Today I would like to talk about the fruits of the Holy Spirit and I want to challenge you to reflect on what kinds of fruit you are producing.
A good way to know a person is by the fruits that they produce. From their fruits you can know a lot about a person as Christ says “by their fruits you shall know them.” (Matthew 7:16)
We all put up barriers and/or put forth a projection of how we want to be viewed (just look at Facebook); however, one thing that doesn’t fool anyone is the fruit that a person bears.
We just celebrated Pentecost a week ago and I think it is important to focus on the fruits of the Holy Spirit. And if the fruits that we produce are not of the Holy Spirit then from what spirit does it come from?
The catechism states: “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”– CCC 1832
I think it is important to reflect on these fruits and know what they are.
Charity – (Some say “love” but Charity is the more traditional English term and used by the Church and it better grasps the Greek word used for love in this case “agape”) The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God (1822)
Joy – Joy and happiness are two different things and people often think they are the same thing and it is not. Joy is much deeper than happiness.
The Catechism explains the nature of joy and happiness as “…true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or any human achievement…or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love.” (CCC 1723)… “that In other words, temporal happiness is not enough to satisfy us; we long for the “joy of the Lord” (CCC 1720). Recognizing that God is our Creator and that we rely totally on Him is a “source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence” (CCC 301).
Peace – Peace is a goal of Christian living, as indicated by Jesus who said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (CCC1716). The Fifth Commandment requires us to uphold and work for peace, which is defined by St. Augustine as “the tranquility of order,” and which is the work of justice and the effect of charity (CCC2304).
Patience – patience, which is the most frequent form under which fortitude of soul is exercised in the displeasures and annoyances of life. By patience the soul truly possesses itself above the negative and displeasing encounters in life and in so doing becomes masters of self and free/ detached. The greatest example for the virtue of patience are the martyrs. They had the fortitude of the soul to accept with patience their fate.
Kindness – is the quality of understanding, sympathy and concern for those in trouble or in need. It is shown in warmness of speech, generosity of conduct, and forgiveness of wrong doings and injuries sustained.
Goodness – is holiness put into practice and results from knowing God. Once you have this knowledge, goodness is supernaturally produced in you and bears fruit if our free will leads us to God’s Will.
Generosity – Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. Generosity inspires gratitude, and gratitude inspires generosity. God is generous to us and our generosity gives proof of our gratitude towards God, as St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:11.
The highest gift we can give to someone is the gift of ourselves. (Which today is becoming increasingly more difficult with the demands of modern life and technology). The perfect example of generosity is God the Creator. By His generosity, He generated man in His image. For us Christians, God’s gift of Himself through Christ’s Passion and the Eucharist (Christ’s Body for us to eat) represents the ultimate form of generosity, and serves as a model for all human generosity.
Gentleness – Gentleness commonly known as meekness. Meekness is NOT weakness, but of power and strength under control. The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults, and rules his own spirit well.
Faithfulness – is our trust in God and our loyalty and steadfastness with others.
Modesty – is the virtue that moderates all the internal and external movements and appearance of a person according to his or her endowments, possessions, and station in life. Four virtues are commonly included under modesty: humility, studiousness, modesty, namely in dress and general behavior.
Self – Control – The act, power, or habit of having one’s desires under the control of the will, enlightened by right reason and faith.
Chastity – The moral virtue which, under the cardinal virtue of temperance, provides for the successful integration of sexuality within the person leading to the inner unity of the bodily and spiritual being.
Now I was going to close with something inspiring about the power of the Holy Spirit but the Catechism says it best.
“By this power of the Spirit, God’s children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear “the fruit of the Spirit: … charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” “We live by the Spirit”; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we “walk by the Spirit.”
Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God “Father” and to share in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.” – CCC 736
Now go forth and bear much fruit… good fruit.
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