THE FOURTH WEEK IN LENT
Saturday, March 20, 2021
The Fruit of Listening
by Robbin Brent
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. … If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.—Galatians 5:22-23,25
As we come to the end of the fourth week in Lent, let’s look at the theme for the week, listening as an act of mercy and love, through the lens of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5. These fruit join with mercy and love to form a powerful foundation on which rests a vibrant life in God. Where, as Jesuit priest and paleontologist Teilhard de Char-din expressed so beautifully, we can trust in the slow work of God.
These fruit give us the guidance we need to slow down so that we can show up in the present moment, the only moment in which we can sense the presence of God. We will need that guidance and support when we show up in the moment and discover unjust suffering and othering inflicted on our neighbors, as Scott Stoner wrote about in week three. And when we feel compelled to stand up and speak out in response to the suffering and division we witness, we can stand strong and faithful in our truth. We will know first-hand the freedom of spirit that is born from our desire to both speak and listen faithfully, trusting that what knits us together is stronger than what threatens to divide us. Malcolm McLaurin offered us a powerful example of this in his reflection in week two through the story of Starr Carter in The Hate U Give.
No matter what, we can trust that God is holding us all with infinite mercy and love that has been infused with the fruit of the Spirit. I can think of no more powerful map and compass for our journey: heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Making It Personal: Can you think of a time recently where you were compelled to listen to or speak out about a difficult issue? How did it go? If it didn’t go well, could first grounding yourself in the fruit of the Spirit offer you support and guidance? Could they help you to be a more faithful listener and advocate?