Nine virtues, it is said, add up to the fruit of the Spirit. There is no better way of doing something for the good of others as well as to the doer, than charity. Charisma is what one is born with but charity may turn out to be an offshoot of the finer sensibilities of fellow feeling, love, compassion and other virtues. The focus is on charity.
It was reported that an ailing Italian priest who was recently presented with a breathing equipment by a parish member, in turn asked his doctor whether it was more useful to a much younger neighbour being treated for coronavirus. The doctor favoured the youth. The priest immediately gifted it to his neighbour. Acts of charity and deeds like these help ease the burden of one’s little unremembered acts of omission and commission. Likewise, it is a combination of love and compassion that prompts anyone to be always on the right side of justice or generosity. The letter of Paul to Galatians chapter 5, verse 22 of the King James Bible explicitly highlights nine virtues. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
” Primarily, when love reigns supreme, the presence of forgiveness is strongly felt.
Subsequently, there will be joy and hence peace prevails. Patience is an offshoot of the first three virtues. Kindness and goodness are interlinked. Faithfulness and gentleness are supportive factors. Ultimately, self-control transforms and elevates one to the higher level of a yogi. Faith in the Almighty is believed to be the beginning of wisdom.
Critics think that Covid-19 fears and national lockdowns have caused a breakdown in spiritual and charismatic activities. The so-called social distancing (which is physical distancing) and self-imposed isolation have left all the religious practitioners at a safe distance. Yet, that is not final.
But it is apt to recall the fact that the El Dorado of evangelization happened (Acts of the Apostles 9: 3-20) when Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, “suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.” “And falling to the ground he heard a voice”, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. “But rise and enter the city, you will be told what you are to do.” Fellow travellers were astounded by the spellbinding experience of hearing the voice but seeing none.Saul got up but became sightless. His associates led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. After three days, a disciple at Damascus named Ananias was told in a vision to look for Saul who was praying. Saul thus was ‘made an instrument of God’s peace’. Soon something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight and filled with the Holy Spirit after Ananias laid his hands on him.
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