How can we improve our qualifications that were given to us by God? Kelly Guest resolves to foster the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
As a youth minister, I am often asked to write letters of recommendation. I love being able to laud the young people of my parish. Choosing a few of their good qualities, I give examples of how the young person displays such qualities. Then, I assure potential employers or colleges that this young person would be indeed an asset to their working or learning community.
Did you know we are God’s letters of recommendation?
[You are] shown to be a letter of Christ … written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
Because we are Christians, we promote and advocate for God to others by what we say and do.
Being the new year and a time for a little introspection, this Bible quote got me thinking: how good of a letter of recommendation am I for God?
“By their fruits you will know them,” Jesus says of His followers (Matthew 7:16). Are the fruits of the Holy Spirit blooming in me? To be honest, some more than others; and others, not so much.
There are, as you know, twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace. patience, benignity (kindness), goodness, longanimity (long-suffering), mildness, faith, modesty (humility), continence (self-control), and chastity. Twelve! That’s how many months there are in the year! Perfect.
Perfect for what? Twelve fruits in twelve months is perfect for a new year’s resolution. Let’s weed and prune and encourage the growth of these spiritual fruits. I know it is almost halfway through January already, but it is never too late to start.
Perhaps you have made a resolution already and are working hard at it—that’s great! Keep striving! Still, reflecting on a different fruit of the Holy Spirit each month and contemplating ways to encourage its growth would enhance what you are already doing, wouldn’t it?
Here’s what I envision: working on one fruit a month, I will fertilize with virtue and snip away vices and faults. For instance, this month, January, I hope to foster a spirit of joy. Therefore, I am making a concerted effort to practice the virtue of gratitude, thanking God for my many blessings, big and small. Likewise, I will be more conscientious of thanking others for their kindnesses towards me. I will, also, need to weed out the complaints that too readily escape my lips. A complaining heart cannot experience joy. On the other hand, a heart full of gratitude exudes joy.
In February, the month of St. Valentine, I will work on love. Through prayer and discernment, God will inspire me, I am sure, with ways to foster this most beautiful fruit of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps performing small signs of love will enable me to give more easily and lovingly of myself in bigger, more sacrificial ways. That’s my hope.
One month to foster and grow fruit. Common thought is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Even though scientists now say it is more like 66 days, I am sure with the Spirit’s help, my letter of recommendation will be polished and much improved by the end of the year.
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:4-5)
I just love that: “our qualification comes from God.” That is one heck of a statement to be able to have on a letter of recommendation. How am I qualified for this job/ this mission? God has given me my qualification. He has given and will continue to give me all that I need to accomplish whatever He is asking of me. I need only to accept His graces and practice the virtues to live a fruitful life. So fruitful that others will be able to read the letter of recommendation written in my heart.
Copyright 2022 Kelly Guest
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About the Author
Kelly Guest was blessed to be a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia for five years. There she received the many graces she draws upon today as a wife and mother of nine children. Wishing to share with other moms encouragement on our quest to become holy through motherhood, she blogs at Nun2Nine.com and CatholicMom.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram @nun2nine. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 1, 2021.