THEME: FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT [Part II]
Solemn feast of Pentecost
Last Sunday, we considered what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit in the lives of Jesus Christ and other persons in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Today, we shall apply what we have learnt to our personal lives.
TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT:
From the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, we learnt that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He may enable us to:
- Receive divine knowledge or revelation like St. Elizabeth;
- Praise God like Zechariah;
- Prophesy like Zechariah;
- Have victory over evil like Jesus Christ;
- Faithfully and successfully execute our mission like Jesus;
- Speak in foreign tongues like the apostles and disciples;
- Proclaim boldly like the disciples;
- Defend our faith with courage and wisdom like St. Peter and the others;
- Be a true witness of Christ like St. Paul;
- Endure persecution like St. Paul and the disciples;
- Render faithful service to the Church like the first seven deacons;
- Receive grace, faith and other gifts like St. Stephen; and
- Be kind, self-controlled and forgiving like St. Stephen.
Knowledge, wisdom, prophecy, fortitude (courage), faith, speaking in tongues, working of miracles are among the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Isaiah 11:1-3), whereas kindness, self-control and patience (forgiveness) are parts of the fruit of the Spirit. In short, then, to be filled with the Spirit is to exhibit some of the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit.
NINE PARTS OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Generally, one person cannot have all the gifts, but he/she is expected to exhibit all the nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned by St. Paul in Gal. 5:22-23:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….
As seen above, St. Paul speaks of the “fruit” in the singular and uses the singular verb, “is”, though he mentions nine virtues (as the fruit of the Spirit). For illustration, we could say that just as a mango fruit has several parts (the peel, the fibre, the seed and the juice), so the fruit of the Spirit has several parts (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, gentleness and self-control).
By seeing these virtues as parts of the one fruit of the Spirit, St. Paul teaches us one cannot have some and leave others out. In other words, just as all the parts of a mango make up a complete fruit, so one has to display all the nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit. The lacking of one or some of the virtues could be likened to an insect-infested (mango) fruit. Not many would enjoy such a fruit. Similarly, we neither truly please the Spirit of God nor attract other souls (as a wholesome fruit may do) to Christ when we lack some of the virtues.
Beloved, firstly, those who are yet to identify the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them should intensify their prayers and seek counselling from their priests or spiritual directors. Secondly, those who have identified them but hardly use them should re-commit themselves to the service of the Lord and His church. Thirdly, those who are using their gifts should thankfully remain in touch with the Holy Spirit for greater services. Finally, each person should identify the part(s) of the fruit of the Spirit that he/she lacks and, with prayers, counselling and personal effort, seek the graces to begin to exhibit the virtues to the glory of God. Amen.
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis