Fruits of the Holy Spirit
The key to the reception of the Holy Spirit is repentance. John the Baptist was preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins and as preparation for the coming of the Messiah. He was baptising with water as a symbol of cleansing, but He said that the Messiah would be coming after Him, baptising with fire and with the Holy Spirit. [Matthew 3:11]
After the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, Peter spoke to the people and exhorted them to repent and to be baptised, so that their sins would be forgiven and that they could receive the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:38], so this is why we must repent and turn to God, and produce fruits consistent with our repentance. [Acts 26:20]
We are baptised as infants when we have not committed any sins, so baptism infuse us with the Grace to become children of God redeemed by Christ. Further on in our lives, we mus
t repent of our sins to allow the Holy Spirit to continue working in us with His sanctifying Grace.
Just as John the Baptist was someone preparing the way for the Lord in the Spirit of Elijah, repentance comes to prepare a path of contrition and sorrow for the coming of God the Holy Spirit.
There can not be an experience of the Holy Spirit, unless we have repented. For the purpose of our study, and for our own sanctification, we will study this topic from God's point of view through the Holy Scriptures and through the experience of repentance.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.
Now therefore amend your ways, and your doings, and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God: and the Lord will repent of the evil that he hath spoken against you. [Jeremiah 26:13]
Therefore will I judge every man according to his ways, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin. [Ezekiel 18:30]
In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea and saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Matthew 3:1-2]
After being tempted for forty days in the desert, Jesus was baptised and was filled with the Holy Spirit. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Matthew 4:17]
Unless you repent, you will all perish [Luke 13:3]
The Apostles were sent to preach repentance [Mark 6:12] It is our duty to become disciples of the Lord, and follow the steps of the apostles transmitting the message of repentance to everyone. We will be judged for not telling others to repent as in the case of the prophet [Ezekiel 3:18 - 21][James 5:19-20 ]
19 My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one converts him:
20 He must know that he who causes a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
After the descent of the Holy Spirit on the
apostles, Peter was filled with courage to proclaim the gospel, while he addressed the
crowds and exhorted them to be saved from their perverse generation, he also said these
words concerning repentance:
God has overlooked the times of our ignorance, [we don't really know how bad our offence is when we sin] , so He has commanded all men everywhere to repent [Acts 17:30]
In order to repent we must subject the passions of the flesh and all our human weaknesses to the power of the Holy Spirit, we must suffer as we amend our lives and change [2 Corinthians 7:10], but the Lord will reward us for coming to Him like the prodigal son.
We must produce fruits in keeping with repentance [Matthew 3:8], fruits that will lead us to holiness, then we must continue with perseverance otherwise we may lose the privilege that the Lord has conferred us [Revelation 2:5]
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We must confess daily our sinfulness and we must acclaim the holiness of God by contrast [Psalm 38:18]. We are sinners by nature, God is divine and holy by His own Grace.
How can we come to Him feeling that we are good when it is by our own sins that we have crucified His Son? [Genesis 6:12] With Adam and Eve we feel the guilt of our sinfulness and the eyes of God pierce through the nakedness of our souls accusing us of our impurities and imperfections, therefore we need to humble ourselves before the Majesty of God in order to receive His blessing .
We are unworthy to be in His Presence, should we see God's face we would die [Exodus 33:20], we have an eternal debt that we can not pay, except with our Love for Christ and our thanksgiving to the Father. In baptism we are clothed with Christ and by His Grace we are dressed with the robes of Salvation, however as we all have sinned, we have desecrated that Holy Presence of God in us, so we must repent. We must turn away form evil and darkness, from sin and death and we must choose Goodness, Light, Grace and Life.
The Lord says unless you repent you will all perish [Luke 13:5]. Most of us come to confession to confess the same sins that we repeatedly confess every time. Have we really repented? Are we justifying our sins and playing games with our Salvation? Are we not supposed to come shedding tears like Mary Magdalene for our sins? The reason for our behaviour is that we confess our sins without sufficient remorse, without feeling any guilt, without pain of having crucified our Lord.
We must confess not only our sins, but also our guilt, yes because our sins have crucified the Lord. [Zechariah 12:10]
We cannot become saints until we eradicate sinfulness from our lives. Whoever is born of God, commits no sin: for his seed abides in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God. [1 John 3:9]
To be a saint means to become a son of God, we must strive for the purity of the holy angels, everything we do must be done in the Presence of God. We live before Him in the nakedness of our souls but our guilt is removed because the tears of our repentance demand His Mercy.
The saint is prepared to rather die than sin. To live to sin is a curse for Him, therefore He suffers in the flesh until He can be called to be in God forever [1 Peter 2:24].
Jesus is the fruit of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Out of this marvellous relationship between God and Mary, the Holy Spirit produced His fruit in the Incarnation of the Word of God, who became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. So out of this spiritual marriage of the Holy Spirit with Mary, She became the tree of life, whose fruit is the food for our souls. We are called to imitate Mary in order to bear good fruit, consistent with our repentance.
We are compared to trees on many occasions, in order to understand the purpose of our existence which is to be fruitful. John the Baptist came preaching repentance and with Him the threat that the axe is ready: every tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. [Matthew 3:10] The Lord confirms that in [Matthew 7:19].
Our Blessed Lord manifested His anger at the fruitless fig tree, which dried out and died after his curse. [Matthew 21:19] , Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, those who cut themselves off the vine by not abiding in Him, are cut off, they die and are thrown into the fire. [John 15:6]
The Lord says that the Kingdom of Heaven will be given to those who produce the good fruits of the Kingdom [Matthew 21:43], He also says that prophets will be known by their fruits [Matthew 7:16]. So the spiritual fruits that we produce are caused by the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, they are the fruits of Salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit and our faith in Him.[2 Thessalonians 2:13]
So according to the tradition of the Church the fruits of the Holy Spirit are: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity." [Galatians 5:22-23] These fruits are produced in our souls by our yielding to the gentle persuasions of the Holy Spirit.
In order to produce the fruits of the Spirit, we must be rooted on the firm soil of our faith, fertilised with the nourishment of the sacraments and devotions, watered with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit and pruned by our sufferings and trials. It is called the fruit of the Spirit, not so much our fruit, because it is produced directly by the Holy Spirit, so that we should not become proud. We must allow the Spirit of God to lead us to holiness, the Master Builder will construct a spiritual house in us for His pleasure and Glory. [Psalm 127- (126 D.Rh) ]
It is for the Glory of God the Father that we become the fruitful disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ [John 15:18]
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Love finds its perfection in Charity, since we love God but we don't see Him so we can prove to Him our Love by loving others. The new commandment of Our Lord is "Love one another as I have loved you" that manifestation of Love compels the soul to do acts of charity for others. God is easily found in the needs of the poor, in the marginalised, the oppressed, the persecuted, the lonely, the outcast, those who suffer and all those who are last. No wonder the Lord has said that the last will be the first. On the day of Judgement, the Lord will reward us according to the way we treated our brothers and sisters, because in the same way we indeed treated our Lord. [Matthew 25:34-40]
Our Lady was a living model of Charity, as soon as She was filled with the Holy Spirit, She felt the need to go out of her way to help her cousin Elizabeth.
St. Paul recommends that we rejoice in the Lord always, [Philippians 4:4] and again He says rejoice. Joy is a gift to keep even in the middle of our trials and sufferings, because joy is the anticipation of the greater gift of eternal bliss.
We have good times when we naturally rejoice, but this joy is perfected when we appreciate that it comes from God and we thank Him. Whenever we suffer, we must be also thankful for the crosses we are receiving and rejoice spiritually because the reward for our crosses will be our crowns.
Do we thank God for all the joys we receive? Do we take it all for granted or do we realise that God is the source of our joy?
Peace is the sign of God's Presence in our lives. Peace is the fruit of the reconciliation between God and man through the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The first words that the Lord pronounced after His resurrection were "Peace be with you" [John 20:19], the same words He repeated again before saying to the apostles "Receive the Holy Spirit"
With the gift of Peace, the Apostles then received the breath of the resurrected Lord and the power to forgive sins, which continues in the sacrament of Penance. As we are reconciled with God in this holy sacrament we are healed of the wounds of our sins and we receive God's peace, fruit of our reconciliation.
The Peace that we receive from the Lord is different to the peace of this world, it is the peace of the soul finding itself pure before God.
With this holy attitude, a person is prepared to deal with all the different situations and persons that otherwise would cause annoyance or distress. Being patient means understanding the individuality of other people and adjusting to their needs, knowing that God has sent them into our lives for a purpose, perhaps to make us humble or to make us realise how weak we are.
We can not change events that have already taken place, it is too late to be impatient as if by our lack of virtue we would change anything at all. Impatience can only make things worse. As a matter of fact, impatience leads to anger, which leads to hatred, which uncontrolled can lead to murder. This is why we must produce this fruit of the Holy Spirit which is part of the very important foundations for holiness.
The Patriarch Job was an excellent example of this holy virtue of
Patience, He was put to the test by the Lord who allowed satan to tempt Him. One day while
he was at home he received different messengers telling him the bad news that He had lost
all his cattle, that they had killed his servants and that the roof of the house where his
seven daughters and three sons were staying had collapsed killing them all. This is how He
responded to this situation:
Many times we feel down but we are cheered up by the kindness of others. This beautiful disposition of the soul makes people very charmy and useful to others, it is not the artificial smile that makes us welcome, but the sincere disposition of a good heart.
For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. [Mark 9:40 - 41]
God is the source of all goodness, He is the giver of all gifts, He wants us to imitate Him.
Imitation of Christ involves being good, being a reflection of Christ in our lives to others. Our behaviour reflects how we are keeping the commandments.
The first three commandments teach to love God, to respect His Holy Name and to keep holy the Sabbath day which for us Catholics is Sunday.
The last seven commandments refer to the way we must treat others. We must be good to our parents, we must protect our lives, the lives of the unborn and the lives of others because God is Life and life is good. We must respect our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit avoiding all corruption and impurity, we must respect our neighbour's goods, we must respect our neighbour's reputation, and we must respect our neighbour's wife.
To love is to give. God loves us and He gives us everything. There is no greater friend than He who is prepared to lay down his life for another.[John 15:13] It is indeed a gift to be generous, because it takes a lot to decide not to keep what is rightly ours to give it to another, specially to a stranger.
When we give we truly deny ourselves, as the Lord has requested. Generosity must be done in silence in order to merit Grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy, it is a quest for justice as if we have the work of God to provide for those who don't have.
For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. [Mark 9:40 - 41]
The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit that works very smoothly directing us to do what is pleasing to God. Under His action we can be meek and humble in everything we do; there is no violence nor corruption in a soul depending on the gentleness of the Spirit of God.
Our Lady is the perfect model of gentleness, her human actions had a touch of the divine because She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
We are the Church, the bride of Christ and we must bear resemblance to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the bride of the Holy Spirit. Through the action of the Holy Spirit we must become Immaculate in order to appear as virgins before the bridegroom on the day of the great marriage of the Lamb. [Revelation 19:7]
God is infinitely surrounded by His faithfulness. He has committed himself to His creation, first by creating it, then by redeeming it through Christ our Lord and then by sanctifying it through the Holy Spirit.
The work of God is to believe in the one whom He has sent, namely our Lord Jesus Christ [John 6:29], by being faithful to Jesus we remain in Him and He remains in us, we become witnesses of the way, the truth and the life.
Our Loyalty to Christ involves becoming his disciples and doing the same works that He did; we must remain faithful not only to his teachings but to the Church that He founded on Peter the rock.
We must remain faithful to the teachings of our Church, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. [1 Timothy 3:15]. We must walk in the path of truth if we are to remain faithful to God.
Jesus Christ the King of Kings, the ruler of the universe was born in a very poor cave, the son of very poor parents and surrounded by poverty. Mary our Mother replied to the angel that bore the good news of the coming of the Messiah: I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word. By her modest response, She didn't become proud of such gift, she actually never told Joseph that She was to be the mother of the Son of God, She kept it to herself risking to be divorced publicly since She was a virgin. Joseph found out in a dream through the message of an angel that Mary had conceived the Saviour of the world through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Modesty is an essential base for humility, it may appear mediocre in the eyes of man but not in the eyes of God. By this holy fruit of the Holy Spirit one learns to be contented with what is just required, one doesn't harbour any ambitions, nor take pride in any achievements since they appear commonplace.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble [James 4:6], therefore we must conduct our lives with humility, not claiming any credit for ourselves, but giving all credit and thanksgiving to God and accepting His Holy Will.
Man must become the master of his body, his body must not master him. The carnal man despises the Holy Spirit and doesn't exercise self-control.
By self control we must overcome all the passions of the flesh, since he who produces the fruits of the Holy Spirit belongs to Christ and has crucified the flesh with all its passions. [Galatians 5:24]
One good way to overcome the flesh is fasting and prayer, by overcoming the desires of the body for food, the soul learns to be deprived by the authority of the will and the result is self-control.
Couples can agree to exercise self-control only for set periods of time, say during lent, during holy days of obligation or Fridays as an act of penance, but always remembering that they must not deprive each other of their conjugal rights. The husband's body belongs to the wife and the wife's body belongs to the husband, otherwise satan may lead each other to lose self-control.[1 Corinthians 7:3-5]
The union between a man and a woman is sacred, it is bound in the sacrament of matrimony. Two become one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.[Matthew 19:6]. God hates divorce [Malachi 2:16]
In the same manner an unmarried couple is not consecrated to God, they are committing adultery, they are parading their wickedness, they are living an illegal relationship.
The sexual relationship between husband and wife is a gift from God,
it is the binding expression of the great unitive value of love. It is given as a gift
from God, primarily for the transmission of life, and secondarily for the joy of the
couple. The man and the woman should treat their bodies with due respect, remembering that
they are temples of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19].
Lust is a disorderly passion that can creep into the relationship of the couple, therefore
it is advisable that they practice chastity during certain monthly periods, they should
also agree not to do it on holy days, perhaps Fridays in honour of Our Lord's passion or
to practice whatever method of controlling passions within marriage. The pure purpose of
marriage should be to love one another, to pro-create children for God and to maintain a
pure relationship of fidelity and love.
Sex before marriage or outside marriage is adultery, masturbation is also a sin because it is either inciting the body to commit adultery or denying the other partner what belongs to their common joy. The chastity of the youth is equal to the purity of the children and is most precious in the eyes of God.
Virginity is the most excellent gift that the couple can offer to one another on their honey moon, it proves to them that they were truly made for one another.
Unfortunately these values have been lost nowadays, there are so many false teachings and so much bad example on television and the media; what can we say to our children? We are responsible before God for their conduct, because if we don't alert them to these dangers of unchastity and impurity, we will be held guilty for our negligence.
Homosexuality is a totally perverted expression of sexuality. It is a terrible abomination before the eyes of God, the man or woman engaged in this conduct is fighting against God's Will Who has made woman for man and man for woman [Genesis 2:24].
This sin caused the chastisement of Sodom and Gomorrah, because the Lord forbids a man to lay down with another man, or a woman with another woman [Leviticus 18:22-28]
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