Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Third Hymn of Virtue: Goodness

There is an old saying:
 "The eyes are the windows of the soul."

Isn't this old saying true? It seems that we are able to look into someone's eyes and see if they are happy, sad, or troubled. We can get a sense if they are of a good or bad spirit. This of course, is not to judge a person's heart, for only God can do that, but the eyes definitely give us a glimpse into the spirit of a person.

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta saw Christ in the Poor. St. Charles de Foucauld saw Christ in those who persecuted him. St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes saw God as her "Joy."

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity could see the hidden mystery of the Trinity.

St. Therese saw God everywhere-in everything-in everyone.

Bernadette's eyes saw the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

One has only to look into the eyes of a saint to see the goodness within.

Today's subject of Goodness, a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is His spirit that we possess in which goodness becomes a part of us. It permeates us and becomes part of our personality, to the extent that others may observe the light of the Holy Spirit in us and remark, "He is so good!" Or, "She is so good!"

Church philosophers have much to say on this deep subject of Goodness. They reflect on the nature of creation and all things as coming from the one Good-God. I will leave you to the doctors of the Church if you wish to study the subject of Goodness in depth. I would highly recommend reading St. Augustine. For my part, I wish to give a simple reflection on the fruit of goodness in our lives.

So, what is a good person like?
A good person is a pure person with no hidden agenda. A good person is a trusting and childlike person but wise in discernment of spirits. A good person is just and merciful. A good person desires good for all, even for their enemies.

Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil. Cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit...Have the same attitude towards all. (Romans 12:16).

The above scripture passage from St. Paul is a lesson in fraternal charity. As Carmelites, we must remember that fraternal charity is an important part of living out our vocation. I would say it is the heart of our vocation, not just as secular Carmelites, but as baptized Christians. Love, or Charity, is the highest gift that we are to share with each other and the world. Fraternal charity flows from goodness.

Our Rule states:
The Secular Order sets before its members ideals, based upon the charisms and teachings of the Order's saintly Founders, which constitute their particular way in Christian holiness. These are; a deep sense of God's love; fidelity for contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails; and generosity in the practice of fraternal charity and the apostolate. They will place themselves under Our Lady's protection, and endeavor to live out these ideals in her presence.

A good person is a living example of the Good News of the Gospel. A good person manifests his goodness in works of charity. He lives the Beatitudes-the perfection of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Let us not grow weary of doing good; if we do not relax our efforts, in due time we shall reap our harvest. While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, but especially those of the household of the faith. (Galations 6:9-10)

I guess St. Paul is telling us that (spiritual) charity begins at home! As Secular Carmelites, let us love those of our household, of our own particular community. Let us discern if we are practicing fraternal charity.

An examination of conscience in light of fraternal charity:

*Do I pray for the priests and religious of the Order?

*Do I respect the leadership of my local community?

*Do I pray for the deceased members of the Order?

*Do I pray and reach out to the sick members of my community?

*Do I pray for the members of my community?

* Do I love the members of my community equally, or do I play 

*Do I keep in touch with the isolated members of my community?

So far, in this series of the Fruits of the Spirit we have talked about the gifts of Joy and Peace. We know that a good person is full of joy and peace. These good people are so filled with the Spirit, that others want to imitate them and possess these treasured gifts as well.

Let us cling to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who will transform our hearts to be like his own Good and Merciful Heart.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS


Julia said...

Wonnderful post...thank you so much!

Erin said...


This is beautiful and very inspiring! Thank you for sharing so earnestly with us the way to Christ!

God's Peace,