Examination of conscience for individuals who are scrupulous is the same with those who are not. The most common basis for this practice is the ten commandments. Catholics would contemplate their possible committed sins based on these biblical principles. There are available resources online or in Parish listing the 10 commandments with guide questions helping the faithful to reflect and identify their sins. In addition, to eliminate doubts which the scrupulous would normally feel, it is important to find a simple copy of this guide.
For scrupulous, confession is scary. We think we highly need it but, at the same time, we want to avoid it. Whenever I was about to step into the confession box, I would always have this weird feeling that I would not be forgiven. Preparing for the Sacrament was causing so much stress.
Examination of conscience is useful when we are preparing for confession. It basically opens our thoughts for the sins we might have committed. We can perform it anytime, anywhere. But for scrupulous, it could be tedious and could cause overthinking.
Below are the tips on how to do an examination of conscience for scrupulous.
Keep it simple
Examination of conscience is just simple. But for scrupulous, we tend to overdo it. To make it easy, find a copy of a guide that is straightforward and avoid those that are overwhelmingly detailed and long for it would trigger the OCD which discourages us to make a confession. Also, do not jump from one guide to another. Stick to one so that the chance of being confused will be minimized.
Here is an example of a simple guide and below is an Examination of Conscience in video.
Focus on your new sins
While reflecting on the guide questions, it is possible that the sins already confessed will be brought up again. If so, disregard them. The only sins that should be focused on are the new sins after the confession unless one forgot to confess a mortal sin from the past which should be part of sins to be confessed.
Separate venial from mortal sins
For scrupulous, every sin tends to be mortal thus, requires to be brought to the confessional. Although it is good to confess even venial sins, mixing them up with mortal sins would just make your examination cluttered. If in doubt if it is a mortal sin or not, consider it as not. Scrupulosity is a doubting disease and is great in convincing that one committed a mortal sin. And once you start doubting even in just one sin as a mortal, all else will be mortal.
Create your own list
This is different from listing down your sins for confession. That is not recommended.
This means creating a list based on your sins from the past and review if you are guilty of them now. Having this will allow you to simplify the examination of conscience for this will be your guide on the sins that are still applicable now. You can easily identify the sins and avoid being overwhelmed because you already have a list.
Examination of conscience is a practice we Catholics perform to make a good confession. For others, it is plain and simple but for scrupulous, it could be tough. Nevertheless, depending on the guide and right technique, surely scrupulous could perform it well allowing them to confess their sins without doubts.
For more resources for scrupulosity, click here.
St. Dymphna, pray for us.