Monday, March 25, 2013

Is It Getting Fruity in Here?

sub-heading:  Musings That Prove I Am Not a Theology Scholar

For reasons I can't quite sort out, I have never been a full-out fan of the Holy Spirit.  It sounds pretty bad, but let me explain.  I've always felt pretty solid about God the Father and God the Son, but some how, years ago, I got it into my head that the Holy Spirit was a part of our Faith that was more for Catholics that gathered in open fields to sing Kumbaya.  He's a spirit, the breath of God, a mystical bond between the Father and Son, the love that flows between them... it all just sounded a little too peace, love, and happiness for me and I just couldn't get into it.  It wasn't as if I totally dismissed the Holy Spirit in a worthy-of-excommunication sort of way, it was more like I kept him at arm's length.

Fast forward many years to me married with children.  Raising children is the thing in my life that makes me frantic and flustered and fed-up, makes me question everything about myself, doubt myself to the extreme, give in to the worst parts of my personality, and mess up big time.  Before I had children I never yelled, stomped my foot, rolled my eyes at another human being, or pondered things like, "will taking away the Twizzlers as a reward for toilet success during Holy Week emphasize the sacrificial beauty of uniting our sufferings to Christ's, or will it be the direct cause of toddler toilet-use regression and motherly frustration??"  Amidst all the frustration and chaos (mostly of my own fabrication) in my life, I never thought much about the Holy Spirit until one Sunday morning (two years ago, maybe?) when we were on our way to Mass and the kids had been especially rambunctious all morning.  I recall praying a somewhat desperate prayer in the van, "There is nothing more I can do.  Please, please, please Holy Spirit, descend upon these children and manifest yourself within them all through Mass - Peace and Fear of the Lord would be good manifestations.  Thank you, and Amen.  p.s. - Please, please please.  Amen."  (because the week before had been one of those Masses where we entered as a family and left as a three ring circus, and I could see it all again in my mind's eye.)  I don't really remember the specs on the kids at that Mass, but I do recall my own demeanor - I felt cheerful and patient with my family, faithful and focused on the service. I also recall praising and thanking the Spirit afterwards, and smiling all morning long.  Something had happened at that Mass, and we hadn't even sung Kumbaya.  

Since then, I think I've been warming up to the Third Person of the Trinity, and hope I'm  forgiven for some of my previous misunderstandings.  The more I prayed to the Spirit, the more I realized it was repeatedly for help.  He has power, and I needed some of it, especially if I was going to survive motherhood.   I would hear myself snap at one of my children, and think to myself, "I need to be more patient and gentle.  Next time I will be."  I was doing an awful lot of telling myself I would do things differently, but then I would fail again.  Pondering the Holy Spirit, I recalled, "He has fruits to bestow, doesn't he??"  Ohhhhhhhhhhh... perhaps instead of believing I have the capability of becoming more patient, gentle, kind, or joyful with the simple flip of a mental switch, I should be asking for these things in prayer.  (you can see that I'm still very young spiritually that I'm just catching on to these things...)

I recently put a list of the fruits of the Spirit on a card above my sink - this seems to be the hub of my daily activity, and therefore the perfect place for the reminder.  I need these fruits.  I need to pray for them more.  I long to be more fruity, er, I mean, fruitful.  Having the visual reminder right there has allowed me to identify my missed opportunities for "fruitful behavior" during the day, to recognize my mistakes and to pinpoint particular fruits that must be cultivated.  I'm definitely not attempting to be more fruitful on my own, here.  I whole-heartedly desire the Spirit's divine aid - plant the seeds, so to speak, provide me with opportunities to practice, nudge me in the the right direction, empower me to change, fuel my desire to change my heart, my attitude, my words, my actions, grant that they may be fruitful - that is, full of Your fruits.  

I need the Holy Spirit in my life.  I'm not looking for flighty or fanciful, or swaying in harmony to songs of "peace, love, and happiness" (though that is good summer-time bonfire fun.)  I'm speaking here of power and assistance.  Because a lot of the time, especially as regards raising children, I often feel like, "There's nothing more I can do," and the Spirit speaks to me (through a list above my sink)... "Check out this list right here.  I've got the power and I've got your back, and we're working on these together."

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your 
faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your spirit and they shall be created.  
And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Come Holy Spirit, grant me your fruits so that I may be a more fruitful wife and mother - a woman of joy, self-control, gentleness, generosity, patience, peace.  May your ultimate fruit be my transformed heart - a heart which does all for the greater glory of God.  Amen.


The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit
forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory.
CCC 1832


  1. Beautiful, Theresa! I can relate to so much of this. I decided recently that it would be really helpful for all of us to have Scripture quotes in strategic places round the house so I'm hoping to get on that soon. I need all the reminders I can get.

    1. Thanks, Mary, especially since I almost didn't post it thinking it was the worst rubbish I've ever written. I've also always wanted to have Scripture quotes intentionally placed around the home... have you ever seen H.S.'s many chalk boards - might be perfect for this!!

  2. Great your honesty. The visual reminders are a super idea...I do this with vocabulary for the kids and before you know it the words appear in their writing..the more you see something,the more it sinks in.....another great post!!! Lisa
    Do tell about the chalkboard. Is it the paint?? I use poster size post it paper ...Yes, interesting "room decorum".....!!

    1. Lisa - I have a friend who's used chalkboard paint to paint various size shapes on walls all over her house - I think she regularly changes the quotes, scripture, fun drawings - inspiration and fun for her kids. I'd love to do it, but am nervous about committing to paint.

  3. Great post - I too, am blown away often when I realize such simple things as, "wait - I can't just be patient on my own, I have to pray about it!" Thanks for the reminder :-)

  4. Beautiful. I've been learning a lot about acquiring patience etc too (meaning I'm reminded every day I need serious help, ha!). The Pentecost before I got married I remember thinking about how marriage was supposes to make you holy, but I felt so incapable of improvement. The Holy Spirit told me very clearly, "I will do this in you." I had to say yes but the work was His. I've had a devotion to the third person of the Trinity ever since, although I am kind of fickle and halfhearted when it comes to maintaining devotions.

    1. Reminds me of the Scripture verse, "He who began this good work in you will be faithful to complete it." We are never left alone in the pursuit of holiness!


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