QUAERITUR: suffering and grieving over my past life

From a reader:

Lately my mind has been getting assaulted by the remembrance of my past life and all my sins; it was rooted in egoism and hedonism- not a pretty sight, and I wish it would all go away.

I know I’ve been forgiven, and that there is no sin so serious that God can’t forgive, but the guilt feels like it’s weighing me down all of a sudden.The usual, “Be happy! Jesus died for your sins! You’re Forgiven!” only makes me feel more guilty.

What advice, if any, can you give a person such as myself who is now suffering and grieving over their past life?

I feel for you!

I think that we all feel this way, when we consider our past … our sins.

We will always have the memory of our sins.

We will always, as Catholics, believe that our sins are truly forgiven!

Our post-baptismal sins are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance.

The Lord Himself forgives your sins through Holy Church and the priest.

Go to confession as often as these things well up in you.

Try not to beat yourself over the head too much.

Yes, you are going to beat yourself over the head.  And you should.  But… not too much.

At a certain point we go on.  We get on with living.

As I have written before, there is a phrase from a mediocre book by Bernard Malamud, turned into a great baseball movie, The NaturalRoy Hobbs, down and wounded, regrets past decisions.  His redemptive character, the woman he loved when he was young (before he made stupid, life-changing mistakes), says to him that we have two lives, the life we learn with and the life we live afterward.

I sure feel that way myself.  I feel that way almost every day of my life, as a matter of fact.

But I believe in Christ’s promises.

Put your sense of shame, for that is what this is, into the chalice during Mass with the little drops of water – our humanity – that are mingled with the wine.

It will all be taken up by Our Lord and transformed.

Then, get involved with corporal works of mercy.  Do some concrete things.  Get your hands busy and a little dirty.  Perhaps your parish has something to do.  Perhaps there is a neighborhood food shelf or group… you get the idea.  Action is needed to counterbalance the introspection.

Do something.

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41 Responses to QUAERITUR: suffering and grieving over my past life

  1. Potato2 says:

    I love The Natural and have always thought of the parallels in faith. I never read the book but in the movie Glenn Close distinctly says “The life we learn with, and the life we live with after that.”
    Which can be interpreted a little differently. The life we learn with and the life that we suffer the consequences of the 1st life’s decisions.
    A little darker and different interpretation but it does show the level of philosophy one can get out of a baseball movie.

  2. Potato2 says:

    That one “with” added to the second part changes the way one can view the line.

  3. Sissy says:

    Before I was a Catholic, this was a serious problem for me. I would lie awake at night weeping over certain things I did as a young woman. But the thing that has helped me most is regular confession. It’s such a huge blessing to hear those sweet words. Now, when one of those painful, old memories arises, I say to myself firmly: “No, that is confessed and forgiven. The Lord has absolved me of that sin.” And then I pray and thank the Lord for that wonderful opportunity to confess and KNOW that I am forgiven.

  4. mamajen says:

    My life is pretty good right now, and I like to remind myself that my past led me to where I am today. If my past had been different, I would probably be in a different place…and since I feel that where I am now is where God wants me to be, regretting the past makes little sense. It’s hard, though. There are certain things that I really kind of hate myself for, but even those things taught me important lessons.

    Think about St. Paul who used to go around killing Jesus’ early followers before becoming one himself! I think the people who have hurt Jesus the most also give Him the greatest joy when they repent.

  5. Been right where you are, my friend. Will be there again undoubtedly.

  6. ejcmartin says:

    I too went off the rails in my earliers days big time. I still struggle but the train wrecks are not quite as big. Thank you for your posts on confession father. Good point about St. Paul mamajen.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and I ask God to give you the grace to help you to understand that however painful and humiliating these experiences have been, they are but a blip in the immense trajectory of the journey of the soul to God.”

    “Remember me in your Holy Communion.”

    Spoken by a priest in the Prudential Center, Boston, 8/8/88, two and a quarter hours after he was supposed to be “off duty”.

  8. Alan Aversa says:

    I’d say you’re being prideful (“Look at me! I’m no longer a sinner as I was!”), and, if you feed the pride, you’ll certainly relapse into your past sins since pride cuts off God’s grace, and it is only by God’s grace that you haven’t yet relapsed into that past life. Thank Him for it!

  9. Girgadis says:

    Dear Reader
    Believe me when I tell you that not so long ago, I had one foot in Hell and the other on a banana peel. When I am tempted to grieve over past sins that have been forgiven, I instead give thanks to God for the gift of conversion. In fact, if I’m prone to feeling guilty, it is for that reason. Why me, Lord, while so many around me refuse to acknowledge You? Sometimes, I feel like the lone survivor of a jet crash. What makes me so special that I walked away intact while others continue down a path toward Hell? It’s my belief that we can use our past misery as an opportunity to please God, perhaps by reaching out to those who shared our once-perilous journey. We may have a credibility (for lack of a better word, I’m sure someone will correct me) with those who have not yet undergone conversion that someone who has always been faithful may not.

    The idea of regretting past mistakes made in life is one with which I can certainly identify. I can only ask myself: what have you learned and how will you use it to love God more and make Him loved by others? I would be worried if I didn’t continue to ask myself this until the end of my life.

  10. acardnal says:

    It is only by God’s grace that we overcome our sinful ways. And how do we obtain grace? Prayer and the sacraments . . . not by anything WE do.

  11. LadyMedievalist says:

    As I was reading this, the words of Flannery O’Connor (from a letter, I believe) came to mind: “The meaning of the Redemption is precisely that we do not have to be our history.” I keep this quote nearby because it’s so tempting to think of myself as tied to what I’ve done in the past; as Sissy said upthread, it’s frequent confession that helps me to deal with this.

  12. Girgadis says:

    acardnal yes, so true. I was given a version of the Way of the Cross with excerpts from Saint Faustina’s diary. She wrote that Christ told her: “Without special help from Me, you would not even be capable of accepting My graces.”

  13. Monica says:

    “Action is needed to counterbalance this introspection.”
    Excellent advice. A thousand times ‘yes,’ from personal experience. Stretch yourself a bit and do something new (for example, write to a prisoner via First Century Christian Ministries- Google it). There are many ways to look outside yourself and stop plowing that old, forgiven, dead ground. You are a new creation. Stay close to the Sacraments, yes, and spread the Word by loving your neighbor.

  14. Random Friar says:

    Let us be grateful that God’s justice is not our justice, and His mercy is not our mercy, that His love is not our love. It’s sometimes hard to wrap our minds around it sometimes. Happens to all of us at some point.

  15. abradleyjones says:

    Thanks Fr., I needed to hear this today!

  16. martin.c says:

    I wholeheartedly recommend reading Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Transformation in Christ”. Fortunately, the chapter about contrition is fully available in the Google Books preview (pages 31 to 42): http://books.google.com.ar/books?id=7R3LVksr1MwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

  17. Late for heaven says:

    Fr. Z has excellent advice of course. If I may riff on it a little, I see two things going on here. First is that you have been granted the continuing grace to understand just how sin grieves Our Lord and so your remorse increases. This is a sweet suffering. It brings you closer to God since it confirms that your past was indeed sinful and you realize how far you were from God. At the same time, it is also a temptation from Satan who wants you to be so paralyzed by your sin that you cannot use it for good. None, NOT ONE of us deserve the graces we have been given. Accept your pain and offer it up as penance for those you have wronged or those who are still mired in sin.

    I too held title on my own palace in hell. But for the grace of God I would be there still. Pray that I may reach my new home in Christ.

  18. Gus Barbarigo says:

    @ Girgadis

    Perhaps instead of a faithful Catholic having “credibility” with the not-so-faithful, so to speak, we can say “lacrimae rerum,” or “compassion for suffering” (literally, “tears of things”). A faithful Catholic who has walked in the same shoes as the less faithful, can speak in detail of the misery shared by those on the wide and crooked path.

    And to push the “tears” metaphor further, who can forget the “tears in the rain” soliloquy in the film Blade Runner? It’s natural to mourn our past and feel sorry for ourselves sometimes. Hopefully, works completed in faith will distract us from non-productive introspection.

  19. APX says:

    I think this is only natural. I can only speak for myself, but when I reflect back on my reversion, I am beyond lost and confused as to how I landed up where I am. I was so obstinate, and was demanding a Vatican III because I thought the Church was far too conservative and needed to be more liberal. It really is true- the more you sin, the dumber you get.

    Anyway, I was the bare minimum penitent. I looked for every loophole to avoid having to go to Confession. I finally toughened up and decided to go to confession strictly because I was too scared of going to Hell. My “firm purpose of amendment” to not commit mortal sins anymore, purely lied the intent to avoid ever having to go to Confession ever again. My reversion was all about me. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World.

    That being said, I think as time goes on, and if we’re serious about our spiritual life, and strive to perfect our interior life, we start to realize the effects and abhorrent nature of our sins, and it’s only natural to become disgusted with ourselves and realize how much we have offended God, and don’t deserve his mercy. From whence, a greater love of God develops and we begin to become more ordered to supernatural charity and not towards ourselves and pleasing our concupiscent appetites, or something along those lines.

    Nevertheless, I’m still beyond confused and unsure about the why me and not someone else.

  20. tioedong says:

    my problem in dealing with such attacks is to place them mentally at the foot of the cross.

  21. amsjj1002 says:

    Every so often past sins and behavior come back to me, though they’re confessed: mainly my wish is that I had never done them, that I had never hurt others with my deeds, I want to go back in time and cause them never to be — I cling to the Divine Mercy.

  22. fvhale says:

    “the remembrance of my past life and all my sins; it was rooted in egoism and hedonism”
    Sounds just like part of my confession last Friday. I was formed (deformed?) to live that way (I tell people I was raised by wolves in the gutter, and it is only God’s mercy that I am not dead or in prison).
    How do I work with this?
    1) Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession (frequently), and daily Mass.
    2) Practice a life of penance (prayer, fasting, almsgiving, service, obedience, humility etc.)
    3) Practice to be open to conversion, the work of the Holy Spirit; that is probably part of the reason why I can see how much my former manner of life was so far from what God wants. And this journey of conversion continues. I hope that five or ten years from now I can look back and say, “Oh, Lord, have mercy, I was still in so much darkness as I limped toward you in 2012!”

  23. Phil Steinacker says:

    Returning to the Church after 31 years in the wilderness as the little “pope” of my very tiny “church” I immediately encountered something quite unexpected.

    Every Sunday at Mass I would begin fill up with tears around the Sanctus. By the time we were into the Consecration I was a total wreck, and it was all I could do to keep my sobbing down to quiet heaving, which I hoped nobody would notice, until the end of Mass. Sometimes my distress continued 10-15 minutes afterwards.

    After 6 months of this, I approached a kindly priest in the sacristy after Sunday Mass to summarize my spiritual history, describe my continuing involuntary behavior, and express concern that I was becoming emotionally unstable.

    He told me that my experience was not uncommon among reverts, and that internally I had built up years of sadness, guilt, relief and joy which was twisted up like a ball of many colored strands of yarn. He assured me it would take some time to untangle all the different strands but that through Mass and daily prayer my tears would eventually subside.

    This in fact did occur, and those tearful moments during the Consecration have been replaced by continuing remorse, which is the word I now use to describe the blend of lingering regret I have for my past life and my growing joy at being forgiven and loved by Jesus Christ into becoming the man I was created to be (until I blew it).

    I don’t ever want to lose my remorse; it reminds me of where I once was and how I could so easily fall back into that pit again, but for the grace of my Lord and my willingness to say “YES!” daily to His Will for me (and more than once each day).

    And every once in awhile He grants me the gift of a private moment when I thank him through tears for having brought me back to Him and for the miracle of His outright healing of my addiction to porn. My gratitude for His granting me true freedom from my slavery to sin is without limit or boundary.

    Don’t ever forget to where you had fallen before He lifted you up, and never lose sight of how easily you can return. Keep saying YES! to Him as often as necessary (even many times daily), and conclude each of your prayer sessions with “Thy Will be done.” Always remember you are forgiven, and don’t hesitate to ask Him to remind you of His infinite Mercy when you are suffering on the way to finding your remorse. If nothing else, ask Him to unite your suffering with His as a way of surrendering your will to Him in this matter.

    God bless you and keep you. I will keep you in my prayers, for we are kindred spirits.

  24. VexillaRegis says:

    Being transformed by God is painful but sweet!

  25. rtjl says:

    Your feelings could be simply a case of scruples or they could be coming from the enemy who wants to beat you down or they could be coming from God who wants to purify you at a deeper level.

    Regardless of the cause, your response to the problem should be the same. Examine yourself to ensure that you have indeed truly repented of your sin, make as firm a purpose of amendment as you can and make sure that your sins have truly been confessed. Having done this, continue to trust that God has forgiven you and will himself make up for any deficiencies in your purpose of amendment. If you can, get yourself a competent spiritual director who can help give you a “reality check” and who can either assure you that your repentance, purpose of amendment and confession are satisfactory or help you correct them if they are not. Above all, remember that God is on your side.

  26. cwillia1 says:

    Sorrow for our sins is not a problem to be dealt with it is a gift from God. It should lead us to a more fruitful life, that is, a life of fasting, prayer and acts of charity. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Self-pity is another matter.

    The proper response to such feelings is to take up your cross daily. Act. Bear fruit. Realize that today you are a sinner in need of God’s mercy. You are still the prodigal son, not for what you did in the past, but for the gifts of the Father that you have squandered from the moment you climbed out of bed this morning.

  27. gracie says:

    Thank you for posting that person’s letter with your comments. No matter how the years go by the remorse comes and it’s always triggered by something out of my control: an old song on the radio, a comment someone makes or an article online suddenly puts me on a path of old, painful memories and I’m overwhelmed with regret not only for something I did but for the things I failed to do for the people in my life. All I can do is to ask God to bless those people in some way to make up for the damage my selfishness has done to them. The words “Seek first the kingdom of God and everything will be given to you” are a life raft to me at these moments because they give me hope that the wounds I’ve inflicted on others (and myself) can be healed as well as forgiven.

  28. Legisperitus says:

    A confessor once advised me to pray for the purification of memory.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    Time’s tapestry is made
    Of long and slender threads
    In an intricate laden patchwork
    Of hopes and fears and dreads

    Dear Reader,

    I was thinking of what I might say to you when the Scripture passage about the repentant woman crying at Jesus’s feet came to mind. It turned out that that was the reading at Mass, this morning, so I thought I should write something to you and when zi am finished, then I am going to talk to myself (but you may listen in). Let us recall the passage (Luke 7:36 ff):

    One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table.
    [37] And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,
    [38] and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
    [39] Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
    [40] And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?”
    [41] “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
    [42] When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?”
    [43] Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
    [44] Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
    [45] You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.
    [46] You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
    [47] Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
    [48] And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
    [49] Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”
    [50] And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    Have you ever noticed that whenever Jesus forgives, he never just leaves it at that? He almost always adds the words, “Go in peace.” Peace is intimately connected with true forgiveness. What is peace? The scholastic definition is instructive. Peace is that tranquility that flows from God’s right order. Sounds, rattling, collisions, sin all happen when something goes in a direction opposed to God’s right order. Quiet is the suppression of sound; silence is the absence of opposition. When you are forgiven in the Confessional, the priest pleads that God grant you two things: pardon and peace – not just pardon, alone, for pardon without peace is like finally having the right color of paint, but no brush to paint the portrait of your life. Why?

    Let me see if I can explain. We like to think of ourselves as great and powerful creatures. Ha! If we only knew just how microscopic we are before God. We are less than rust on a bucket, as King David says, but these lowly earthen vessels hold (I say hold, not owns) a power not its own. Do you realize that when you sin you upset not only your own life, but the entire structure of the universe, at least metaphysically. Some day, I would not be surprised if we, as a species, sin strongly enough to knock Jupiter out of its orbit! Ahem…

    God is making a wedding garment for you to wear at the Lamb’s feast, even now, this very minute. The garment is the pure white color of heaven. The treads are pulled from your life. God is sitting, quietly sewing, when he reaches for some more thread and you hand him the red thread of sin. You will never get into the banquet with a maculated garment like that. When you see what you’ve done, by the light of grace, you are horrified. You cry; you fall to your knees and repent; you kiss the dirt, wishing you could kiss even that dirt, if it were on Christ’s feet, but, alas, you cannot, for you are helpless. You have given God the red thread and insisted that he use it. You must face facts. You are doomed.

    Then, you remember the Confessional. You approach on your knees. You would crawl on your belly if you had to – oh, how I wish the soul had nerves, so that we might feel the pain of sin! You realize that you, by your measly selfishness, have upset the perfection of the entire universe and that only the Cross, that universal plunge into hope, might do something to correct it – to correct you.

    You confess. You tell God you love him, but not that one time. You wash his feet with your tears; you annoint them with the fragrance of your repentance; you dry the with the hair of planned restitution.

    Then Christ smiles and say: Ego te absolvo… And then you hear:

    Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi, merita Beatae Mariae Virginis et omnium sanctorum, quidquid boni feceris vel mali sustinueris sint tibi in remissionem peccatorum, augmentum gratiae et praemium vitae aeternae. Amen. (May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints and also whatever good you do or evil you endure merit for you the remission of your sins, the increase of grace and the reward of everlasting life. Amen).

    If you could see into heaven at that moment, you would see an amazing sight: the Lord smiles at you, picks up your red thread and begins to sew, but the garment comes out white! In the act of forgiving you your sins, God also restores your relationship to what is His order. That is peace. When Jesus walked into the upper room, the first word he said as, “Shalom,”…”Peace…I have restored things to their right order…it is finished.”

    Oh, you are left with remorse and so you should be, because God lets suffering and sin happen as a warning for all of us, as St. Paul says – but that is for now. None of that will pass though to heaven. There is no remorse in heaven. Remorse, not self-pity, is a kind of self-made purgatory (and we all have them, as Mr. Spock reminds us), a purgation, meant for this life, but when remorse inhabits your joy, one must suspect either one of two thing: the passage through the Dark Night (read St. John’s work – it might help) or a misunderstanding leading to scruples.

    St. Therese of Liseaux asks this question: why does God allow us to be forgiven of sins that we can never make right? Her answer: to bring us to better trust in God. Scruples results from a misplaced trust.

    Trust in God. Offer you remorse to God, but don’t live in it. Smile more than you think you should. See others when necessary. Realize you are not alone.

    As for you, Masked Chicken, take a dose of your own medicine. Off to work, remorse and all, I go.

    The Chicken

  30. I would like to share the prayer and the introduction to the prayer, written by my Pastor and inspired by St. Therese’ of Lisieux. It kind of hits the questioner’s concern right on the head, so to speak. Once he/she reads the prayer, they will understand.

    In the introduction Fr. says:

    “This Prayer can easily become a rote formula, devoid of life. Do not let this Prayer become mere “words through which you must plow.” Do not allow this Prayer to devolve into a “wish list” akin to someone dropping change into a machine and then making a selection and pushing a button, then retrieving the candy bar or cold drink. This Prayer should be an intimate conversation with God – your Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, invoking the help of the Holy Spirit.”

    The intro and prayer can be found here
    http://www.semperficatholic.com/page21.html

  31. Faith says:

    Past life???? Do you all believe in reincarnation?
    ;-)

  32. Faith says:

    I think back to June 3 when Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste was beatified. He preached that the past does not define who you are. He founded an Order of nuns from convicted criminals. God loves us all, especially sinners. Remember He died for sinners. He overtly promised Heaven to only one person–a convicted criminal. Take heart–He loves sinners and rejoices when they repent.

  33. Weetabix says:

    This is a wonderful comment thread examining the reader’s remorse from many viewpoints.

    Could it be that the reader knows that God has forgiven him, but he knows he’s left quite a bit of damage behind in the world as well? Could it be that the worldly damage needs to be repaired as the spiritual damage of the sin has already been repaired?

    Perhaps some acts of reparation would help – directly where possible or “paying it forward” as it were where direct reparation is not possible.

  34. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Before reading other writebacks:

    Our Lord died for our sins, pro nobis. Yet the for/pro is ambiguous. The Greek word is hyper; it is not ambiguous, and it is the word used in almost every soteriological reference in the NT. hyper does not mean in place of or instead of. It means for the sake of and on behalf of; and English allows the nuance in behalf of. Thus, the soteriological view of Penal Substitutional Atonement is not New Testamental. Protestants and Catholics can agree on this. Everyone is redeemed; not all are saved.

    Where Catholics and Protestants disagree is the application of the fruits of the redemption. For Catholics, the normative way is sacramental for Sanctifying Grace, and for Prevenient Grace, something what I would call “preaching”, hearing the Word – though the Liturgy in general can be prevenient, provided that the Liturgy is rightly done.

  35. MarkJ says:

    Dear Grieving,
    If you have not previously confessed, in kind and in number, all of your serious sins in the Confessional (for example, if you are a convert who did kind of a general first confession before becoming Catholic), I would suggest what a priest once suggested to me… write down everything you did, how many times (make a good estimate if you can’t count them accurately) and when you committed them. Then go to Confession, telling the priest what you intend to do, and then let the Lord do His work in helping you to get rid of them once and for all. Do some hard penance before and after this Confession… and then move on. It worked for me!

  36. Torpedo1 says:

    Dear Reader,
    All of the comments have been great, and I too, needed to hear this today. I know where you are spiritually/mentally right now, and I’m there myself. In fact, I suffer from Scrupulosity, though it has gotten much much better than what it used to be. All I can say is a quotation from the two priests who wrote the pamflet called “Confession For The scrupulous.” The last line is, “Remember Jesus loves you, and he will never allow you to lose your soul.” I have to think about that alot, and it helps. Try to remember that. Also, if you can do it, try to go to adoration. Our Blessed Lord always wants us to come talk to him there, and to tell him everything we need to. Talk to him, just like you’d talk to your most trusted friend, cry, laugh, do what you have to. He can heal you in a way nothing else can. When I look back at my past… Ew. I’m amazed at god’s grace. It can start anything, but it can also stop anything, stopping some sins cold and I thank God everyday at how privilaged I am to have received that gift. I know i, as well as others, may not be so lucky. I’ll keep you in my prayers and Fr. Z, thanks for posting this. I really needed to read this today.
    God bless

  37. Thom says:

    I’ve heard the advise from a good priest to ask God to purify your memory so that progress in your spiritual life is not hindered by memories of this sort. It does no good to be burdened or oppressed by our already-forgiven sins.

  38. APX says:

    @Faith
    “Past life” is not a reference to reincarnation. It’s often stated at the end of confessing sins, “for these and all the sins of my past life” which refers to a conversion.

  39. Joseph-Mary says:

    If the past sins have been forgiven in confession, to have the remorse continue to distress a soul is TEMPTATION! The enemy loves to pester us with our past indiscretions. I know. And I know there are sometimes scars left and these also are healed in confession.

    It was interesting that this topic should come up because just yesterday I recalled something I have never confessed and will bring it to the sacrament next time. But after confessed, I was told by a holy priest the first time I made a general confession to never bring them up again.

  40. MrsBates says:

    I always tell MrBates this when he feels guilt over his past and current sins; it’s a quote from Mother Angelica; “hardened sinners fall in the mud and roll in it, repentant sinners lament that they are in the mud but Saints fall in, get up, brush themselves off and keep on walking.” Keep walking towards Christ. He loves you and wants nothing more than to have you with Him for all eternity. Also pray to St. Augustine. He knows what you’re going through. “Late have I Loved you, O Divine Love!”

  41. Bea says:

    Your words are a great solace, Father.

    Read them to my husband who suffers much from this too.