What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?
St. Paul first enumerates these in the Letter to the Galatians. There are twelve of them. They are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity. He explains in chapter 5 the proper use of freedom. The Galatians were divided within the community and the result is a litany of vice and corruption. The law of love had been set aside and in its place greed, selfishness, division and other diseases of the spirit are given free reign. These are the evils that enslave us, denying us the basic freedom we need to live our faith. Freedom is not a license to give in to the baser drives of our being, but rather an ability to choose the higher gifts and the life of faith. It is not a freedom from, but rather a freedom for. We are freed from the slavery of sin for the life of faith. The virtues St. Paul lists are the very ones that we often associate with saints, who live these virtues in extraordinary ways in very ordinary lives. The fruits of the Spirit are the way we measure our growth in holiness and in faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the fruits of the Holy Spirit as perfections that the Spirit forms in us as “the first fruits of eternal glory” (#1832). In other words, these are the virtues that are the result of living our faith and bringing it to perfection.
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