by +Dimitry, Archbishop of Kherson and Odessa

Hav­ing embarked upon the Apos­tles’ fast, the Church calls us to reflect upon the gifts of the Holy Spir­it, which descend­ed upon those gath­ered in the high room on the day of Pen­te­cost and which grace remains with­in us as mem­bers of Christ’s Holy Body, the Church. Yet we may find our­selves won­der­ing why such clear and vis­i­ble signs of divine grace as were bestowed upon the apos­tles are not giv­en to us as preva­lent­ly in our day. We there­fore offer this brief reflec­tion by a lumi­nary of the 19th cen­tu­ry Russ­ian Church.

How can we be sure that the Holy Spir­it is present in us? The Apos­tles were con­vinced of this by vis­i­ble signs which were so strik­ing that even the unbe­liev­ers them­selves could not but notice them, even though they mis­in­ter­pret­ed them. But how can we assure our­selves of this, when God does not will to man­i­fest such signs to us? We can­not assure our­selves of the dwelling with­in us of the Holy Spir­it by any out­ward signs; but we can be assured by His actions, by His fruits. The tree is known by its fruits: every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a cor­rupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit (Mt. 7:17). But the fruit of the Spir­it is love, joy, peace, long­suf­fer­ing, gen­tle­ness, good­ness, faith, meek­ness, tem­per­ance (Gal. 5:22–23). By these signs we can rec­og­nize whether the Holy Spir­it dwells in a man or not.

Are you joy­ful in your soul while you go about your work, and espe­cial­ly when you stand before God in prayer, and are you so dis­posed to Him that you sense in Him your Father, while in your­self His son? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Are you at peace in your con­science, not find­ing with­in it any­thing to reproach you, and are the weak­ness­es in you, which you as a human may feel, cleansed with­in you by repen­tance? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Do you endure the diverse temp­ta­tions and calami­ties of this world patient­ly, with­out mur­mur­ing, do not become angry, do not bear mal­ice, do not seek vengeance, assur­ing your­self that every­thing exists by the will of the right­eous God? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Are you dis­posed to doing good to every­one under any cir­cum­stances to the extent that you are able, while to insult and offend any­one you con­sid­er a deed unnat­ur­al for a son of the Church of Christ? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Is your heart moved by the mis­for­tunes of oth­ers, and do you con­sid­er your­self for­tu­nate when you help the unfor­tu­nate? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Are you con­vinced of the truth of the word of God, con­sid­er­ing all the sophistries of your­self and oth­ers mad­ness, when they raise them­selves high­er than the mind of God, revealed in His word? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you.

Do you have a gen­tle dis­po­si­tion, as is prop­er for the domes­tic of Christ Who, being reproached, did not reproach in return, and did not ren­der evil for evil? That is a fruit of the Holy Spir­it dwelling with­in you!

But the fruit of the Spir­it is love, joy, peace, long­suf­fer­ing, gen­tle­ness, good­ness, faith, meek­ness, tem­per­ance (Gal. 5:22–23). By these signs we can with­out ques­tion rec­og­nize whether the Holy Spir­it dwells with­in us.

 


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