Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Those words were part of yesterday’s scripture reading from Saint Paul to the Galatians. I have always loved and appreciated that list, which we know as the fruits of the Holy Spirit. They are of course preceded by the opposite, the attitudes or approaches to life which can easily be part of our own lives unless “we are led by the Spirit”.
As I listened to that reading proclaimed and heard the words about anger, feuds, wrangling jealousy, bad temper, disagreement and factions, and conspiracy theories that abound in our world today, and sadly people and parishes squabbling and disagreeing, my thoughts turned to the positive – the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I have often heard Spiritual Directors saying the daily EXAMEN is one of the most important spiritual practices that any of us can engage in, and of all our prayerful engagements it is the one that we should never ever leave out. For example, it is important every day to ask: what have my blessings been? what things can I be grateful for? what is giving me hope during the day? Personally, I like to ask myself where the fruits of the Holy Spirit have been. Have I grown today in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the other fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful way to ask ourselves “am I growing in my relationship with God and with the people around me”?
Those fruits of the Holy Spirit are not something that we produce on our own; they are the results of the Holy Spirit living in and enabling us to grow in holiness. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us in Baptism and Confirmation, renewed in prayer, and is a constant source of blessing.
Any one of us can ask ourselves the question about how I am growing in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I think it is also an important question for our parishes, our school communities, and our families, to stop and ask how we are progressing. If we can note that we are growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness – then we give grateful thanks to God.
Nāku noa. Nā
“Discernment is demanding but indispensable for living. It requires that I know myself, that I know what is good for me here and now. Above all, it requires a filial relationship with God. God is Father and He does not leave us alone, He is always willing to advise us, to encourage us, to welcome us. But He never imposes His will. Why? Because He wants to be loved and not feared. God wants children, not slaves: free children. Love can only be lived in freedom. To learn to live, one must learn to love, and for this it is necessary to discern: what can I do now, faced with this alternative? Let it be a sign of greater love, of greater maturity in love. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us! Let us invoke Him every day, especially when we have choices to make.” Pope Francis: General Audience 31st August 2022