Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)

 

The one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 

 

Imagine the following scenario: you’re on a boat, and you suddenly spot a man in the water.   You throw out a rope, and you wait for him to grab it so that you can pull him to safety.   But he doesn’t move.   Instead, he says,  “I don’t need your help.   Thanks anyway, but I’m fine.”   You keep pleading with him to take the rope, but he won’t do it.   Finally, you have no choice but to leave him there.

We might compare such a situation to Jesus’ warning about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.   Imagine the Spirit as the one tossing us the “rope” of salvation.   He does this by showing us, on the one hand, that we are sinners and, on the other hand, that Jesus is the way out of sin (John 16:8-9).   “Grab hold of Jesus!”  he cries out to us.   “He can save you.”

So one way someone might blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to say that he doesn’t need Jesus.   It’s folly to ignore the Spirit’s urgings and to try to continue to go it alone.

But how do these words apply to those of us who already know our need for the Lord?   Well, maybe we haven’t rejected God’s mercy outright, but there may still be ways that we are compromising.   For example, perhaps you sense the Spirit pointing out a particular sin to you.   Maybe your conscience is bothering you, or a family member or friend brings up a weakness or failing.   Unfortunately, it can be easy to ignore these “distress signals” from the Spirit because it’s just too painful or difficult to confront the sin and try to deal with it.

Don’t be like that man in the water!   Go ahead and accept the Spirit’s help.   Let him assure you of God’s unending mercy and his desire to forgive you.   Call on him to give you the courage you need to repent and ask for forgiveness, both of God and of the person you have offended.   And be sure to rely on the Spirit’s strength whenever you face temptations of any kind.   Remember, the Holy Spirit is always throwing that rope!

“Holy Spirit, thank you for your constant help.”

Romans 4:13, 16-18
Psalm 105:6-9, 42-43

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