A Willingness to Repent

Being a scrupulous individual I noticed that we sometimes beat ourselves up because we hold ourselves to a high standard.  This is related to the following scripture passage: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I assume that most scrupulous people interpret this passage as the necessity of reaching a state of ‘sinless perfection.’  Many scrupulous individuals would think that this is the case.  But in fact, it is not.  We are called to be perfect in love.  When we sin, we must always be willing to repent.  This does not mean that we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation every time we commit a venial sin.  And it certainly does not mean that we stay in our room all day in order to avoid interactions with family and friends that could remotely lead to the commission of sin.  But it does mean that we must make a reasonable effort to avoid occasions of sin (ie. not occasions of anxiety).  And when we commit sin we must repent for it with true sorrow (ie. not daily Confession).

In summary, we must not scrupulously avoid all occasions of anxiety, but rather walk through life with trust and confidence in God.  When we fail, we repent because of willingness to do so.  This idea of a willingness to repent is seen in the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila.

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