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August wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but it's gotten much better in the past couple of years. Instead of incessant worrying, thinking, and acting strange, I've focused on school.

Nevertheless, now that school's out and I'm working, I can't stop thinking of really bad thoughts.
I don't mean too. It's just like they pop into my head. I try and try to stop thinking of them,
but I can't help it. I feel really bad and don't know what to do. I feel like I'm going to hell and have committed bad sins because it's said in the Bible that thinking of a sin is like doing it.

[ e.g. because if the man has lust in his heart he has committed adultery. (Matthew 5:28)]

That said, I feel really terrible, and need some help. I'm afraid to go to a priest because then my parents will worry and think I'm nuts.

If you can, please help me.

Thank you very much. I'm sorry.

August

  { I have OCD, am getting some really bad thoughts and I am afraid to see a priest. }

Eric replied:

Hi, August —

Why would your parents think you were nuts? Tell them you've discovered the value of the sacrament of Confession, and want to go. Everyone commits sins and everyone can benefit from the sacrament of Confession. You don't have to make a big deal out of it like you're seeing a therapist or something.

There is a saying, you can't help it when birds fly over your head but you can stop them from building a nest. What you describe is totally normal. Perhaps you struggle with it a bit more than others, it's hard to say from what you describe, but everyone is beset by temptation and temptation is persistent for everyone.

The key is to reject temptation when you become aware of what's happening and persevere in doing so. Sin requires consent. Mortal sin — sin that sends you to hell if you don't repent of it — requires full and deliberate consent, freely chosen. If you're obsessed with something, you aren't choosing it freely. If you haven't had a chance to think about it and make a conscious choice, you're not doing it deliberately. Hence, no mortal sin. So don't worry about those flies buzzing around your head. Do what you can, persevere, and don't worry — relax.

Eric

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