The Holy Spirit is associated with a number of sets of gifts and fruits. The sacrament of confirmation “increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1303). When a confirmed person cooperates with the graces that the Holy Spirit provides, the person makes spiritual headway with regard to each of these qualities or traits, and is progressively more willing to listen to and obey the promptings of the Spirit.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are seven gifts of the Spirit, six with a biblical basis, one without: “wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2); as well as piety, which was added to bring the list to seven.
The Bible’s fruits of the Holy Spirit. There are nine biblically-based fruits of the Holy Spirit as given by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The traditional fruits of the Holy Spirit. There are 12 traditional fruits of the Holy Spirit, some which overlap the biblical list: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, humility or gentleness, fidelity or faithfulness, modesty, continence or self-control and chastity.
Gifts to be used to bear fruit. All who are confirmed are equipped with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to live a virtuous and holy life, and sent forth to bear much fruit, something that is possible only when one stays firmly attached to Jesus, the vine (see John 15:1-8). The graces of the Spirit strengthen confirmed Christians to carry out their vocations for the good of others and the benefit of the Church and the world.
Father Michael Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.