When I was young I learned that in addition to the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”, there were also other virtues to be developed by those on a spiritual path. These were called the “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”. As I have aged, I have come to regard these “fruits” as akin to my growth, not achieved by focused hard work but rather as the result of maturation – like fruit on a tree that needs the attention of the sun and rain and good soil in order to flourish. I can see that attention to and practice of the behaviors inherent in these virtues cause the “fruit” to manifest.
Paul gives us the list this morning (GAL 5), calling me to check in on the ripening of each in my heart and to give attention to those that still need time to mature. They are the following: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.