Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hardened Hearts and Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

"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.

15 comments:

  1. thankyou for this Mary, I have spent much time worrying about this subject from an early age!!

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  2. I believe it was C S Lewis who said the gates of hell are locked from the inside.

    It is those who are there who lock themselves in self-inflicted exile by refusing to accept their sins and repent; and to love God back, as He has invited them to.

    Sadly, what is worse is that in this world there are many who refuse God and His love; yet, they go further by encouraging others to follow their example. Many such people have influence and are charismatic and likeable people; so they can easily lead others to accept and follow their way.

    The devil's work has never been easier.

    God bless you Mary for this post.

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  3. Mary,
    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing Bl. JPII's words on this sin. I think this sin is very misunderstood; as you say it takes an almost completely hardened heart to commit this sin. While I don't believe this is the case for most, it is for many. This is why it is important to pray and offer penance for sinners. I often include in my prayers for petition that one soul who may be near death and in danger of hell.
    Thanks for this insightful and clarifying post.
    God bless.

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  4. Mary, a good and timely post.

    "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."

    This is part of the reason there are no second chances at heaven after death and why hell is eternal.

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  5. Ros,
    Me too :) And it was all because when I was younger an awful thought about the Holy Spirit popped into my head, if you can believe that! Lol! I didn't know any better at the time; I was very naive when it came to spiritual matters. I can laugh about it now but at the time I was sure I was damned for all eternity. The same thing happened to Billy Graham when he was a teenager and he, too, thought all was lost. I guess it's quite a common worry!

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  6. Victor,
    Well said! Yes, it is sad that so many people who could be great role models (especially to the young) instead choose to drag people down with them. The devil is having a field day picking off souls left and right these days. If it were not for God's grace things would be even worse than they are now.

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  7. Karin,
    No, I don't believe it is the case for most either but it happens and how it must grieve God who wants everyone with Him in heaven!

    I do the same as you regarding souls who may be near death and in danger of losing their souls. Prayer and penance is powerful!

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  8. This is getting way intense, Mary! You were reading On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World at the same time as me, plus you sing Praise music, and have the same favorite saints (except for St. Padre Pio, but that is probably just temporary).
    I thought the same thing too, we only have these 9 days between Ascension and Pentecost. Time to learn as much as possible about the Holy Spirit and pray for great outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    "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."

    That quote is somewhat scary to me as seems to put an obligation on me to make sure I am nudging people claiming a right to stay in "any sin at all" that are not yet in a hardened heart state towards the same truth the Holy Spirit is leading them too.

    I do agree, and believe the Holy Spirit does give us this convincing regarding sin, so the trust needs to be there on my part that my voice or word or example is an echo of what the person is already being taught by the Holy Spirit.

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  9. Colleen,
    That is too funny! I noticed we have quite a few things in common but what a coincidence to be reading the same book at the same time :) Not that I believe all that much in coincidence - about half the time I consider them God-incidences (lol)!

    Yes, the quote you mentioned above is worrisome and, as you say, there needs to be trust on our part. When I come across someone whose heart is very hard I always ask for the Holy Spirit's wisdom and light regarding the person. If I sense that "brick wall feeling" I always back off and just pray for the person. Prayer and example are powerful if we can't use words. Thanks for commenting!

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  10. The writer David Justice delightfully explores this enigmatic concept in his book Murphy on the Mount. A private investigator just happens to hear about this concept of the "Unpardonable Sin" and the "Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit". He deals with growing angst over the issue as he also has to solve a mystery. Here's my review of the book:
    Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit - The Unpardonable Sin

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  11. Keith,
    Thank you for the link!


    Mary

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  12. The Holy Spirit is a beautiful spirit from God. The Holy Ghost is so holy full of light (He is the Spirit of Grace, Truth and Redemption). The Spirit of Grace call sinners to repentance to recieve God`s precious forgiveness of Christ. God loves us very much we deserve to be called his children of light and truth in Jesus`s Sacred Heart of mercy.

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  13. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!
    mawaddainternationalaid

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  14. Hi,
    So a few things in my life may have happened, i cant remember the exact story but i will say it the best i can remember, god knows i wanna say the truth in this matter. i never knew Gods word or the spirits gifts, I have a memory that im sitting on the couch flipping the channels and came across a woman speaking in tongues and said that woman is possessed.

    The second memory is im driving down the road, its either before or right after i came to christ, im picking my kids up at there christian school, a few years before that they where doing halloween and kids were dressing like devils and other stuff, i dont know if it was before or after me coming to christ but i said they were devil worshipers. im not sure of the exact stuff that happened.

    The third one is i called God a evil spirit.

    im just ashamed, and fearful of hell fire. I know god is real and Jesus lives. he lives like we breathe. im just feeling down and stressed. I didnt know these things. am i lost before im saved

    So now another thing came to me. Its a memory of me saying i called god a evil spirit.

    All these things came or happened before i knew about God The true living God and the Son Jesus. didnt the bible call satan the god of this world? Im just hoping and praying im not condemned for saying those things, i think i said them into the reference to this world and the things that happen and maybe even about hell, im just hoping and praying for a response .

    Anymore people wanna chime in and offer anything?

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  15. There was the First Aion Age when Jesus was walking the Earth and arguing with the Pharisees, which corresponds to when Jesus said “This age” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)

    There was the Second Aion Age when Jesus was dead in the tomb, which corresponds to when Jesus said “the age to come” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)

    There is a the Third Aion Age when Jesus was resurrected alive again and also is the Age when Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is forgiven and is also the age that we are in now. This age goes on for eternity.

    Thus ALL GO TO HEAVEN and nothing changed about grace.
    Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the term word for unbelief.
    ALL GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE unbelief is forgiven.

    A Time in the Life of Jesus is an Age because Jesus is God and is that important.

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

    Matthew 12:32 is when Jesus canceled the Old Code of the law found in Matthew 12:31.

    “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31)

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

    In the Third age blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven along with all sins.

    Jesus died for You You will go to heaven.

    There was the First Aion Age when Jesus was walking the Earth and arguing with the Pharisees, which corresponds to when Jesus said “This age” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)
    There was the Second Aion Age when Jesus was dead in the tomb, which corresponds to when Jesus said “the age to come” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)
    There is a the Third Aion Age when Jesus was resurrected alive again and also is the Age when Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is forgiven and is also the age that we are in now. This age goes on for eternity.

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