What happens when the desire for spiritual perfection spirals into an unhealthy obsession?

In a recent episode of "The Catholic Talk Show," Ryan Scheel, Ryan Dellacrosse and Father Rich Pagano grapple with the phenomenon known as 'scrupulosity,' a religious form of OCD that manifests as an obsessive concern with one's sins.

They investigate how the drive for perfection can often lead to spiritual obsession. They also draw upon the teachings and experiences of various saints who struggled with scrupulosity.

"Scrupulosity is an overemphasis and almost obsessive attachment to fear of sinning," Scheel explains.

It takes a rightful awareness of our wrongdoings and transforms it into a crippling fear, one that doubts the capacity of God's mercy.

The guys note how striving for perfection can turn into a prideful endeavor, causing us to misjudge ourselves and our actions.

"You have a pride where you think that you can earn God's love and you're not earning it enough, and He's already given you His love." Dellacrosse reflects.

This propensity to self-judge can harshly fuel the flames of scrupulosity.

Scheel also drew parallels to saints who grappled with scrupulosity, like Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Maximilian Kolbe. They were zealous in their pursuit of holiness and, at times, fell into scrupulosity.

"I can only imagine being a saint, the kind of conversions that some of them had where they're diving into it so voraciously that scrupulosity I think is a natural outcome from that," Sheel says.

However, in the midst of their struggle, these saints found solace in the infinite mercy and forgiveness of God.

It's in that same mercy that we find a possible antidote to scrupulosity: trust.

As Scheel points out, "Trust is an antidote to scrupulosity. If you think you're always sinning and you're always going to end up doing something that takes you to hell, you don't trust in God's mercy."

Trust, understanding, and focusing on God's forgiveness can help redirect our spiritual gaze away from obsessive self-judgment and toward Christ's boundless mercy.

Dellacrosse reminds us of the power of sacraments and the redemption they offer, emphasizing the mercy inherent in them.

"Think about the mercy of God in that Sacrament," Dellacrosse emphasizes. "By His complete and utter gift of Himself--pure Mercy--He is taking you for Himself."

If you’re striving for perfection or obsessing over every misstep, turn your gaze towards Christ's infinite mercy and let His forgiveness break the grips of self-judgment!

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Remember to trust in His mercy!

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