Support Us
Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A (418 3rd Ave., W.) Richardton, ND 58652
Social
Follow us on Facebook!

              I once saw a magazine cartoon that pictured a wild-eyed, crazy-haired, hippy-type fanatic standing on a street corner holding a large sign that read, “THE END IS NEAR!!”  The captions beneath the picture read, “God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.” Of course, God loves religious nuts—after all, he loves us!  While this image is humorous, like most cartoons it does contain a truth.  The point is that Jesus preaches that our faith cannot just be a matter of thoughts and words.  “By their fruits you will know them,” he says.  Our faith must show forth in actions. Jesus doesn’t come right out and say what these fruits are, but St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians gives us a list of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.  Of course, just as there are good fruits, there are also bad fruits.  Again from St. Paul: lewdness, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering, jealousy, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  It is a good idea, from time to time, to honestly examine our lives—to take a kind of spiritual inventory if you will—to determine what bad fruits might be growing within our lives.  It is a humbling prospect to honestly examine ourselves, especially regarding the “not so pretty” side of ourselves, or those things which we think only we can see privately or we think only we know in our hearts. Equally humbling and equally necessary is the need for us to take an honest look at ourselves to see those fruits of the spirit, those positive gifts.  This isn’t an exercise in building up our self-image (nor is looking at the “bad fruits” an exercise in demeaning ourselves, beating ourselves into the dirt), but an honest look at how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives.  It is an attempt to honestly look at how we are living our Christian call to holiness. That call is always, always something that manifests itself in love of neighbor.  The image of the cross/crucifix is a helpful reminder to me.  God’s immeasurable, incomprehensible love for us is made visible in his only Son, Jesus, who “came down” from heaven and became human like us in all things but sin.  This is something God chose to do purely out of love for us.  God’s love for us is manifested in that vertical beam of the cross.  Our feeble attempts at loving God in return, are also represented in that vertical beam.  But that is only half of the story.  That Jesus came to bring healing and life to every human being is represented in the horizontal beam.  His arms were literally stretched out on the cross to embrace all of humanity.  When we are invited by Jesus to daily “take up our cross” it means that we, too, love God and love all humanity, love our neighbor.  We too must allow ourselves to be stretched out on our cross vertically and horizontally.  How we do that, or not, is how we bear fruit. Again, while Jesus doesn’t come right out and say what the good fruits are, he does tells us through St. Matthew that our actions will be harvested and we will be judged by those actions.  Those actions will be good or bad fruits.  “Come, you have my Father’s blessing!  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me.  I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me.”  Notice that all these actions are directed at someone else—our arms stretched out to others! All people are capable of the altruistic actions.  What must set us apart as Christians is that we purposely see Christ in those in need.  We must BE CHRIST and SEE CHRIST in others.  This makes us Christians.  This is taking up our cross.  This is our call to holiness.  This is bearing “good fruits.”  This is the challenge for us Christians: to be known by our good fruits, so that by our good fruits God himself might be known. May the Holy Spirit enlighten your heart to see opportunities to bear good fruits, may Our Lord be your model and guide to fulfill those opportunities and may God our Father bless and reward your efforts!

A Spiritual Inventory

by Fr. Thomas Wordekemper, OSB
Spiritual Reflections
              I once saw a magazine cartoon that pictured a wild-eyed, crazy-haired, hippy-type fanatic standing on a street corner holding a large sign that read, “THE END IS NEAR!!”  The captions beneath the picture read, “God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.” Of course, God loves religious nuts—after all, he loves us!  While this image is humorous, like most cartoons it does contain a truth.  The point is that Jesus preaches that our faith cannot just be a matter of thoughts and words.  “By their fruits you will know them,” he says.  Our faith must show forth in actions. Jesus doesn’t come right out and say what these fruits are, but St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians gives us a list of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self- control, and chastity.  Of course, just as there are good fruits, there are also bad fruits.  Again from St. Paul: lewdness, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering, jealousy, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  It is a good idea, from time to time, to honestly examine our lives—to take a kind of spiritual inventory if you will—to determine what bad fruits might be growing within our lives.  It is a humbling prospect to honestly examine ourselves, especially regarding the “not so pretty” side of ourselves, or those things which we think only we can see privately or we think only we know in our hearts. Equally humbling and equally necessary is the need for us to take an honest look at ourselves to see those fruits of the spirit, those positive gifts.  This isn’t an exercise in building up our self-image (nor is looking at the “bad fruits” an exercise in demeaning ourselves, beating ourselves into the dirt), but an honest look at how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives.  It is an attempt to honestly look at how we are living our Christian call to holiness. That call is always, always something that manifests itself in love of neighbor.  The image of the cross/crucifix is a helpful reminder to me.  God’s immeasurable, incomprehensible love for us is made visible in his only Son, Jesus, who “came down” from heaven and became human like us in all things but sin.  This is something God chose to do purely out of love for us.  God’s love for us is manifested in that vertical beam of the cross.  Our feeble attempts at loving God in return, are also represented in that vertical beam.  But that is only half of the story.  That Jesus came to bring healing and life to every human being is represented in the horizontal beam.  His arms were literally stretched out on the cross to embrace all of humanity.  When we are invited by Jesus to daily “take up our cross” it means that we, too, love God and love all humanity, love our neighbor.  We too must allow ourselves to be stretched out on our cross vertically and horizontally.  How we do that, or not, is how we bear fruit. Again, while Jesus doesn’t come right out and say what the good fruits are, he does tells us through St. Matthew that our actions will be harvested and we will be judged by those actions.  Those actions will be good or bad fruits.  “Come, you have my Father’s blessing!  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me.  I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me.”  Notice that all these actions are directed at someone else—our arms stretched out to others! All people are capable of the altruistic actions.  What must set us apart as Christians is that we purposely see Christ in those in need.  We must BE CHRIST and SEE CHRIST in others.  This makes us Christians.  This is taking up our cross.  This is our call to holiness.  This is bearing “good fruits.”  This is the challenge for us Christians: to be known by our good fruits, so that by our good fruits God himself might be known. May the Holy Spirit enlighten your heart to see opportunities to bear good fruits, may Our Lord be your model and guide to fulfill those opportunities and may God our Father bless and reward your efforts!

A Spiritual Inventory

by Fr. Thomas Wordekemper, OSB
Spiritual Reflections
Support us
Social
Follow us on Facebook!

Email us
Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601