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Q. My intrusive thoughts are most painful when it comes to the eucharistic fast. I can get myself all tied up in knots trying to discern if I have truly fasted or if I have broken the fast, even accidently. This is tormenting me to the point of discouragement.

A. It is not necessary for you to fast before you receive the Eucharist if the result of this pious practice is to inflict upon you torment and anxiety. You are free not to incorporate this pious practice into your spiritual practice. You have the right to dispense yourself. If you are unable to dispense yourself from the fast, consider this answer your official dispensation. I fully understand what you are saying, you have not withheld information from me that would make this answer invalid, and I fully intend to dispense you from the obligation without reservations.

Q. My oldest daughter is preparing for the sacrament of reconciliation, and I desire to take an active role in helping her prepare. I am afraid that my scrupulosity might hinder my usefulness and inflict upon her the burden that I carry. Any advice on how I can be part of her important preparation?

A. First, scrupulosity is not contagious. You cannot pass on your scrupulosity like a virus. Second, the best advice is to follow the materials for preparation that she has been provided and not to deviate from them. The materials have been professionally prepared and are intended for a young conscience. Trust what you have been provided with. Resist the urge to go into further detail. Just share with your daughter how excited you are that she is at this step in her spiritual journey. That will be more than enough guidance and encouragement for an eight-year-old.

Published inSA Mailbox