"Whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Mt 12:32
Similar words to these are also mentioned in Luke 12:10 and Mark 3: 28-30.
A while back I discussed the unforgivable sin "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" on this blog. I basically stated that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was final inpenitence and the refusal to accept God's forgiveness. I am reading a book by John Paul II on the Holy Spirit and realized that my definition for this sin, while on the right track, is a bit too simplistic. Many people are concerned about this sin and I'd like to share Pope John Paul's words on this subject:
"Why is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit unforgivable? How should this blasphemy be understood? St. Thomas Aquinas replies that it is a sin that is "unforgivable by it's very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sins takes place."
"According to such an exegesis, blasphemy does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the Cross. If man rejects the 'convincing concerning sin' which comes from the Holy Spirit and has the power to save, he also rejects the 'coming' of the Councelor - that
'coming' which was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery, in union with the redemptive power of Christ's Blood: the Blood which purifies the conscience from dead works."
"We know that the result of such a purification is the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, whoever rejects the Spirit and the Blood remains in "dead works," in sin. And the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists precisely in the radical refusal to accept this forgiveness, of which he is the intimate giver and which presupposes the genuine conversion which he brings about in the conscience. If Jesus says that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven in this world or in the next, it is because this "non-forgiveness" is linked, as to its cause, to "non-repentance," in other words to the radical refusal to be converted."
A few sentences later, Pope John Paul goes on to say:
" Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, then, is the sin committed by the person who claims to have a right to persist in evil - in any sin at all- and who thus rejects Redemption. One closes oneself up in sin, thus making impossible one's conversion, and consequently the remission of sins, which one considers not essential or not important for one's life. This is a state of spiritual ruin, because blasphemy of the Holy Spirit does not allow one to escape from one's self-imposed imprisonment and open oneself to the divine sources of the purification of consciences and of the remission of sins. The action of the Spirit of truth works towards the salvific "convincing concerning sin," encounters in a person in this condition an interior resistance, as it were an impenetrability of conscience, a state of mind which could be described as fixed by reason of a free choice."
This book, On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World, is based on John Paul II's encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem. With Pentecost coming up, I was looking for a good book about the Holy Spirit to read and this one is excellent! John Paul's words above warn us about not being open to the workings of the Holy Spirit and how the continuous refusal of His grace leads to a hardening of the heart that can become impenetrable at some point if we continue to choose to refuse his entrance. I have watched this happen to people. An area where you can particularly see this hardening of the heart occur these days is in the area of abortion. I'm not talking about women who have had abortions and have been forgiven. I'm talking about those who defend abortion until their dying breath and when you try to help them see it from a different point of view it feels as if you are coming against a stone wall...which is exactly what is happening in this case. You are coming against the stone wall of a hardened heart. Here is an example of this hardening - A Glimpse of Hell. The abortionist in this story removed the post because people were so horrified by it, but it showed an extreme hardness of heart. One can only pray that her heart softens. This site is still up but the writer seems to have toned down her language quite a bit. When I read the post that she removed all I could think of was Hitler. After all, abortion IS genocide. It's the systematic destruction of the innocent. One can only pray that the Holy Spirit's light gets through to those whose hearts are hardened to this degree before it is too late.