12 Days Spiritual Fruits
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
All who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit bear these fruits to one extent or another. Each Christian lives with different levels of each of these fruit. The journey of growth in the Christian faith seeks to enhance each of these fruit. Each fruit is increased through various spiritual exercises.
Each fruit builds on top of each other. All of them are based, first of all, on love. Christ's love brings the Holy Spirit to us in our Baptism. The promise of salvation and everlasting life brings joy. Christian joy celebrates the peace that our Baptism brings. With such love, joy and peace, a Christian is given patience to bear with the sinfulness of this world. This patience breeds kindness and goodness to everyone, believer and unbeliever alike. All of these things manifest themselves in a Christian's faithfulness to Jesus. A faithful Christian is gentle as he or she exercises self-control in the face of temptation. All of it begin with love.
Each fruit grows through exercise. Most of these exercises come through trial and tribulation. You can't grow in peace, patience, faithfulness or self-control with trial and tribulation. Trial and tribulation proves these gifts. Just look at Job. He had such great trials and tribulations, but he's characterized as "patient as Job."
"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Jesus says these words shortly before going off to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He is betrayed by one of His own disciples. With everything that would go on over the course of the next twenty-four hours, Jesus still pointed His disciples to Himself as the source for strength to grow in faith and then in all of these spiritual fruit. Amen.