If that doesn't work the next step often seems to be throwing confusion on attempts to examine the conscience. Did I do/say/will that?
Did I really, or is it just the product of an over-scrupulous conscience?
Am I trying to get myself off the hook? So, if I witnessed someone else do/say those things, would I believe it was wrongdoing or not? Surely it should be the same for me?
Is it sin that is so complicated, or is it me?
The only way to find out is to bring such issues to Confession; this is where a priest acting in the person of Christ, can bring light, forgiveness and healing.
I have recently been reading and re-reading ' The Warfare of the Soul' by Rev. Shirley Hughson, published I think, in 1909.So, this publication is over one hundred years old, yet as fresh as a daisy.
It feels a bit like holding up a mirror to the inner life, the spiritual life.
On Confession, and the temptation to almost despair of ever making progress in the spiritual life, Rev. Hughson has this to say:
"I do not know whether I have done this or not.I know not if my life is changed for the better,or if I am living more as Christ would have me live than I did a year ago.Moreover, I am not concerned to give you, God's enemy and mine, any answer to these questions. I have no account to render to you. But one thing I know; when I sin I can come back to Him. I kneel at His feet, I put my hands in His, I look up into those eyes brimming with love, and I say, 'Dear Lord, here is my poor heart all full of sin again; I lay it at Thy feet. Wash it in Thy Precious Blood, and make me strong to serve Thee better. I am sorry and I purpose to amend, but I am weak. Be Thou my strength; fight Thou against them that fight against me, and let me be the victor in the end.'
I speak to Him thus, and leave it all with Him. I sin again, and again I come and kneel at His feet;and though I have come daily to Him with the same burden, His embrace is never less tender, His words not less sweet, His eyes are ever full of the same old love.
Am I amending my life? I know not-He knows. Is my soul a saintlier thing than it was a year ago? I know not-He knows. All I know is that I love Him, and I want to love Him more; and that when I think on Him my heart is at peace,"