The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
At a Day of Reflection Carmelite Fr. Stephen Sanchez led us through a meditation on the nine Fruits of the Spirit. These are the attributes of God that the Holy Spirit gives us, develops in us and inspires us to give away. As Fr. Stephen guided us through each of the nine fruits, I visualized a fruit basket filled with specific fruits to remind me of each fruit of the Spirit in my life.
- Love is a red pear. If you hold it stem down this beautiful fruit resembles a heart. There are many kinds of love in our lives, as there are many varieties of pears – Bartlett, Asian, D’anjou – but none as rich, tasty or with such a beautiful deep color as a red pear of God’s unconditional love.
- Joy is found in a variety of apples, as joy is found in many forms and places in our lives. It is loud and crunchy! A red delicious apple makes a quick healthy snack or a lunchbox treat. There are gala or Fuji apples for salads and pies. My favorite is the granny apple, the joy I share with my grandchildren.
- Peace is a mango. It sits quietly in the bottom of the fruit basket, waiting for you. It is soft, mellow, smooth, and calm and invites you to sit down and savor it slowly.
- Patience is a grapefruit. It takes patience to dig out the fruit of the grapefruit, bite by bite. This is one of the most beneficial and most neglected of fruits.
- Kindness is a banana. We demonstrate kindness spontaneously and quietly to a small child when we hand him or her a banana we have peeled for them so they can effortlessly eat the fruit.
- Goodness is a big bowl of blueberries. When I looked more closely at the image of the fruit basket, I saw that the bowl was the chalice on the altar, a concentration of goodness and holiness. We also find blueberries hiding in unexpected places such as a donut, a muffin, a pancake or in the bottom of a berry sundae. So in ourselves and those around us we can find hidden goodness, unexpected holiness if we look carefully.
- Faithfulness is a lemon. It is tart and often sour to us in the events of our life. But we can squeeze the lemon and make lemonade of its fruit as we remain steadfast to our commitments to the people we love.
- Gentleness belongs to the most fragile fruit, red raspberries. Handle them with extra tender loving care and enjoy them slowly in small bites. Raspberries blend well with blueberries as goodness blends with gentleness.
- Self-control resembles a pineapple. It takes a lot of time and work before you can taste the fruit from a fresh pineapple. Yet the discipline of completing the rigorous task of cutting away the tough prickly outer layer yields a fruit you savor like none other.
By visualizing the Fruits of the Spirit as the fruits in our daily life, we are more aware of how the Holy Spirit is developing his fruits in us. This makes us more willing and ready to give them away as we pass around the basket of the abundant fruits of the Spirit growing within us.