bless.
I think I have decided to:

1.  Trust that my confessor is right and that I am not thinking clearly about things. This is a very good idea. It sounds like your emotions are unstable right now and that can cause you to overthink things. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside who isn't sitting inside our head to make an accurate judgement of what is really going on. Your confessor sounds like he knows you well and can make a good judgement. Many of the saints, especially St. Faustina, had great difficulty with their emotions and scrupulosity and only overcame it by trusting their confessors. Jesus is speaking to you through your confessor, so I would definitely take his advice. If you haven't read it already, the Diary of St. Faustina can be a helpful resource.

As an aside, a lot of my own scrupulosity is rooted in a fear of God punishing me if I don't follow His rules to the letter. It may be helpful to ask yourself "why do I feel this way? What notions about God do I have that may be inaccurate?" You can write up a list of these, if you like. Mine looked something like "I am afraid God is going to punish me for my sexual sins. I am afraid that God is going to hurt the people I love because I can't stop falling into sin." Bring this list to your confessor or to a spiritual mentor and talk about them. Your paradigms about God may look ridiculous when you put them on paper and will help you realize that God really isn't counting every sin you commit and rubbing His hands while He bides His time to smite you Wink



2.  Accept that I am perhaps too emotional to gauge the situation clearly which certainly seems like a mitigating factor in any sort of improperly confessed sins.  If I have missed something along the way . . .   I honestly left that confessional so confused that I didn't know which way was up.  So, at this point, I throw myself on God's mercy and love and try to move forward without reconfessing and second guessing.  Also a very good idea. Do you go to confession more than once a week? I used to go almost every day, and man did that get exhausting! It may help to just go on Saturdays and briefly study a good examination of conscience before you go in (instead of spending hours before your confession painstakingly dwelling on whether or not you committed this or that sin and writing absolutely everything down on paper. I've been there before!) I would recommend asking your confessor to help you write an examination of conscience that is tailored just for you and that particular sins you struggle with. More general Examinations of Conscience go into a lot of detail and will probably freak you out with their long lists of every possible sin against the Ten Commandments (have you murdered anyone? Used an Ouija board? Stolen money? Probably not...so don't even worry about going there). Another thing that you can do in the confessional is, after stating all your sins to the priest, say "and I am also heartily sorry for any and all sins that I have forgotten about." The Lord understands that you don't have perfect memory, and He won't be angry if you honestly forget to mention something.



3.  Try to do a more methodical and academic examination of conscience and keep my emotions out of it.  (How exactly that is done, I have no idea . . .) Like I mentioned above, have your confessor help you develop an examination of conscience expressly tailored for you. Don't worry about all those other sins (murder, sodomy, etc) that you probably wouldn't even dream of committing and focus on the weaknesses of your particular nature.

I will be praying for you. God bless you, and kudos to you for being humble enough to ask for help. It is always hard admitting our weaknesses!
Thank you all so much!  I will look at the readings you suggest, and see what I can do about the examination of conscience.  I started a more thorough examination today in an attempt to see if I could overrule my emotions.  It was a disaster in terms of emotions and confusion.  I think I need to start more simply.

May God bless you all!
F
http://www.chastitysf.com/faq.htm

This will help you.
An added point :

Scrupulosity is a disease of the conscience. It may have several causes, but manifests in the inability of the conscience to correctly judge reality. In it's full-blown form it is the consideration of what is perfectly legitimate as grave sin, but has lesser forms.

Often scrupulosity comes from Pride, and the desire to have absolute certainty about our confessions, state of grace, and salvation. This is impossible. We can only be morally certain about these (we are not conscious of any intentionally unconfessed mortal sins).

Because the conscience is diseased, you are not able to make proper integral examinations and confessions. Your examination will not produce certainty. You are therefore, excused to a large extent from this, and that is part of your remedy.

If you have this disease you have to take the proper medicine.

Part of the solution is to :

  1. follow your confessor to the letter (which you seem to be willing to do), even if he tells you are not permitted to confess a certain sin, or give you a numerical limit to what sins you can mention in the confession,
  2. accuse yourself (even privately) of only sins you are absolutely certain you have committed it. If there is any doubt, despise it, and do not consider yourself has having sinned (unless your confessor tells you differently).
If you do that an put your trust in the judgement of the confessor to substitute for your diseased conscience, you will not only be safe, but you will be on the path to healing that conscience and remedying your problem.

For that, you have my prayers.
Magister, thank you for your very complete response.  I am trying to calm down about the whole thing and work on approaching things more normally.  I am willing to follow direction to the letter if I must.  I am more than usually aware that my own emotions are all mixed up right now.  If I'm not thinking clearly, then it becomes really hard to do a reasonable examination of conscience.
Sta Teresa de Jesus said that whilst one can confess to any confessor available, one should put oneself under obedience to one's regular confessor.