Last Sunday I had the privilege of celebrating Mass for our Confirmation students who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation later this month, on the 31st. As they are preparing to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, I reflected with them a bit on the fruits of the Holy Spirit as enumerated by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. He notes these gifts as being: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. While we receive the grace of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, the true test of how well we are cooperating with that grace is shown in how these fruits are visible in our own lives.
Now that we are into the season of Lent and our attention is focused on turning our hearts away from sin and toward a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ, these fruits of the Holy Spirit can offer us a wonderful examination of conscience. We might ask ourselves, “Can I see evidence of these fruits being absent in me at some point? If so, where and when? When we fail to produce these fruits in our life, that may be indicative of a place where sin is entering in and we are growing further away from Jesus instead of closer to him. And this is a good thing to bring to the Sacrament of Confession. As a reminder, during the season of Lent, Confessions are also available on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:00 in the Church.