Blaspheming Against the Holy Spirit: The Unforgivable Sin

As Catholics we know that there is one sin that is named as the ‘Unforgivable Sin,’ and it is the sin against the Holy Spirit, which is revealed to us as a part of Divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture. In Mark 3:29 Jesus says, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.”

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the “Unforgivable Sin,” the eternal sin that will never be forgiven by God because it involves the deliberate and free will decision to reject God’s love, mercy, and the graces that He desires to grant to us. It is when an individual persistently denies the power of the workings of the Holy Spirit. It is understood as Catholics that when we have a contrite heart and receive absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation—confessing any mortal or venial sins to a Catholic priest—we are forgiven by Christ, Who is the primary minister of the Sacrament.

When we refuse to accept the forgiveness of the Holy Spirit it is with full knowledge and by no means an accident, then we do not believe that which God has revealed to us in Sacred Scripture. Christ instituted the Sacrament of Confession, which we read in John 20:21-23:

He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

And also in Matthew 18:18, “Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.”

We are called to be like Peter after he denied knowing Christ three times, and turn our hearts and minds back to Him in repentance. Judas fell into hopelessness and despair, and could not bring himself to accept the love and mercy of God waiting for him if he had but only seeked forgiveness. Jesus says in Matthew 26:24, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him, if that man had not been born.”

It is of serious importance that we understand the meaning of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and how we can avoid committing the unpardonable sin. We do not want to cling to our sin, and resist the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

The way we can avoid the sin is by the following:

  1. Deepening our relationship with the Holy Spirit by delving into Sacred Scripture and allowing the Word to flow into our soul. We should not read the Bible as if we are reading a novel, but reflect and meditate as we choose verses to enable God to speak to us in the silence of our own hearts.
  2. Choosing to accept the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He guides us on our spiritual journey towards eternal life with God in heaven. We have been given free will to either accept or reject His Divine assistance, that which will always lead us to follow His holy Will.
  3. Guarding our hearts and our minds from words or actions that may offend the Holy Spirit. We want to strive to avoid having any contempt or irreverence towards the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
  4. Receiving the Sacrament of Confession at least once a month. According to the Code of Canon Law, as Catholics once we reach the age of reason, we are called to receive the Sacrament at least once a year to confess grave sins. (989) But for those of us who attend Daily Mass and/or Sunday Mass each week and want to receive Holy Communion, we need to confess our sins whenever we become conscious of committing a mortal sin. (CCC 1385). St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

By remaining in a state of grace we keep close to God and attain more of an awareness of the evil of sin, and strive towards not offending Him. The gifts of the Holy Spirit flourish within us, and the fruits flow forth that help to build up the Mystical Body of Christ.

Let us pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who commit the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit that they have a conversion of heart, and come to believe in the love, mercy, and graces that God has to offer them if they only believe in the power of God’s forgiveness.

Image by jorisvo on Shutterstock

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Christina M. Sorrentino resides in Staten Island, New York, and is a freelance writer, theology teacher, and author of the books Belonging to Christ and Called to Love - A Listening Heart. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Ignitum Today and has contributed to various publications including Word on Fire, Radiant Magazine, and Homiletic & Pastoral Review. She has also appeared on Sacred Heart Radio, and has been featured in the National Catholic Register's "Best in Catholic Blogging". Christina blogs at Called to Love - A Listening Heart and can be followed on Twitter @cmsorrps4610.

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