Based on where the person is coming
from, obsession can be a very good
or very bad thing.
We have many who visit our site,
who have developed a strong interest
teachings and are being lead by the
Holy Spirit to become a Catholic.
Although not quite in the obsession
category it is a calling from the
Similarly, obsession, can be a very
We have holy angels as helpers in
our lives, but we also have invisible,
but REAL demons that wish to bring
us down into Hell. Developing bad
behaviors can lead to habitual vices
that can be very hard to break.
The only way to:
discern the spirits
combat the bad habitual vices
and develop a balanced, lifestyle
is by a regular prayer and sacramental
life. My personal preference is praying
Hope this helps,
It's important to note that obsession
can be a component of mental illness
for which we are not culpable. In
this situation, to think of it as
a sin is very destructive, because
it amplifies the mental illness;
you think obsession is a sin, so
you try to avoid it, but you end
up getting obsessed with avoiding
it, and so become more obsessed with
avoiding it, and feeling more and
more bad about yourself, collapsing
in a heap of self-reproach. This
is not helpful! The condition of
scrupulosity is a good example of
A spiritual director or at least
a habitual confessor is important
for sorting out what is sinful and
what is not when you suffer from
this kind of condition.
It's also important to know what
kind of obsession we're talking about.
Do you mean "obsession" as
in a hobby that consumes large
amounts of time?
Do you mean "obsession" in
the sense of being creepily preoccupied
with the actions of a person you
Do you mean "obsession" in
the sense of habitual temptations
or weaknesses to sin?
Do you mean washing your hands
So there are very different kinds
Hi, Eric —
I don't mean deviant behavior. When
I say obsessive I hypothetical mean:
"I have a strong desire to
obtain a Bible and the thought
of obtaining one consumes my life."
That's what I meant.
Anything which consumes our lives,
other than God, is problematic. The
desire to obtain a Bible is a good
thing but if it keeps you from worshiping
God because it's a distraction, then
it's not healthy. In some extremes,
even the desire for good thing, can
border on idolatry.
By the same token, one can become
obsessive about worrying about sin.
This is called scrupulosity. While
being concerned with ridding ourselves
with sin is a good thing, it can
take our eyes off Jesus Christ who
is the author and perfecter of our
faith. We are called to place our
trust in Christ, knowing that He
will do the work in us. Yes, we are
to resist the devil and he will flee
but it is never in our own strength.
So scrupulosity is rooted in a belief
that we can fight sin on our own
and that is not the case. "While
we were dead in our transgressions,
Christ saved", Paul wrote to
the Ephesians 2:5. We were powerless
over sin until Jesus Christ came
into our lives and we remain powerless
over sin, should we begin to think
we can defeat sin in our own strength.
Just a quick word on this.
The general principle is that any
bad thought or action is sin only
when the thought is deliberate and
there is full freedom of choice on
the part of the person. If the obsession
is not deliberately chosen, and if
it occurs independent of the person's
free choice, then there would be
no guilt of sin.
Overcoming this habit of obsession
is an important resolution to make,
but that too would be dependent on
how truly free and open to grace
you are in the process of overcoming.
As with most bad habits and obsessions,
continual perseverance is the key.
The desire to obtain things can be
sinful. That's what coveting in the
tenth commandment is all about. If
your neighbor has a Porsche and you're
obsessed with obtaining one yourself,
that could be the sin of covetousness
Wanting to obtain salutary things
is different. If you were obsessed
with obtaining a bible for the sake
of studying God's Word (let's assume
we're not talking about an original
Gutenberg bible desired for bragging
rights), that's wholesome. If you
desired study books to understand
God's Word, that's good too. If,
on the other hand, you impoverished
your family in obtaining thousands
of dollars of bibles, commentaries,
and so forth, or neglected your obligations
to your family in your study, that
would be a problem. Those are not
sins intrinsic to obsession; they
are sins in and of themselves.
We should all be obsessed about being
saints and obsessed about sanctity
(although it is possible to pursue
sanctity in a disordered, unbalanced
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