Do you lose the Holy Spirit when you are in mortal sin?


#1

I have heard and read lately that you lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when you sin mortally. What does that exactly mean? Does that mean that God sort of abandons you? Does it mean that you don’t have the Holy Spirit–and therefore the entire Trinity–in your soul?

I am quite scrupulous, and so often feel as though I’m in mortal sin. I am able to resist the urge to wait until Saturday for confession because I have believed that I still have not lost God–I say an Act of Contrition and trust in God’s mercy until confession. But if God through His Spirit has “left,” then how can I truly abandon myself?

Any thoughts?


#2

When you say “resist the urge” to go to confession, I would say, why wait. Go now if you can. Confession is trusting in God’s mercy.

As to the mechanics of the Spirit leaving, I wouldn’t get too hung up on that. Suffice it to say, if one is in mortal sin, they should not try to come up with reasons to avoid confession but simply go, accept the sacrament gifted to the Church for that very purpose, and go forth and try to live virtuously as best as one can.


#3

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:2, topic:332465"]
When you say "resist the urge" to go to confession, I would say, why wait. Go now if you can. Confession is trusting in God's mercy.

As to the mechanics of the Spirit leaving, I wouldn't get too hung up on that. Suffice it to say, if one is in mortal sin, they should not try to come up with reasons to avoid confession but simply go, accept the sacrament gifted to the Church for that very purpose, and go forth and try to live virtuously as best as one can.

[/quote]

I was going to confession several times a week because of my scrupulosity. My spiritual directors have advised going only once a week. Believe me, if I could I'd be there every day confessing angry thoughts as mortal sins and driving confessors crazy.


#4

Yes, the divine indwelling ceases.


#5

[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:4, topic:332465"]
Yes, the divine indwelling ceases.

[/quote]

Is this what the Church teaches? I have a little trouble believing it based on a recent event in my life.

I struggle with an addiction to pornography and related actions, and was recently right in the middle of engaging in these sins, clearly in a state of mortal sin. Despite all of this, out of nowhere, I had a tremendous surge of willpower which allowed me to stop engaging in the sin. I know myself, and I know that it didn't come from me. I can only attribute it to God / The Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit leaves when I sin mortally, how could I have received such a gift?


#6

You don't lose the Holy Spirit. Rather you just get "clouded". He's there but your sins cloud your heart that His light can't shine through.

Otherwise, if you lose the Holy Spirit, you will need to be baptized and confirmed/chrismated again.


#7

No it doesn’t. Because the only way we receive the Holy Spirit is through baptism. So if the divine indwelling ceases, then we need to be baptized again. We know that is not the case.


#8

I like what Constantine said about this. But, if that does not make sense, I would ask your spritual director about this. Given your scrupulosity and the fact that he is most familiar with you, he is the best person to explain this in a way that will make sense to you.


#9

What happens when one is in mortal sin is that we lose sanctifying grace, and the good we do has no spiritual good effect. Of course, once one makes a good confession, these things no longer apply: our good acts have good spiritual effects and we have sanctifying grace again.

Now, what is very important here is the criteria for mortal sin:

Grave matter
Full knowledge
Full assent

For many people who commit an act which is *objectively *a mortal sin, their guilt may be mitigated by the lack of one of these criteria. A person may believe that something is not serious matter, for example, or may not give full assent.

In the matter of deeply ingrained bad habits, full assent is sometimes not there.

Additionally, it is not that God refuses any contact with someone in a state of actual mortal sin--He is always calling to us! He does whatever He can to get us to turn to Him. Otherwise, how would anyone be able to turn towards God?


#10

Does your confessor know you suffer from scrupulosity? You should bring this concern to him so that he will be able to more fully explain in regards to your particular situation. But God never abandons anyone, so don’t worry about that.


#11

[quote="Colorad007, post:3, topic:332465"]
I was going to confession several times a week because of my scrupulosity. My spiritual directors have advised going only once a week. Believe me, if I could I'd be there every day confessing angry thoughts as mortal sins and driving confessors crazy.

[/quote]

I see. Well, heed your spiritual directors and keep your priest(s) informed of your situation for their counsel as well. Don't over-worry. Many of us all fall and get back up and fall and get back up with whatever sins and do it all over again all life-long. :blush: Just be sure you are striving for virtue! :o


#12

Ok. I teach pre-baptism classes so here it is. When we are baptized we receive sanctifying grace. This is the indwelling of the life of God in one’s soul. Now if we are truly in the state of mortal sin we chose to remove the sanctifying grace that we received at our baptism. Actual grace still remains which is the prompting of God for us to come back to Him. God NEVER leaves us. We can only choose to leave or reject Him. In mortal sin we choose to reject that life of God because we decided to replace God with an infinitely lesser pleasure and make that our God. We DO NOT ever need to be baptized again since there is only one baptism. We say in our creed at Mass, “and I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”. When we sin mortally the Church gives us the beautiful healing sacrament of reconciliation. When the priest absolves us of our sins the sanctifying grace is restored in our soul and we are brought back to the union we had with God. This is what the Church teaches and can be verified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. God bless.


#13

I believe this is what Bl. John Duns Scotus taught, that sanctifying grace is divine indwelling. St. Thomas Aquinas on the other hand made a distinction between them. In any case unless I am quite mistaken they are always present at the same time. When we commit a mortal sin we voluntarily break the bond of charity between ourselves and God, causing us to lose sanctifying grace and the divine indwelling. Of course God presumably continues to give us actual grace sufficient to stop sinning, as someone described above. Sanctifying grace and divine indwelling would then be restored upon making an act of perfect contrition or obtaining sacramental absolution. No need (or possibility) to be rebaptized.


#14

[quote="Colorad007, post:1, topic:332465"]
I have heard and read lately that you lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when you sin mortally. What does that exactly mean? Does that mean that God sort of abandons you? Does it mean that you don't have the Holy Spirit--and therefore the entire Trinity--in your soul?

I am quite scrupulous, and so often feel as though I'm in mortal sin. I am able to resist the urge to wait until Saturday for confession because I have believed that I still have not lost God--I say an Act of Contrition and trust in God's mercy until confession. But if God through His Spirit has "left," then how can I truly abandon myself?

Any thoughts?

[/quote]

Based on personal experience while an atheist, I personally contend that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit continues while in the state of mortal sin, via the conscience.


#15

Again, I think there may be a confusion here between divine indwelling and actual grace.


#16

Hi Colorad

I take great comfort in our Lord’s own words in Matthew 28:20 " And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Who is it, do you think, who gives you the grace to turn back to God after sinning?

I think it must be very sad for people who think God deserts them after serious sin. Have they not read the parable of the lost sheep, I wonder.

God bless +

Michael


#17

[quote="Michael_Allen, post:16, topic:332465"]
Hi Colorad

I take great comfort in our Lord's own words in Matthew 28:20 " And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Who is it, do you think, who gives you the grace to turn back to God after sinning?

I think it must be very sad for people who think God deserts them after serious sin. Have they not read the parable of the lost sheep, I wonder.

God bless +

Michael

[/quote]

The Church makes a clear distinction between actual grace and sanctifying grace. You are absolutely correct when you say that God never leaves you. Sanctifying grace is an indwelling and actual grace is an external presence and prompting.


#18

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