THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT – DAY 7
BLASPHEMIES AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” — Mark 3:28-29
Charismatic gifts are very interesting; hence, many Christians long and shop for them. However, they seem to be scarce or we are experiencing a sharp decline! Why? The charism of discernment of spirits reveals the prevalence of blasphemies against the Holy Spirit as a renewed and current sign of our times. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not just offending the Holy Spirit in words but ignorantly and/or deliberately refusing to recognise the power, presence and essence of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is about hardness of heart and insensitivity to the operations of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. The referenced biblical verse seems to contradict the teachings of the Church that says, “There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1864). However, there is no contradiction but we need to be honest and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to endow us with His gifts and renew the previous charisms in us. A key way to do this, is to cleanse ourselves of blasphemous actions against the Holy Spirit. More so, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, further identifies some traditional ways of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit: (1) Despair; (2) Presumption; (3) Impenitence or a firm determination not to repent; (4) Obstinacy; (5) Resisting divine truth known to be such; and (6) Envy of another’s spiritual welfare. Some practical examples of blasphemies against the Holy Spirit could be drawn from our various experiences in the Spiritual life. For instance, after the sacrament of confession, we sometimes manifest the blasphemies against the Holy Spirit. You have gone for confession and confessed sins and heinous crimes and have received absolution but you later begin to interpret challenges in life such as "unanswered prayers," unemployment, difficulty in getting a marriage partner and suffering generally as the effects of God punishing you because of the past sin (s) that you had confessed. Here is a serious undermining of the power of the Holy Spirit to forgiving sins. Note, it is not enough to confess sins and think it is all over. Some sins in us might create inner anxieties and deep seated worries that cannot be sufficiently aired out at the confessional. This is where psycho-spiritual therapy and counselling, and spiritual direction come into play. Through them we can exhume our inner fears, anxieties, hopelessness, meaninglessness and frustration. Lack of such awareness, might lead one back to "the muds" to start questioning, doubting and refusing the power of the Holy Spirit. The point is this: God cannot play our roles in the history of our salvation. There is also division of labour in our relationship with God. Spirit of God, please come through your fire and purify us of all blasphemous thoughts, feelings and actions. Amen. Grant us more charisms to serve in your name. Amen. Holy Spirit fall afresh on us. Amen.