The Story of a Soul continues, as St. Therese suffers a severe attack of scruples.
“Scruples” in this connection is a serious mental/spiritual condition related to obsessive/compulsive disorder, although it usually strikes people who don’t suffer from normal OCD and often it’s only temporary — a matter of a day or a month — though it does sometimes last many long years.
The person with scruples tends to fear compulsively that everything he does is a sin, or that everything will be a sin unless he does X. Others may become unsure than any prayer “counts” unless it is done “properly”, and are never satisfied that they have prayed properly. Unfortunately, many people who come down with some form of scruples are unaware that this is a recognized condition; and even many pastors don’t know that this is a common problem with common methods used to deal with it. On the Internet, you run into people suffering from scruples pretty commonly — which explains a lot, once you figure it out. You want to be gentle with such people.