Ask a Priest

Can the Holy Spirit leave us?

Jun 06, 2014

Hi Father,

i was reflecting on this verse,

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

If a Christian does not keep the word of Jesus, will God the Father/Jesus/ Holy Spirit depart from us as we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. ( 1 Cor 6:19).

Are there circumstances where one can lose the Holy Spirit ? Or will Jesus never abandon us as in Hebrew 13:5 or in John 14: 16 – where the Holy Spirit will not leave us.

Thanks for clarifying.

God Bless,


Asked at 02:17 pm on June 06th 2014

Dear Patrick:

Grave or mortal sin cuts us off from God’s grace and so in this sense we can lose the Holy Spirit given that with mortal sin we have created a rupture in our relationship with God. Fortunately, as you know, we can restore this presence of God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, within us through the sacrament of reconciliation.

The Catechism explains it in this way.

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

Replied at 06:34 am on June 16th 2014