I’m often asked to write a blog for feast days or holy seasons — Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Easter; and I’m okay with those. However, I’ve been asked a few times to write for the feast of Pentecost.
I dread it. My theology of the Holy Spirit definitely needs some development. When expressing this concern to my colleagues, the general councilors, we somehow got onto naming the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which naturally led to the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit.
We were — among the five of us — able to list all seven of the gifts. We fared not as well with the 12 fruits. So we did what almost everyone does these days. We “Googled” it.
Stop a moment before reading more. Can you name the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit? Try. (Pause)
They are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity. I found these on www.loyolapress.com. The listing was good and satisfied my curiosity.
What captured my attention however was this sentence from the website entry:
“…the fruits of the Holy Spirit … are the observable behaviors of people who have allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit to be effective in them.”
A big light bulb went on in my head and heart! What has probably been crystal clear to everyone else finally made sense to me. When we open ourselves to the presence of the Holy Spirit, there are tangible results, gifts given to be received and passed on.
Since reading this line, I’ve spent time each day praying about one of the fruits — asking myself if patience is an observable behavior in me. Charity? Joy? Kindness? Goodness? Gentleness? The list goes on, does it not?
For the first time, these were not just words — the definitions of which I knew. I finally caught on they are behaviors, actions and attitudes guiding my life, my choices, my approach to others. Perhaps this has been perfectly obvious to you for years. I’m happy it became so in me within the past couple of weeks.
In celebrating the season of Pentecost, let charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity be “observable behaviors” in us — letting the whole world know that we have “allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit be effective” in us.
Sister Denise Wilkinson