Grace (Part IV)


  1. Do not repeat prayers, no matter how badly they may have been prayed, even if the prayers were given to you as a penance during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
  1. Do not repeat the confession of sins that have already been confessed and which have never been re-committed.
  1. If you doubt the earnestness of your sorrow in Confession, consider the sorrow as having been adequate.
  1. If you are doubtful as to whether a past action you committed was sinful, mention it simply to your confessor (that is, without a lot of great and/or graphic detail).
  1. If you are worrying that maybe you never confessed a certain sin from your past, consider it confessed. If you know for a fact that you have never confessed that sin, then confess it simply (i.e., without a lot of great and/or graphic detail). The Holy Spirit does not torment us with doubt and/or guilt; rather, He always brings peace as He awakens our conscience to our sins (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11: “Indeed, sorrow for God’s sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow, which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you!”).  In regard to this truth, St. John Chrysostom (referring to St. Paul) tells us that our love for God and desire for conversion “overcame by its strength and keenness all those sorrows which had invaded my heart, and took away from me all awareness of them.” (Homily 14, 1-2: PG 61, 497-499; Cf., Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. III, p. 544)
  1. Examine your conscience for no longer than three minutes each day, and for no longer than about ten minutes before you go to Confession.
  1. If you have prayed at the time of temptation (i.e., precisely to help dispel the temptation), you can be sure you did not commit a mortal sin.
  1. If you have a history of scrupulosity, and you have made a General Confession at some time in your past, do not make another General Confession. Once a month is a good norm/interval for the frequency of a regular Confession.
  1. If possible, go to Confession to the same priest-confessor.
  1. Most importantly, cultivate a humble heart by complete obedience to the direction of your confessor. Be patient with yourself. Love is the goal of all our lives. It is important to remember that scrupulosity usually (and, quite often, ultimately) stems from one’s personal pride and/or arrogance, as though the scrupulous person holds this opinion about himself: “I require of myself a higher level of forgiveness and/or perfection than most normal people; thus, I hold myself to a higher standard of forgiveness and/or perfection than what even Our Lord and His Bride the Church require of a penitent.”  This is why it is sometimes said:  “The scrupulous person makes themself their own savior – thus denying Jesus Christ that right.”

About Fr. Wade Menezes

Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM is a member of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching Religious Congregation based in Auburn, Kentucky. Ordained a priest during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Catholic Thought from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Toronto, Canada and his dual Master of Arts and Master of Divinity Degrees in Theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. His secular college degrees are in journalism and communications.