Fruit of the Spirit

St. Paul : " But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace,......(Galatians 5:22-23)

St. Paul : " But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, [ longanimity, mildness], faith, modesty, continency, [ chastity ]." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Moreover, there is no doubt that this list of twelve - three of the twelve are omitted in several Greek and Latin manuscripts - is not to be taken in a strictly limited sense, but, according to the rules of Scriptural language, as capable of being extended to include all acts of a similar character.

The number of the twelve fruits may be a reference written in Apocalypse 22:2 " On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year."

Since, however, a fruit is something that proceeds from a source as from a seed or root, the difference between these fruits must be gathered from the various ways in which the Holy Spirit proceeds in us: which process consists in this, that the mind of man is set in order, first of all, in regard to itself; secondly, in regard to things that are near it; thirdly, in regard to things that are below it.

The charity, patience, mildness, etc., of which the Apostle speaks in this passage, are not then the virtues themselves, but rather their acts or operations; for, however perfect the virtues may be, they cannot be considered as the ultimate effects of grace, being themselves intended, inasmuch as they are active principles, to produce something else, i.e. their acts.

Further, in order that these acts may fully justify their metaphorical name of fruits, they must belong to that class which are performed with ease and pleasure; in other words, the difficulty involved in performing them must disappear in presence of the delight and satisfaction resulting from the good accomplished.

Let's follow a short precept is given by St Augustine:" Love, and do what you will" (et fac quod vis): whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.

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