Three weeks ago, my mother broke her hip and had hip-replacement surgery. Although she is still healing and doing the hard work of physical therapy to regain her mobility and independence, she is steadily recovering. That’s because, from the accident until now, she has encountered many people who exhibited what St. Paul called “fruit of the Spirit.” When the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, we are inspired to act in nine virtuous ways:
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
I see such acts regularly, but my mom’s ordeal revealed numerous examples in a short period of time.
The Holy Spirit inspires some people to remain in control of their emotions, take charge in a crisis, and problem-solve. These are my husband’s special talents. He used those virtues day after day to help us all stay calm and focus on the plan for healing.
My mom’s nurses and physical therapists displayed not only intelligence and skill but also endless patience and kindness. Medical professionals have very difficult jobs filled with unpleasant tasks, but the men and women we encountered performed their duties — hour after hour and day after day — with deep compassion. Watching them work, I concluded that the intimate kinds of assistance they provide their fellow human beings makes them truly special.
The surgeon who replaced the ball of my mom’s broken femur with a steel version in just an hour and a half was obviously intelligent and dexterous. He was also very kind, taking time before the surgery to explain in detail what we could expect and then meeting with us again afterward to tell us how it went.
Other people excelled at providing love and support. Many family members and friends visited my mom regularly and brought necessities, special comforts, and positive encouragement. For me, the Holy Spirit provided a deep reservoir of patience — not usually my strong suit! — to draw on.
A pastor who stopped by to see my mom in the rehab facility shared his faithfulness and joy with us. He led us in a beautiful prayer that lifted our spirits.
So many people providing different fruits, but in combination, they created the caring environment that got my mom through and set her solidly on the road to recovery. I’m grateful to the Holy Spirit for them all.
Here is St. Augustine’s beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.