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Come Holy Spirt

In the last decade or so, the Holy Spirit became foundation to the security of my faith. I remember, long ago, I felt repelled by incense and smoke, particularly while pregnant. Then, when in discussion with one of my children preparing for Confirmation, I came to a to connect keenly, intimately, with the image of the Holy Spirit as smoke, penetrating our every pore, getting into every single crevice.

I felt protected, covered, and the very thing that I used to dread, because the remedy for my feeling unsure if I’m doing all I can to do God’s will. Praying to the Holy Spirit to seep into my mind and heart, to take over, to show up where I can’t, to impart the faith to my children, and to provide a hedge of protection to them left me feeling deeply peaceful, resolute.

Later, the symbol of flames, the exact flames that brought torment and agony to so many, would be that very truth that fire is so very powerful, fast growing fed with air and breath, yet stamped out by covering up, taking the life and breath of it, unable to succeed. I’ve grown to see the parallel, the purpose, thus praying to the Holy Spirit to take over, cover, penetrate and bring life!

The way I understand it:

We are born with 12 Fruits: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity (kindness), goodness, longanimity (forbearance), mildness (gentleness), faith, modesty, continency (self-control), and chastity.

1. Charity (or Love) Charity encompasses our love for God and of our neighbors. This kind of love is not simply a passing feeling or infatuation. It is an unconditional kind of love that expects nothing in return. It puts the needs of others before our own and it manifests in concrete actions toward God and other people.

2. Joy We all want to be happy but the happiness found in earthly things is fleeting. The joy that is part of the 12 fruits is not an emotional state. Rather, it is a lasting kind of happiness that can only be realized when we put God at the center of our lives and if we believe that we will live our eternal life with Him.

3. Peace is tranquility that can be experienced when we put our complete trust in God. When we rely on God, we believe that he will provide for our needs and this relieves us from any anxious thoughts about the future.

4. Patience allows us to have compassion over people in spite of their flaws and weaknesses. This fruit comes from an understanding of our own imperfect state and how God has given us His unconditional love and mercy so we should do the same for others.

5. Kindness or benignity is more than being kind to others. It is having a heart that is willing to do acts of compassion and give to others above and beyond what we owe to them.

6. Goodness Being good involves constant renouncing of evil in our day to day actions. When we are good, we are constantly seeking the path of righteousness and strive to do God’s will even at the expense of earthly success.

7. Longanimity is being patient even when being provoked. While patience involves tolerance, longanimity means enduring quietly and remaining steadfast in the midst of attacks of others.

8. Mildness To be mild in behavior means having a heart of forgiveness and grace. It means not being easily provoked and choosing a response of meekness and peace rather than one that leads to revenge.

9. Faith is at the core of our Christianity. To have faith means living according to the will of God and believing that He is the master of our life.

10. Modesty Being modest means being humble. It is believing that any of our successes, blessings and talents are gifts from God. It also means being content with what we have and not harbor any selfish ambitions.

11. Continence means having temperance and self-control. It does not mean denying ourselves from what we need or want, it is the ability to exercise moderation in everything we do.

12. Chastity means giving ourselves to Christ completely whether as a priest, religious or layman. All vocations are called to have chaste in their way of living. Chastity also means indulging our physical desires within the right context such as being sexually pure before marriage and by remaining faithful to one’s spouse.

As a member of the Catholic Faith we are expected to manifest these twelve fruits in our day to day actions. It can be a struggle to remain steadfast and live a Christian way of life especially with all the mixed messages and negative influences that we receive from our culture. However this should only challenge us even more to cultivate our character.

the 7 gift given at Baptism, further perfected through confirmation. From my friend, a wiser woman I call my friend, shared her simple lesson with me:

  1. Seek knowledge, so we then understand. When one is wise, we’d avoid offending God and Fear to the Lord. Then one is Pious and when one has all of those gift, we now how the strength and fortitude to give council.

These gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. They are granted to us during our baptism and perfected through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

gift of wisdom produces fruit of Charity

· wisdom places all things before you in their relation to God…thus produces within you the fruit of Charity, the true love of God and your neighbor

gift of understanding produces fruit of peace

· keen insight into meaning

gift of knowledge produces joy

· shows you how to set a right value on all things as viewed in the light of Divine Revelation

gift of council produces fruit of Benignity/goodness

· shows us what to do or to avoid …moves us to be kind and considerate, ready to do good to all.

gift of fortitude produces fruit of patience/longanimity

-imparts special strength to overcome all difficulties – renders you patient and long suffering

gift of piety produces faith and mildness

-moves us to give God the love and service we owe

gift of fear of Lord produces fruit of modesty, continency and chastity

-makes us sensible of our own nothingness – moderates all desires and appetites

Recollection means bringing together what was a scattered, reestablishing interior order, controlling our senses as they tend towards dispersion even in things which are good or indifferent; it means having God as the center of our intuitions in what we’re doing and planning.

I hope this inspires you to pray to the Holy Spirit, seeking a hedge of protection and peace.


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