When one is baptized, one receives the Holy Spirit and becomes a child of God. Through this sacrament one is initiated into the church. But later when one attains the age of discretion, the sacrament of confirmation is administered to him or her. It is believed that through confirmation one receives the Holy Spirit. As we grow up we all as humans sin or we accept the invitation of temptation so much so that we not only sin against God and humans but we also sin against the Holy Spirit which we have received at baptism and renewed or re-strengthened at confirmation.
The Holy Scripture does not list out anywhere those sins against the Holy Spirit. Traditionally the sins against the Holy Spirit are believed to be those sins which are committed by those who reject God and His kingdom. But Jesus also spoke of sins against the holy spirit: “ whoever speaks 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). He also said: “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”. (Mk 3, 29). “And everyone who speaks a word against the son of man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Lk 12, 10). As John Paul II referred to those sins of rejecting the mercy of God: “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 salvation offered by the Holy Spirit”. Since the Holy Scripture gives no direct references to those sins against the Holy Spirit, traditionally it has been believed that all those acts of grievous sins which are directly against the act, gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are the sins against the Holy Spirit. Let us go through the sins against the Holy Spirit in brief.
Despair is the loss of confidence in the goodness and mercy of God. It is a status of hopelessness to resolve the problem of life. Despair is the voluntary and complete abandonment of all hope of saving one’s soul and of having the means required for that end. It is an act of will by which a person deliberately gives up an expectation of divine assistance and ultimately loss of hope of reaching eternal life, by which one comes to decide definitely that salvation is impossible. Despair may be caused by continuous failures, tragedies and social isolation. Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice-for the Lord is faithful, to his promises and to his mercy.
PRESUMPTION OF GOD’S MERCY
Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it. They know God is merciful, so they sin deliberately. They presuppose His mercy. There are two kinds of Presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon god’s almighty power or His mercy (hoping to obtain His forgiveness without conversion and the glory without merit).
The sin of rejecting truth is committed by those who know God and the truth, yet do not accept but refuse to believe. They are enemies of God and of the truth and goodness. It is committed through atheism and heresy.
ENVYING THE SPIRITUAL GOOD OF OTHERS
All gifts are given by the one and same Spirit (1 Cor 12, 11). They are given for the common good. There is no greater or lesser gift, they are equal. And envying each other for the given gifts is against the Holy Spirit. Envy is the extreme feeling of jealousy and hatred towards others or the feeling of high self-esteem with pride of oneself being better than all others.
HARD HEARTEDNESS IN SIN/ OBSTINANCY IN SIN
The sanctifying grace comes from the Holy Spirit and he liberates us from the darkness of sin. The Holy Spirit reconciles us with the father and the son. Hard heartedness in sin refers to resistance to the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. It is the rejection of God’s covenantal relationship, friendship.
Impenitence means to be un-contrite, unrepentant, hardened and unconverted, to be without regret, shame or remorse. It is the loss of sense of sin. It is a free option made by the individual to live and die in sins and thus belong to Satan and his kingdom. He doesn’t open himself to the Holy Spirit’s invitation. Such individuals are eternally condemned to fire of hell.
When a person sins against the Holy Spirit, the person becomes the enemy of God which results in shamefulness and fearfulness before God, losses of state of grace, holiness and favor of God, and belonging to Satan and his kingdom. The ways and means to overcome these sins against the Holy Spirit is with earnest fight against sin with God’s help of being open to the working of the Holy Spirit, celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, practicing virtues, by listening to one’s conscience and obeying its voice, desiring God and heaven and practicing theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.