The fruit of the Spirit . . .

Isn’t the fruit listed here enticing? We all want more peace, patience, and self-control. But just as in nature, the fruit of the Spirit is the product of a long growth process. An orange ripens slowly, from flower to bud to mature citrus. It takes time for the water, light, and heat to bring it to its fullest growth. So too with the fruit of the Spirit. Few people proceed directly from furious outbursts to unflappable self-control or from envy to the unshakeable peace of Christ. God knows that, and he is infinitely patient as his fruit in us matures.

Who better to water your thirsty spirit than God? As you spend time with him in prayer, he pours out—rather, he generously drenches you—with his love. That love acts as water, softening the soil of your heart to receive the seeds of the fruit he wants to grow in you. Daily, receive the gentle sprinkling of his love. Though perhaps you don’t notice it happening at first, over time your heart will become arable and fertile.

Along with water, the fruit of the Spirit in you needs light. As you read Scripture or hear it proclaimed at Mass, the Holy Spirit shines the light of Christ into your heart and mind. Read slowly. Listen intently. Allow God’s word of truth to shine as fully as possible in you. Read a spiritual book occasionally, or the writings of holy men and women, lives of the saints, or reflections by wise authors. Underline or note the things in them that stir your heart. Spend time quietly basking in the light of the words that strike you.

And heat. Fruit ripens in heat. In your life, that heat might be illness, sorrows, or difficulties of some kind. It might be stress or uncertainty or loneliness. It might be that irritating habit of your spouse or the continual criticism of a coworker. But you have been—you are being—watered by the love of God. He will always sustain you through the heat in your life. Though uncomfortable, perhaps even painful or seemingly unbearable, the heat will in time bring forth fruit. Christ is in you. Let him bear fruit in your life!

“Holy Spirit, thank you for the water, light, and heat in my life as you cultivate your fruit in me.”

Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 11:42-46


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