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Conscientious Charles wrote:

Hi, guys —

Lately, I've been a little scrupulous and I'm unsure if I was in a state of grace.

Nevertheless, I decided to receive Communion because I was scared of being judged by others at Mass receiving Communion if I didn't go along with them.

  • Did I commit a mortal sin?

Charles

  { If I was unsure if I was in a state of grace, should I have received Communion for these reasons? }

Eric replied:

Charles,

I don't think you committed a mortal sin, because you recognized that you are scrupulous and were not certain you committed a mortal sin.

Your motivations of fear for being judged are problematic but, given you were not conscious of being in mortal sin with certainty, I don't think they constitute mortal sin.

The story would be different if you were not scrupulous. In that situation, it's better to go to Confession first and ask questions later.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi Charles,

I just wanted to add to Eric's answer.

You said:
Nevertheless, I decided to receive Communion because I was scared of being judged by others at Mass receiving Communion if I didn't go along with them.

  • Did I commit a mortal sin?

As I replied in another answer:

If someone asks you why you didn't receive Communion, just tell them that you were not properly disposed to receive that Sunday; the rest is none of their business.

If they ask what being properly disposed means, just tell them to have your local priest explain it to them.

Also remember a mortal sin requires:

  1. knowledge of what you are doing
  2. knowledge that it is grievously wrong, and
  3. giving full consent of the will to the sin.

or for short, for a sin to be mortal you must:

  • really will it
  • know it's wrong, and
  • it must be a serious matter (See the Ten Commandments section of the CCC.)

If one of these criteria is missing, it is not a mortal sin.

If you are having problems discerning whether it is or isn't a mortal sin, get some counsel from your Confessor when you go to Confession.

Also, the sacraments bind us to God but God is not bound to the sacraments. For this reason, when I come across times where I am not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, after I say my Spiritual Communion (below), I ask that He provide me with the needed graces for the coming week, that I would have received sacramentally, spiritually, until I can get to Confession.

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love you above all things, (optional: with all my mind, with all my heart, and with all my soul). I love you because you are infinitely good and worthy of all my love.

Since I cannot receive You now sacramentally, at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to You and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Come Lord Jesus and glorify Yourself through my weak, broken body.

Amen.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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