The Unforgivable Sin- Chapter 2
Error, Deadly Sin, and Christ by Fr. Chris Pietraszko
The Unforgivable Sin
“Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter! Ah! Those who are wise in their own eyes, prudent in their own view!”
- Isaiah 5: 20-21
Most Catholics have had the experience of hearing about Jesus condemning the Sin against the Holy Spirit, as unforgivable. At the onset of hearing about this sin, people can quickly be shaken to their core. “This doesn’t sound like the Jesus I’ve been told about!?”
Christ reveals Himself to be a merciful God, one who would never leave a truly repentant person in the guilt of their sin. Those who seek mercy in the right manner, need not worry about the unforgivable sin. The bottom line, here, is that the unforgivable sin is final-impenitence. Nonetheless it is worthwhile to contemplate the scriptures in this regard, because to many this is not readily apparent.
It would be worth discussing, nonetheless, the unforgivable sin as we prepare to dissect the nature of sin, and how it leads us to error. I believe it should precede the chapters to follow, as the lesson on this sin in Christ’s teaching applies to all of the deadly sins. The Lord is attempting to build up our own soul, as a holy temple that in spirit and truth, houses God. In order to cooperate with God’s efforts, we must learn to have an automatic approach to repentance. That is to say, in order to welcome Christ into every aspect of our being, our mind, and our heart, we must be dedicated to the task of removing that which obstructs His presence.
The Pillar of Truth
When discussing the nature of the unforgivable sin, the themes of instability, permanence and damnation all come crashing down upon us. An image that displays the converse spiritual state, has recently manifested itself in my prayer. The image is of a beautiful, white, pillar. I’ve identified this pillar as being nothing less than the Church, which is the “Pillar and foundation of Truth.” The image has evoked within me a sense of stability, protection, purity, and humility. The image of the Pillar is a classical one, entirely white, and not significantly broad, but perfect in all its dimensions. This pillar is an invitation to my own soul to stand under what it upholds. There I do not need to worry about the ceiling crashing down upon me. The mountains will not fall on me, as I stand next to this pillar.
How could it be that such an inanimate object could bestow in my soul the sense of protection, stability, purity and humility? Because the Church is not so much a thing, but the very Body of Christ. Each of us, as members of that Body are able to be grafted into that Body of Christ by the very Spirit of Truth promised upon the Church. This Church, regardless of the sinful human element that often obscures its genuine God-given identity, is something that can only be trusted with the supernatural gift of faith. Trust in the Church is trust in the Body of Christ. And to have such trust is an act of trust in God’s own work. This work is accomplished by the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the members of the Church, who in turn cooperate with His movements.
This is the vision of our Savior, as he casts out demons, and forgives sins. He seeks to graciously hand on the power, authority and identity of Himself, through the Holy Spirit, to the Church. Thus, to refuse to accept the anointing of Christ by the Spirit, is also to reject the anointing of the Church. This isn’t precisely the unforgivable sin, as the Church herself declares, but it is inching us closer to what it might be. In fact, this is a concrete expression of how that sin can occur.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit