Skip to comments.[CATH/ORTH CAUCUS] From Mediocrity to Magnificence: A Meditation on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Posted on 09/16/2010 2:48:39 AM PDT by markomalley
What do you expect from your relationship to Jesus Christ? I have come to discover that many do not expect all that much. In effect they hope that faith can kind of help them muddle through life and offer them a few consolations that, perhaps things will be better some day, and in heaven. Others see the moral life described in the scriptures more as a duty than a description of the person being transformed by Jesus Christ. And because they see it as a list of duties, rather than the result of grace, they tend to resent it, consider it unrealistic, or just feel overwhelmed by it. Very few expect to be able to radically live this moral life and experience it happen in their life.
But I ask you, is this the best that the death of the Son of God can do for us? Did Jesus die on the cross so I could suffer boredom, have a tepid and distracted prayer life, and be morally mediocre? Did Jesus die to offer me a life filled with resentments, disappointments, or moral weakness? Where is the joy, where is the victory over sin, where is the vigor of hope and the intensity of love? Where is the progress, the clarity, and the experience of God changing my life?
Scripture describes the Christian life as consisting in joy, victory, confidence, hope, love, self mastery and so forth. This is the normal Christian life. Consider just a few passages in this regard and understand that passages like these are describing what is to be the normal Christian life. They are not giving us things to do but describing what happens to the Christian who is being transformed by Jesus Christ:
Now do not dismiss these texts or diminish their radical meaning. They are describing the normal Christian life. That is, they are describing what a Christian ought routinely to expect from their relationship with Jesus Christ. Certain words and phrases jump out: New creation, old is gone, his glorious riches, strength, power, grasp, wide, long, high, deep, surpassing, filled, fullness, immeasurably more, sin done away with, no longer slaves, brought from death to life, righteousness, obey, set free, wholehearted, cannot go on sinning, born of God. Look at these words and phrases! They are not tepid. They are strong and vigorous descriptions of what happens to person justified and being transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ. THIS is the Christian life.
One other way the Church and the Scriptures have traditionally described the Life of the Christian is through the setting forth of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. They are found in Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. The Church has added to these nine three more fruits, really by way of distinction more than addition: generosity, modesty and chastity. I set them forth for you below. I realize You may not have time to read them all now, so I have also set them forth in a PDF document that you can print and set aside for later instruction. The PDF is here: Fruits of the Spirit
But know this, they are not for you to achieve, they are for you to receive. They are fruits of the SPIRIT, not fruits of you. The Christian moral life is a gift to the believer, not an imposition on the believer. These fruits describe what begins to happen to the Christian who is being transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit and the grace of Jesus Christ. These describe the normal, the to be expected Christian life.
Dont accept mediocrity. Expect great things in Christ Jesus. Remember this is the Blood of Jesus Christ we are talking about here and there is power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit: (The analysis of the Greek is from William Barclay in his Daily Study Bible)
1. Love ἀγάπη (agape) to love with a God-like love, unconditionally, and vigorously, not counting the cost, not being based on mere reciprocity. It is wanting only what is good for the other. This sort of love is distinct from other forms of love in Greek such as eros (passionate love), philia (warm love most common in the family or among close friends, brotherly love), and storge (the love of affection usually for family members). Agape love is far above these and is, of necessity, a work of God so as to come to its fullest expression. Hence it is rightly called a fruit of the Holy Spirit
2. Joy χαρά (Chara) The joy referred to here is more than a passing worldly joy. It is deeper than an emotional experience. It is rooted in God and comes from him. Since it does not have the world for its origin, but rather comes from God, it is more serene and stable than worldly joy which is merely emotional and lasts only for a time. For example, note the following uses elsewhere in Scripture and see how it is always connected, not to the world, but to the faith and to God:
a. Ps 30:11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
b. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
c. Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
d. Phil 1:25 - Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.
3. Peace εἰρήνη (eirene) This is normally used in the Greek Bible to translate the Hebrew word shalom. This sort of peace is more than an absence of conflict. Rather, it is the presence in the human person and their relationships of everything that should be there. It is a kind of equilibrium that comes from trusting in God and the experience that everything is alright, that everything is in the hands of God. On account of this experience the human person does not obsessively seek to control people and things and is more content to allow things to unfold, rather than to control and manipulate the outcomes of life. In this sense, they become more peaceful toward others.
4. Patience μακροθυμία (makrothumia) Generally, the Greek world applied this word to a man who could avenge himself but did not. This word is often used in the Greek Scriptures in reference to God and his attitude to us. In the human person this fruit of the Spirit causes us to be more willing to suffer the difficulties of life and of other people. We are less needful to avenge wrongs and slights and are more able to endure the imperfections of people and this world. By this fruit we can forebear the crosses, miseries and difficulties of life in this world.
5. Kindness χρηστότης (Chrestotos) In Greek, old wine was called chrestos which meant that it was mellow or smooth. Christ used this word in referring to his yoke that which was easy (Matt 11:30). That is to say it did not chafe, it was well fitting and accommodated to the wearer. So kindness here refers to an attitude that goes beyond mere justice or what is required to a something wider and more accommodating.
6. Goodness ἀγαθωσύνη (agathosune) This word is more difficult to define, in that it rarely occurs in secular Greek. Its biblical use seems generally to mean doing what is right and best for others in every circumstance. This might at times include rebuking or disciplining. At other times it would include encouraging or reassuring. The key point in the word seems to be what is good or best for the person. Here are some other instances where the word is used in the New Testament and one will notice that it places goodness in the context of instruction, truth and faith. Hence, goodness here can have different applications than just being a nice guy.
a. Rom 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
b. Eph 5:9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
c. 2 Thess 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.
7. Fidelity πίστις (pistis) This is the common Greek word for being trustworthy, being faithful and reliable. In the Bible the word is more commonly used in a nominative form simply to mean faith, that is, the act of believing in God. By extension it can mean the quality of being faithful. The connection between the two concepts can include the fact that if one believes in God they will tend to be more trustworthy and reliable since their faith imbues them with a sense that God is watching and they are accountable. Further, they are trustworthy because true faith makes them more inclined to respect others and the commitments they make to them. As fruit of the Spirit fidelity comes as a result of the Spirits promptings that we live up to our commitments.
8. Gentleness πραΰτης (praotes) There are different ways that this word is used in the New Testament. Basically, it means to be submissive to God and to be humble enough to be taught by God. Toward others it means to be considerate. Another common way of translating this word in English is meekness. Aristotle defined meekness (πραΰτης ) as the mean between being too angry and not being angry enough. There is a place and a need for anger. Not all anger is sinful. It is right to be angry over injustice, for example. The meek person has authority over their anger. They are able to summon its energy but control its extremes. The Greek word here was also used to describe an animal that had been tamed. Hence meekness refers to us having tamed our anger.
9. Self control ἐγκράτεια (egkrateia) This fruit is sometimes called continence. This fruit or virtue was understood in Greek of one who had mastered their love and desire of pleasure. There is a place in life for pleasures and desires. Without them we would perish. Since the fall of man however, our desires are often inordinate and excessive. There is need for the virtue of self mastery that moderates and regulates them.
Now these are the nine fruits of the Spirit annunciated in Galatians 5. To these, Catholic catechetical tradition adds three by distinguishing:
10. Generosity - To be generous is similar to kindness, as set forth above, in that it is to give beyond what is required by justice. It is distinct from kindness in that it tends to refer to money and things whereas kindness is a little broader and includes matters of attitude and behavior as well as things.
Two More fruits are set forth in Catholic Tradition by seperating out two specific forms of continence:
11. Modesty refers to observing a proper reverence for mystery in terms of the body. Hence more private areas of the body are clothed in such a way as to keep hidden what is appropriately unveiled only in certain places or before certain people, e.g.: a spouse or sometimes a doctor, people of the same sex and so forth. Modesty may include not only covering certain parts of the body but also covering the shape of the body to some degree. Finally, modesty would also include things such as posture, behaviors related to the comportment of the body and language. The word modesty is related to the word mode. Hence, by modesty one observe a middle position between inappropriate disclosure and excessive prudishness. Standards of modesty allow for some variance between cultures and even within cultures. Hence the context of beach may call for different standard than the workplace and so forth.
12. Chastity Refers to the virtue wherein we exhibit proper sexual expression based on our state in life. For the single person, the member of a religious order and the priest, it involves total abstinence. For the married person it involves total fidelity to ones spouse.
Gal 5:22 Fructus autem Spiritus est caritas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas, 23 mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas. Adversus hujusmodi non est lex.
Thank you for posting...
I so needed to hear this...(and receive)
Like aimee5291 said, thank you, Mark. I, too, needed to hear this. A great thanks also to Msgr. Pope, who writes such excellent columns about the faith we love and hold dear.
|Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||English: Douay-Rheims|
|22.||ο δε καρπος του πνευματος εστιν αγαπη χαρα ειρηνη μακροθυμια χρηστοτης αγαθωσυνη πιστις||Fructus autem Spiritus est caritas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas,||But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity,|
|23.||πραοτης εγκρατεια κατα των τοιουτων ουκ εστιν νομος||mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas. Adversus hujusmodi non est lex.||Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law.|
Great post-—so needed
fantastic post. Thank you so much markomalley!
That is such beautiful scripture, “Against such there is no law” — brings a smile to my face.
[CATH/ORTH CAUCUS] From Mediocrity to Magnificence: A Meditation on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Sins Against the Holy Spirit [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Holy Spirit and Middlemen
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal
The Holy Spirit And Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Benedict XVI's Homily for Solemnity of Pentecost
Pentecost Past and Present
The Purpose of Pentecost: and the New Missionary Age of the Church
Pentecost: the Holy Spirit Comes
Pentecost on Mount Athos (where earthly time is one and the same as the eternal today of heaven)
Vigil of the Pentecost and Whitsunday
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit [Devotional]
Novena to the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]
The Holy Spirit: Pentecost
The Church's First Novena
Litany of the Holy Spirit for the election of a holy pope.
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