I have a story to tell. If you have been reading my blog posts you already know that by now. My daddy used say, “Don’t do anything that you cannot write in the newspaper.” I always listened to my daddy. I think my daddy knew before I did that I would be a writer and a speaker. Although, I think that daddy thought I would have a talk show like “The View.” Instead, I speak on Christian television, radio, at moms groups and in churches about my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ.
St. Catherine said, “Bring people to Jesus and bring Jesus to people.” I learned early on in my life that the Saints knew more than even my daddy, at least about Jesus. I always listen to the saints. Then I try to put into practice what they said. I also read about the saints and try to imitate what they did. The saints were friends of God. If you want to be a friend of God too, get to know the saints and learn from them.
I am here to proclaim Good News! The Good News is Christ in us our hope of glory. The saints put their hope in God alone. They lived in Him and He lived in them. They did not only tell the Good News; they also lived the Good News through God’s grace. If you want to follow Jesus you must set your heart toward heaven and live a Godly life by practicing virtue.
What is my Good News for the day? The Good news is, “There is no Magic Wand.” You may be wondering what that even means. Read on because I do have a point, which is to politely inform you that there is no magic wand. How is that Good News? At this point some of you are sure you would rather have a magic wand right about now rather than Good News? You probably want to take that magic wand and say the magic words to make me disappear. No, don’t delete or you will never know the reason for writing this post. Anything that is worthwhile and fruitful takes focus, hard work, effort, because that is how one grows.
I blog about accessorizing in virtue. I speak about growing in character. So I thought you might want to know how you can become a Godly Gal, one who is a virtuous woman who walks in grace without a magic wand. Pray tell! I think I will. One summer my husband Deacon Pat were speaking on our favorite subject, “Discovering Your God Gifts.” We shared about how you can pour these gifts out to build the church. In preparation of this talk, I thought a lot about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we receive at Confirmation, freely given and freely received. However we must know our gifts to use them.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are in a different category altogether. We must grow the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God gives us the seeds but we are responsible to grow them. One must water, weed, fertilize and yes even harvest those fruits. Once ripe we are commissioned by God to pour them out to all we meet. Then if God calls us to, we can teach others how to do the same.
What are the fruits of the Spirit? The fruits of the Spirit are in Galatians 5: 22. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How do we grow these fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives? We grow them by knowing what to do, then by doing it through God grace. In other words, practice makes perfect. We must do what is right until it because a habit, a good habit. We must patiently do the will of God. These fruits must become a part of our character. It takes prayer, study, hard work, and practice. It also takes repententance and humility. If at first you do not succeed try, try again. We must be willing to get back up when we fall. As Winston Churchill famously said,” Never give up! Never ever give up.”
One day I was grocery shopping and I happened to be in the fruit department. I heard the Holy Spirit speak in His still small voice,” I am going to give you the fruit of self-control.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I was so overcome with the fruit of joy that I was about to jump for joy. Instead I decided to ask a question, “How are you going to give me self-control, Lord,” It was more of a dare than a question. I knew I desperately need that fruit, since I was lacking in self -control. The answer came before I barely got the question out. God said, “I am going to give you the fruit of the self-control just like I gave you the fruit of patience.” I decided not to jump after all, nor run, nor leap either. I just took a pause and a deep breath. Then I took a trip down memory lane.
I recounted the day when God began to plant the fruit of patience in my heart. It was in the seventies. I, a new mom, had a two week old girl named Tarolyn and an almost two year old boy named Tyler. I was getting ready to buckle them both up for safety, when Tyler said, “Mommy I want to buckle up myself!” He said it with an exclamation point at the end of his sentence. This now became a daily choice to let Tyler buckle up all by himself. I purposed to exercise my self-control. I forced a pretend smile. Some days it was easier to do than others. On a good day I would respond rightly with a, “Sure son, go ahead. You are such a big boy.” Tyler tried and tried again. Try he did until he mastered the skill. Tyler became a, “I want to do it myself champion.” Tyler lead the way and all of his siblings followed after him learning new skills, all by themselves. My children learned to do many things; from toilet training to homework, from driving a car to living on their own. I was glad I chose to patiently let go and let them fly their wings.
Along the way I grew in patience as they grew in independence and responsibility. The results were good. Our journey together was step by step walking on an uphill road towards virtue. At first I found myself first counting ten under my breath, as Tyler buckled himself. As I grew in self -control, I was able wait patiently. I tried to avoid the temptation to hurry him towards success. By encouraging the growth in learning new skills instead of correcting, or rushing them, they learned quickly.
There was no magic wand to help me grow in patience. There was no magic wand to help my children learn new skills either. No magic wand to aid us in growing in virtue and becoming more like Christ. No magic wand. Growth in character instead is a daily choice. We must choose virtue over vice. We must learn from the words of St. John the Baptist, “We must decrease and He must increase within us.” It is then that we know, “Christ in us is our hope of glory.” Once virtue is mastered it is then that we can feed the multitudes the bread of life.
God was right. I grew in self-control, just like I grew in patience. As I grew in virtue I knew that there is no magic wand. I learned instead that God is molding us into the likeness of His Son Jesus. Jesus gave His life for the whole world. Jesus walked in virtue and grace. The Father loves us so much that He will teach us how to walk in virtue and grace too. We must be still in prayer, let God speak to us in His still voice, then, “Do whatever He tells us.”
Keep on doing what is right and in due time you will reap a harvest. The harvest will be so great that it will feed the multitudes. What are you waiting for my friend. It is time to plant the seeds of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit in your heart. Then take the time in prayer to learn from your Heavenly Father how to let it grow. Once you have matured in virtue; go tell the world the Good News. There is no Magic Wand!