By FATHER KENNETH DOYLE
Q. Recently I read an article in the Catholic press about the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and it has caused me to worry about something that happened long ago. I am now 45 years old and when I was in the seventh grade, this is what happened. I really liked a boy in my class and I prayed and prayed that he would like me. But it turned out that he liked another girl instead.
I was upset, especially since I had prayed so hard, and I decided (and said) that I didn't need the Holy Spirit. I regretted it right away and went to confession, but I'm not sure that the priest really heard what I was saying and that he understood. (He seemed busy and somewhat rushed.)
Recently I went to confession and brought it up again, but I didn't go into all the details. Now, I'm a huge mess. I do pray to the Holy Spirit, asking him for guidance in tough situations, and I believe that the Spirit does help me. But I'm not sure that I've ever been forgiven for that sin long ago, and I wonder where I really stand with God. (Philadelphia)
A. Please relax and be at peace. First of all, you didn't "blaspheme against the Holy Spirit." To do so means to refuse to accept God's forgiveness, leading to final impenitence. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1864). You didn't do that at all; as a seventh-grader, you were just mad at God because the boy you liked turned out not to like you.
Second, you've already confessed that sin -- twice. (If the priest didn't fully understand, that's his fault, not yours.) Your question makes me think that you may be prone to the tortures of scrupulosity. You may want to talk to a friendly priest who will assure you both of God's love and of your own goodness.
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Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.