Over the years some of those who have had the misfortune of being my pastoral caregivers have suggested that I might be afflicted with scrupulosity. I've never really accepted the diagnosis; in any case they can't be all bad, the sort of things that get pointed out, because I learn things from them.
For example, at times I have had a hard time getting myself to genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament. At such moments it seemed like it could be hypocritical for such a person, so far from submission to God in mind and so far from a pure intention of pleasing God in the heart, to make such a strong, public gesture of adoration. But in trying to reflect upon and pray through my hesitation I came to realize that a gesture like a genuflection to the Blessed Sacrament is less a proclamation, 'this is the sort of person that I am,' than a confession, 'this is the sort of person I would like to become.'
Perhaps a spoken prayer like the Act of Contrition is an easier starting point to elaborate the same point. I couldn't even guess how many times I have said one version or another of this prayer since my first one at my first confession, a week and two hours after my baptism. Nevertheless, sometimes I have had trouble getting myself to say it. How could I dare to speak such a prayer, proclaiming myself genuinely contrite when I knew all too well that I wasn't? Would it not be at best a lie and at worst a sin against the commandment, taking God's name in vain?
But again, trying to reflect upon and pray through this hesitation, I came to understand better the nature of the prayer. An Act of Contrition is not a proclamation, saying 'I am this sort of person,' but a confession that God has put into my heart a desire to be the sort of person who might be able to say such a prayer honestly, and thus, precisely as a prayer, it contains the supplication that God would help me surrender to the grace of becoming one.