Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit
SSJE Audio Podcast Series:
In his Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul describes what makes for living life abundantly, what he calls “the fruit of the Spirit.” This “fruit” is God’s gift to us: a gift to be received, cultivated, and shared. This nine-part audio series explores love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. This is about thriving in the changing seasons of life.
Presenter: Curtis Almquist has been a Brother of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist for more than 30 years. He resides at SSJE’s monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
To accompany the series we are also inviting members of the Fellowship to form and join some small discussion groups online. To start with we are suggesting creating three groups -
- New to the Fellowship (members who joined in the last 12 months)
- Clergy who are Fellowship members
- “Senior” Fellowship members (those of us over 65)
Episodes (will refesh each week)
Many thanks to Robert Humphreville, monastery organist
Br. Curtis Almquist introduces this nine-part podcast series which follows Saint Paul’s names for “the fruit of the Spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.[ii] His hope is that you will find in this series the seeds of encouragement to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit within your soul with practices that will help you thrive in the changing seasons of life.
Click on the title to see the full text.
There’s no kind of pre-existing condition that you must satisfy before Jesus will call you, include you, make plans with you, love you. Jesus comes to us, like to simple fishermen, and what Jesus finds in us he adores. We need not change to be loved by Jesus; but being loved by Jesus will change everything. Love makes us real. Love, only love, heals. And what we see and hear in Jesus is God’s love… for you: love without qualification. And that’s amazingly good news. Click on the title to see the full text.
The gift of joy is a paradox. The Greek word literally means “for the heart, in its deepest place of passion and feelings, to be well.” Joy often brings a deep sense of delight. Whenever you are around people who are very joyful, you will likely see tears. These are tears of joy, wonder, gratitude, satisfaction that come from a deep place in a person’s soul, when someone has experienced a kind of greatness so amazing, almost too great to behold. The soul simply bursts with a release of ecstasy streaming down their face. There is also the gift of joy that comes from the alchemy of tears and suffering. Click on the title to see the full text.
In various seasons of our life, the compromise of our peace may be huge – as if our emotions were kidnapped by something or someone. At other times, the impediment to peace may actually be quite small, but nonetheless distracting or irritating, like a pebble in the shoe. The world looks for peace on external standards. Jesus speaks about the internal experience of peace, peace from the inside out. In very troubling, unpeaceful times, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Click on the title to see the full text.
Living life patiently is not the only way to navigate life. Some situations we face in life require aggressive responses now. Meanwhile patience also needs to be an active word in your soul’s vocabulary or you will miss being present to a great deal of life. Life entails so much waiting. When the answer is not forthcoming, when something is not being resolved, when the door isn’t being opened, when someone is not acquiescing, when you have lost any sense of controlling your circumstances, there is also an invitation to wait expectantly. Click on the title to see the full text.
The English word “kind” comes from the same etymological root as “kin.” We are to live kindly with one another because we belong to one another. We are humankind. Kindness arises from compassion, and the memory that we are all kin. Kindness conveys dignity, by bequeathing worth to others. Kindness rescues people in their aloneness and misery. We read in the Letter to the Ephesians, “Be kind to one another.” Start with yourself, and your kindness will flow like fragrance from a flower. Click on the title to see the full text.
For us to be fully and freely alive, we need the inflow of God’s provision, and in many forms; however we also need a complementary outflow of God’s provision, from our own life to others, otherwise our soul will become bracken. We have been created in the image of God, who shares life with boundless generosity. We participate in life on God’s terms by cherishing the gifts of life, not clinging to them, not hoarding, but sharing from God’s bounty entrusted to us to steward. There is always more. Our generosity enables others to know life as a gift, and invites them to live their own lives thankfully. Gratitude transforms life; generosity enables it. Click on the title to see the full text.
Faith comes from the future, from knowing that God is ahead of us. Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” and Jesus goes on ahead, inviting us to follow. He assures us of his presence, his provision, his power, the eternal place he is preparing to share with us. Trust comes to us from the past: from what we have seen, known, remembered, and can recognize again. We are presented with an invitation to respond to God’s presence and God’s action in our life – our life as it has been, as it is now, and as it will be. Faith and trust in God come as gifts, God’s gifts, at God’s initiative, revealing God’s presence, God’s provision, God’s future. Click on the title to see the full text.
In humility we recognize that we hold no monopoly on being the giver, the one in power, the one in charge of the situation. Jesus said that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” We can fall prey to a kind of pride that sees ourselves as a generous giver but as a reticent receiver. We deny others this blessing if we obstruct their share of being both a giver and a receiver in our presence. Click on the title to see the full text.
What happens when our life is out of control? At best, our life will be disappointing, unfocused, and unfulfilled; at worst, we create trouble, and run the risk of losing our companions in life or getting lost ourselves. A “rule of life” mitigates living life regretfully, and gives us a rhythm so we can live fully and freely within our own skin and alongside those who companion us. A “rule of life” is like a garden trellis, offering support and direction for a plant, helping it to grow upright and blossom. Click on the title to see the full text.