The following words of Our Lord show how grievous are sins against the Holy Ghost: "Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven."
The sins against the Holy Ghost are commonly said to be six in number: despair, presumption, impenitence, obstinacy, resisting truth, and envy of another's spiritual welfare.
Some of these are less difficult of pardon than others. Final impenitence is absolutely unpardonable. Those, too, who from deliberate malice refuse to recognize the work of God, as the Pharisees did when they saw the miracles of Our Lord and attributed them to Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils are unpardonable.
Those who reject deliberately the means of salvation are also rarely pardoned.
The difficulty in obtaining pardon for these sins is clearly caused by the sinner himself, who rejects God's grace.
Deliberate and habitual sins, sins against the light of truth, offend God more gravely than sins due to weakness and ignorance.
The Great Sin Against the Holy Ghost and its Punishment
The fall of Constantinople and its destruction is a striking example of the awful punishment meted out by God to those who sin against the Holy Spirit.
The Greeks, led by their Patriarchs Photius and Cerularius, denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost and, after apparently renouncing their error, fell back into the same sin. They were threatened by Pope Nicholas V with God's anger if they did not repent. This they obstinately refused to do.
Three years later, in 1453, Mahomet II, at the head of a formidable Moslem army, surrounded the city and after fierce fighting defeated the Greeks and captured Constantinople--this, on the very feast of the Holy Ghost. Fearful massacres, pillage and fires lasted three whole days, reducing the inhabitants to an awful plight. Mahomet, on the fourth day, entered the city, took possession of the Imperial Palace and turned the cathedral into a mosque. Constantinople has since then lain under the yoke of the Turks for over 500 years.
What about Ourselves? Do we offend the Holy Ghost? Do we sin against the Holy Ghost?
Let us hope that we never sin as gravely as those who do not deserve pardon, but perhaps for want of thought we offend our Divine Guest by lesser sins.
The Holy Ghost loves us with an infinitely tender and divine love. He loves us so dearly that He actually comes and remains in our souls. We are, therefore, bound to return this Divine love.
Do we do so, or, like so many faithless ones, do we forget Him, abandon Him and pay no heed to Him?
Or worse still, do we dare offend Him to His very face? If so, we must earnestly try to correct these faults.
Here are some useful suggestions:
A pagan philosopher gave this wise advice to a disciple who asked him how best he could correct his faults: "Think," answered Seneca, "that you are in the company of a good man who sees what you are doing and hears what you say. Do nothing that you would not do in his presence." Following this counsel, the disciple soon corrected his faults.
St. Bernard gave similar advice to his monks, "Do nothing," he said to them, "that you would not do if I were present."
No thief, however daring he may be, will steal if he sees a policeman looking at him.
If then we realize that the Holy Ghost Himself is really and truly with us and sees all we do, it will be a powerful incentive to avoid offending Him.
Source: Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, OP, "The Holy Ghost Our Greatest Friend: He Who Loves Us Best"
Sins Against the Holy Spirit
by John Chrysostomos
Many things have ye spoken against me. These things I forgive you on your repentance, and exact no penalty of you; but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven, no, not to those who repent. And how can this be right? For even this was forgiven upon repentance. Many at least of those who said these words believed afterward, and all was forgiven them.
More on the Sins Against the Holy Spirit
In reflecting at length why certain sins against holy spirit are unforgiveable, several things have come to mind regarding each one of the 6 sins: despair, presumption, impenitence, obstinacy, resisting truth, and envy of another's spiritual welfare. They all have one thing in common: We judge ourselves, taking the supreme authority from God. When we commit one of these grievous sins, we refuse God's love and forgiveness. These sins are all made by our own choosing to commit them. They are all intentional.
Questions and Answers on the Holy Spirit
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