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The fruits of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, “Giver of gifts”, let us enjoy our fruits

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The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not an ethereal life force.  He is not impersonal or unthinkable.  The Holy Spirit is a “Person”, equal in every way to God the Father and God the Son.  He is “Lord” and He gives life, and He is the true interior teacher and sanctifier.  Saint Augustine affirms that the Holy Spirit is the gift of God to all those that, because of Him, love God.  He is the “Person gift” and, being the Person gift, He is the inexhaustible source of numerous gifts, fruits, and charisms.  Because of this we invoke Him: “Come, giver of gifts”. 


“The Holy Spirit is the soul, the lifeblood of the Church and of every single Christian:  He is the Love of God who makes our hearts His dwelling and enters into communion with us.  The Spirit Himself is ‘the gift of God’ par excellence (cf. John 4:10).  He is a gift of God and, in turn, communicates various spiritual gifts to whoever welcomes him.  The Church identifies seven, a number that symbolically means fullness, completeness” (Catechesis of Pope Francis, April 9, 2014).  Traditionally one speaks of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) attributed, in the first place, to the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 11:1-2) in whom they are fully realized.  The awaited Messiah in the Davidic dynasty, the Offspring of Jesse, Father of David, was seen filled with these gifts in order to exercise His rule according to God’s own heart.  The Holy Spirit is the power of God, His active strength at work.  Whoever is baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit recognizes His power and role in the realization of the Will of God (Mt 28:19).  With Baptism we are reborn as children of God.  We become Christians, that is, anointed with the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ.  With Baptism the Spirit gives us His gifts so that, grafted to the “true vine”, we may bear fruit.


The gifts of the Holy Spirit, infact, are like a tree that little by little bears its delicious fruit.  Saint Paul speaks clearly about these fruits in his letter to the Galatians:  “The acts of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like…In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:19-23).  Saint Paul speaks of the “fruit” of the Spirit to emphasize the unity of values.  The first three fruits -  love, joy, and peace - concern the interior.  They are characteristics that the person experiences interiorly.  The second three - patience, kindness, and generosity - are also reflected in the exterior and are perceived by others that benefit from them.  The last three - faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - are the characteristics that please God the most.  They all belong to the nature of God and every believer must strive to realize them in their own lives.  If the vocation of the Christian is holiness, the gifts of the Spirit serve to facilitate the practice of the virtues, both theological and moral.  We creatures are “nothing”, and that’s why in the Sequence of the Holy Spirit we say:  “Without Your Spirit there is nothing without guilt”.  Therefore, only in Christ can we bear fruit and grow in the image of God.  “Let anyone who thirsts come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’” (John 7:37-38).  Jesus said this refering to the Spirit that those who believe in Him would receive. 


Also in the diaries of Luisa, Jesus presents us with a wonderful and meaningful image, able to make us understand how, only if incorporated in Him, we can bear much fruit.  Jesus shows Luisa a tree trunk with three distinct roots coming out of His heart.  And from His heart, this trunk projected into Luisa’s heart and, emerging from it, formed many beautiful branches, laden with flowers, fruits, pearls, and precious stones shining like bright stars.  Then Jesus explains to Luisa that the three roots seen sprouting from the tree are faith, hope, and charity.  The trunk comes out from Jesus and imbeds itself in the heart of Luisa:  this means that there is no good that souls possess which does not come from Jesus.  So after faith, hope, and charity, the first growth that this trunk does is to make known that every good comes from God, and that of themselves, they have nothing other than their own nothingness.  Where this knowledge lacks, the trunk produces neither branches, nor fruits, nor any other good.  The branches that this tree contains, with the whole array of flowers, fruits, pearls, and precious stones, are all different virtues that the soul can possess.  Now who has given life to such a beautiful tree?  Of course the roots.  This means that faith, hope, and charity embrace everything.  They contain all of the virtues, so much so that they are placed as base and foundation of the tree and without them one cannot produce any other virtue.


From the moment in which we are born again in Christ and the love of God is poured into our hearts, we are enabled to bear fruit and make it grow.  Only the Holy Spirit bends us to the love of God and renders us capable of withstanding the trials that life holds for us.  Trials are like the pruning that allows a tree to produce big and ripe fruit.  Jesus again says to Luisa that if the tree is not pruned, it makes a fine display of foliage and flowers, but as soon as the frost comes or the wind blows, the tree does not have sufficient spirit and strength to sustain so many flowers in order to change them into fruits.  The flowers then fall and the tree remains stripped.


We know we are imperfect and what we lack in character, but truly recognizing which parts of the fruit we lack, we must commit ourselves to making it grow.  We must make sure that the fruit of the Spirit is developed through faith:  it’s necessary to believe that we can change our character.  We must not let our miseries bring us down.  Jesus, in fact, consoles us when he explains to Luisa the good effects of our weaknesses, affirming that nothing came out of His hands that is not good.  Rather, He created the human nature beautiful and precious, and if the soul sees it muddy, rotten, weak, abominable, this serves the human nature like manure serves the earth.  That filth serves to fertilize the land, to make the plants grow, and to render the fruits more beautiful and delicious.  Thus God created the human nature with these miseries to reorder it in the order of all the virtues.  Otherwise it would remain without the exercise of true virtues.


“He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  If we believe that we can produce much fruit and we can thus change our character abiding in the Lord, this will happen.  We will increase in ourselves the characteristics of the nature of God and we will grow in holiness.  For this reason, meditations relating to the individual fruits of the Spirit will be published soon.  Viewed in the light of the Divine Will, passages from the writings of Luisa will be taken into account, inexhaustible source of wondrous knowledges with which Jesus intends to expand the boundaries of the Kingdom within us.



Tonia Abbattista
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