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Dear Father Angelo,

I would like to ask you about the sin that leads to death.  I would like to have you for specific information.

What does “those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit…” mean? Does it perhaps refer to those who have got a word or advice from a Saint or does it simply refer to those who believe?!

Looking forward to your reply, thank you in advance!



Answer from the priest

Dear Gabriele,

1. St. John speaks explicitly of sin that leads to death: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,…There is such a thing as deadly sin” (1 Jn 5, 16-17).

2. Sin is defined as mortal for two reasons: because it leads to the death of the heavenly and divine life obtained by grace through Baptism, and also because, without repentance, it can lead to the second death, which is the eternal death, hell, to which St. John refers in the Apocalypse: “”The second death has no power over these” (Rev 20,6), “This pool of fire is the second death” (Rev 20,16).

3. The verse: “those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit” is taken from the letter to the Hebrews 6,4 and refers to the baptized.

“Those who have once been enlightened” are those who have received faith and grace through Baptism. The ancient Christians called Baptism “enlightenment” and the baptized were called “enlightened”. This metaphor refers to the effects of Baptism, which incorporates us into Jesus Christ, the true light of the world (Jn 1:4-5 and 8:12), leads us from the darkness of sin to the light that gives life and illuminates the mind with the truths revealed by God.

4. They “tasted the heavenly gift” because they have experienced the sweetness of God’s gift. This heavenly gift is the sanctifying grace, which makes us participate in the divine life and brings the living and personal presence of Jesus Christ inside us.

Speaking to the Samaritan woman, Jesus says: “If you knew the gift of God” (Jn 4:10). Saint Paul also speaks to the Romans of this heavenly gift (“the grace of God” 5,15).

This celestial gift also refers to the Eucharist since the baptized can be satiated by Christ, the bread of life, which carries all sweetness within itself.

5. “They participate in the holy Spirit” through the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation.

6. Precisely because of these heavenly experiences, we, as Christians, should have even a stronger motivation to bring all men to Christ.

Very often the lack of missionary spirit arises from the fact that one is a Christian only in name. We are satisfied with not committing mortal sins, but we are not concerned with progressing in our life in Christ.

This search, which never ends (it doesn’t end even in our next life), and this experience of life in Christ are the reasons for our joy, for our desire to advance and also for the solidity and stability of our faith.

I wish you a happy conclusion of the Easter period and a fruitful Marian month.

I remember you to the Lord and bless you.

Father Angelo