The Ninth Day of Christmas!

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul mentions in today's verse are, like the Nine Ladies of the old Christmas song, meant to dance, not just sit there.  Fruit is, after all, to be eaten.  More than that, it is to taste good and sweet.  Some of us approach the fruits of the Spirit in a mood of onerous legalism.  We do "good works" in the pinched and cold righteousness of a Puritan biddy handing out a penny to a beggar in the hope of "doing her duty."  We approach the life of grace with a Minimum Daily Adult Requirement attitude that asks, "What's the least I have to do — the absolute bare minimum — that will get me saved?"  The truly Christian life is a million miles from such an attitude.  Christ came to give life abundantly, not sparingly.  There is a fundamental generosity at the heart of the fruits of the Spirit.  An exultant exuberance that sees virtue not merely as a job to be slogged through, but as a sweet, good thing to be tasted.  Today, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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