Handling Relapses
#1
How do you handle relapses into sin, especially habitual sins? 

I was doing so well and now I am so discouraged. 

I hope we can get to confession this weekend but it's always so hard with two little ones.
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, Pillar of Families, Glory of Domestic Life, Pray for Us!

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
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#2
(11-12-2021, 08:36 AM)SacraCor714 Wrote: How do you handle relapses into sin, especially habitual sins?
An act of contrition immediately, and confession when you can.
St. Francis de Sales Wrote:CHAPTER IX. On Gentleness towards Ourselves.
Introduction to the Devout Life St. Francis of Sales

ONE important direction in which to exercise gentleness, is with respect to ourselves, never
growing irritated with one’s self or one’s imperfections; for although it is but reasonable that we
should be displeased and grieved at our own faults, yet ought we to guard against a bitter, angry,
or peevish feeling about them. Many people fall into the error of being angry because they have
been angry, vexed because they have given way to vexation, thus keeping up a chronic state of
irritation, which adds to the evil of what is past, and prepares the way for a fresh fall on the first
occasion. Moreover, all this anger and irritation against one’s self fosters pride, and springs entirely
from self-love, which is disturbed and fretted by its own imperfection. What we want is a quiet,
steady, firm displeasure at our own faults. A judge gives sentence more effectually speaking
deliberately and calmly than if he be impetuous and passionate (for in the latter case he punishes
not so much the actual faults before him, but what they appear to him to be); and so we can chasten
ourselves far better by a quiet stedfast repentance, than by eager hasty ways of penitence, which,
in fact, are proportioned not by the weight of our faults, but according to our feelings and inclinations.
Thus one man who specially aims at purity will be intensely vexed with himself at some very trifling
fault against it, while he looks upon some gross slander of which he has been guilty as a mere
laughing matter. On the other hand, another will torment himself painfully over some slight

exaggeration, while he altogether overlooks some serious offence against purity; and so on with
other things. All this arises solely because men do not judge themselves by the light of reason, but
under the influence of passion.
Believe me, my daughter, as a parent’s tender affectionate remonstrance has far more weight
with his child than anger and sternness, so, when we judge our own heart guilty, if we treat it gently,
rather in a spirit of pity than anger, encouraging it to amendment, its repentance will be much deeper
and more lasting than if stirred up in vehemence and wrath.
For instance:—Let me suppose that I am specially seeking to conquer vanity, and yet that I
have fallen conspicuously into that sin;—instead of taking myself to task as abominable and
wretched, for breaking so many resolutions, calling myself unfit to lift up my eyes to Heaven, as
disloyal, faithless, and the like, I would deal pitifully and quietly with myself. “Poor heart! so soon
fallen again into the snare! Well now, rise up again bravely and fall no more. Seek God’s Mercy,
hope in Him, ask Him to keep you from falling again, and begin to tread the pathway of humility
afresh. We must be more on our guard henceforth.” Such a course will be the surest way to making
a stedfast substantial resolution against the special fault, to which should be added any external
means suitable, and the advice of one’s director. If any one does not find this gentle dealing
sufficient, let him use sterner self-rebuke and admonition, provided only, that whatever indignation
he may rouse against himself, he finally works it all up to a tender loving trust in God, treading in
the footsteps of that great penitent who cried out to his troubled soul: “Why art thou so vexed, O
my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? O put thy trust in God, for I will yet thank Him,
Which is the help of my countenance, and my God.”
So then, when you have fallen, lift up your heart in quietness, humbling yourself deeply before
God by reason of your frailty, without marvelling that you fell;—there is no cause to marvel because
weakness is weak, or infirmity infirm. Heartily lament that you should have offended God, and
begin anew to cultivate the lacking grace, with a very deep trust in His Mercy, and with a bold,
brave heart.
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#3
What Marmot said, and also, amp up your daily prayer life! Stay close to God. Immerse yourself in contrition, thanksgiving, and the lives of the saints to help rekindle the fire of keeping your mind and your heart in the right place.
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#4
I agree with both posts above.  Act of contrition, confession, pray for help, dust yourself off and try to do better next time.  We all fall.  I have brought nursing babies into the confessional and my husband and I have also stood in line and traded off a toddler.  It is hard but it can be done.
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#5
(11-12-2021, 12:54 PM)CatholicMamato5 Wrote: I have brought nursing babies into the confessional

At first I thought you wanted the babies to confess something!
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#6
(11-12-2021, 01:27 PM)Marmot Wrote:
(11-12-2021, 12:54 PM)CatholicMamato5 Wrote: I have brought nursing babies into the confessional

At first I thought you wanted the babies to confess something!

Nah.... but I am counting on their lack of verbal skills and hopefully forgetfulness!!
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#7
(11-12-2021, 08:36 AM)SacraCor714 Wrote: How do you handle relapses into sin, especially habitual sins? 

I was doing so well and now I am so discouraged. 

I hope we can get to confession this weekend but it's always so hard with two little ones.

Wednesday I had a relapse as well. I got to confession and sobbed my head off today. The devil wants you to be discouraged and wallow. Christ can bring you through a relapse. How great is our God!

My opinion (as I've found thinking in terms of 'streaks' or 'years free' to be harmful except insofar as making testimony): Remember that we sin in all ways on every day, and that these relapses are, as far as God is concerned, no different than the other sins we commit throughout the day. The devil draws this distinction to divide you.
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#8
Quote:How do you handle relapses into sin, especially habitual sins? 

I was doing so well and now I am so discouraged. 

I hope we can get to confession this weekend but it's always so hard with two little ones.

Hello, I'm a new member of the forum.

I agree with the messages of our friends. I encourage you to pray whenever possible. Being close to God will always keep you from sin.

Quote:CHAPTER IX. On Gentleness towards Ourselves.
Introduction to the Devout Life St. Francis of Sales

ONE important direction in which to exercise gentleness, is with respect to ourselves, never
growing irritated with one’s self or one’s imperfections; for although it is but reasonable that we
should be displeased and grieved at our own faults, yet ought we to guard against a bitter, angry,
or peevish feeling about them. Many people fall into the error of being angry because they have
been angry, vexed because they have given way to vexation, thus keeping up a chronic state of
irritation, which adds to the evil of what is past, and prepares the way for a fresh fall on the first
occasion. Moreover, all this anger and irritation against one’s self fosters pride, and springs entirely
from self-love, which is disturbed and fretted by its own imperfection. What we want is a quiet,
steady, firm displeasure at our own faults. A judge gives sentence more effectually speaking
deliberately and calmly than if he be impetuous and passionate (for in the latter case he punishes
not so much the actual faults before him, but what they appear to him to be); and so we can chasten
ourselves far better by a quiet stedfast repentance, than by eager hasty ways of penitence, which,
in fact, are proportioned not by the weight of our faults, but according to our feelings and inclinations.
Thus one man who specially aims at purity will be intensely vexed with himself at some very trifling
fault against it, while he looks upon some gross slander of which he has been guilty as a mere
laughing matter. On the other hand, another will torment himself painfully over some slight

exaggeration, while he altogether overlooks some serious offence against purity; and so on with
other things. All this arises solely because men do not judge themselves by the light of reason, but
under the influence of passion.
Believe me, my daughter, as a parent’s tender affectionate remonstrance has far more weight
with his child than anger and sternness, so, when we judge our own heart guilty, if we treat it gently,
rather in a spirit of pity than anger, encouraging it to amendment, its repentance will be much deeper
and more lasting than if stirred up in vehemence and wrath.
For instance:—Let me suppose that I am specially seeking to conquer vanity, and yet that I
have fallen conspicuously into that sin;—instead of taking myself to task as abominable and
wretched, for breaking so many resolutions, calling myself unfit to lift up my eyes to Heaven, as
disloyal, faithless, and the like, I would deal pitifully and quietly with myself. “Poor heart! so soon
fallen again into the snare! Well now, rise up again bravely and fall no more. Seek God’s Mercy,
hope in Him, ask Him to keep you from falling again, and begin to tread the pathway of humility
afresh. We must be more on our guard henceforth.” Such a course will be the surest way to making
a stedfast substantial resolution against the special fault, to which should be added any external
means suitable, and the advice of one’s director. If any one does not find this gentle dealing
sufficient, let him use sterner self-rebuke and admonition, provided only, that whatever indignation
he may rouse against himself, he finally works it all up to a tender loving trust in God, treading in
the footsteps of that great penitent who cried out to his troubled soul: “Why art thou so vexed, O
my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? O put thy trust in God, for I will yet thank Him,
Which is the help of my countenance, and my God.”
So then, when you have fallen, lift up your heart in quietness, humbling yourself deeply before
God by reason of your frailty, without marvelling that you fell;—there is no cause to marvel because
weakness is weak, or infirmity infirm. Heartily lament that you should have offended God, and
begin anew to cultivate the lacking grace, with a very deep trust in His Mercy, and with a bold,
brave heart.

Thank you for this very valuable post.
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