The Fruit of the Spirit
21 June 2022
Saint Paul tells us his letter to the “churches of Galatia” (our first reading this Sunday, chapter 5, verses 13-25), that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. The fruit of the Spirit is what the Holy Spirit does in us. In other words, the more we are moved by the Holy Spirit, the more we are children of God (“all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” Romans 8:14), and children of God are loving and joyous and peaceful and patient, etc. A life transformed in Christ looks like this.
If we find ourselves lacking in any of these qualities, we ought earnestly and hope-fully to beseech the Holy Spirit. We must do our part by seeking to become more virtuous, that is, interiorly stronger. And, we must intend to love. Yet, building upon our efforts and beyond them, the Holy Spirit is at work, (re)fashioning our hearts. Indeed, Dietrich Bonheoffer, the German pastor-theologian, executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 for his supposed association with a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, says, “The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it.”
Let us be open to the loving action of the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. Let us rejoice that this fruit, if a gift of God, depends, first and foremost, on our side of the equation, on a deep desire. We can all, always desire. It is the act of deliberately wanting, beyond any feelings, which no person and no circumstance—exterior or interior—can stop. This is really good news!
Yours in Christ,
pilgrim of desire with you
Adore and then Partake
June 14, 2022
Saint Augustine (+430) says, “No one partakes of this Flesh before he or she has adored it.” This coming Sunday, Corpus Christi Sunday, before we partake, we shall adore Jesus in the Eucharist.
This feast day was established in 1264. In certain churches, so to honor Jesus in the Eucharist, following the Eucharistic celebration, there is a Eucharistic procession. In pondering this noble tradition, however, I found myself wondering about the order of service, the sequence and progression of the liturgy. And the question arose: how fitting is such a procession after the Mass, having been loved and empowered by Christ in Communion, and sent forth to carry Him into the world in the final “dismissal”? A procession of the Blessed Sacrament (which, by the way, can indeed be a compelling testimony to neighbors) is a time of honor of Christ in this gift. Does it make sense, however, to do this before or after receiving the gift?
For the second year in a row, as a prayerful “experiment”, we will have a time of honor of Christ in this gift before we partake. Instead of a procession, we will, essentially, extend the pause before receiving Communion, to enjoy the Real Presence and to ask that our hearts be readied for encounter. The consecrated host will be displayed in what we call a monstrance (from the Latin verb monstrare, “to show”). Then, we shall partake.
Yours in Christ,