The Supernatural Organism - Part V of V
by Father Jordan Aumann, O.P.
Father Jordan Aumann, O.P. former Director of the
Institute of Spirituality at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas
Aquinas in Rome, is an honorary professor of the University of Santo Tomas,
Manila, where he has been giving special courses in Spirituality since 1977.
Fruits of the Spirit and the Beatitudes
Elements - Supernatural Organism
||Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit
||Acts of the Virtues and Gifts
In his letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul provides a listing of the
Fruits of the Flesh and the Fruits of the Spirit. The latter
Fruits are Nine (9) in number:
Peace, Patience, Kindness,
Meekness, and Continence. Theologians from the
time of Saint Augustine have maintained that Saint Paul's enumeration of the
Gifts is by no means a complete list, but only a sampling, as it were, of the
Fruits of the Spirit. This is indicated by the fact that Saint Paul lists
Fifteen (15) Fruits of the Flesh and makes it clear that the list is
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Isaiah 11:1-2
4. Fortitude (Courage)
7. Fear of the Lord
These are the Gifts of the "Spirit in the
Messiah" as prophesied by Isaiah. Other lists of various
Gifts are found in the letters of Saint Paul.
The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23
The Latin Vulgate Bible, from which the Douay-Rheims Bible is translated, lists
Twelve Fruits. Modern translations from
the Greek list Nine Fruits.
Generosity being an alternative translation to
The First Thing to be noted about the Fruits of the
Spirit is that they are Virtuous Acts or Works performed by those who are
"guided by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:18). These Works are in opposition
to those that proceed from the Flesh, as Saint Paul states:
"My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the Cravings of the
Flesh. The Flesh Lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the Flesh; the two are directly opposed"
(Galatians 5:16-17). Consequently, the Works of the Spirit give Testimony
that One is being guided by and is Obedient to the Holy Spirit.
The Second Observation is that Saint Paul demands of Christians that
they be detached from the things of the Flesh and of this World.
He says, after enumerating the Fruits of the Spirit: "Those
who belong to Christ Jesus have Crucified their Flesh with its Passions and Desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the,
Spirit's lead" (Galatians 5:24-25).
Thirdly, though the Fruits of the Spirit
are Highly Perfected Virtuous Acts, they are called
Fruits precisely because of the Spiritual Delight that they produce. "If these Works are
so Perfect, Abundant and Permanent," says John Arintero, "that one is
found to be in the state of producing them with Facility and Perfection, then they are so Joyful and Delightful that they constitute, as
it were, a prelude to Eternal Happiness. Although they may be performed at the Cost of Annoyance and Tribulation, yet they produce in us
an Ineffable Joy to which nothing in this life can be compared. They are truly comparable to the Joys of Heaven".
Still more Perfect than the Fruits are the
Beatitudes. Like the Fruits, they are Acts that
flow from the Virtues and the Gifts, but
they are so Perfect that they are more closely related to the Operations - of the
Gifts than of the Infused Virtues. In a
strict sense there is only One (1) Gift and
One (1) Fruit - the
Holy Spirit; and there is only One (1)
Beatitude - the Beatific Vision in Glory. But the
Beatitudes enunciated by Christ are a
Foretaste of the Delights of Heaven.
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who Mourn, for they shall be Comforted.
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall Inherit the Earth.
Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, for they shall be Satisfied.
Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain Mercy.
Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
Each Beatitude contains Two (2) Parts;
the First Part refers to a Meritorious Act,
and the Second Part refers to a Reward. The
Reward applies primarily to the life to come, and yet there is likewise the promise of
Happiness even in this life.
Saint Thomas discusses the Beatitudes by linking them with the
Three (3) Types of Life in which we hope to find Happiness: the Life of Pleasure,
the Active Life, and the Contemplative Life. But the Life of Pleasure is False Happiness;
therefore the First Three (3) Beatitudes
refer to the Detachment required from Worldly Pleasures and Satisfactions if one is to
receive the Reward that is promised. The Active Life, on the other hand, is a disposition
for the Happiness to come, since it consists in the Practice of Virtue; therefore the
Fourth and Fifth
Beatitudes refer to the Active Life, and the Sixth and
Seventh Beatitudes refer to the effects of
the Active Life that are Proximate Dispositions for the Contemplative Life.
The Eighth Beatitude, according to Saint
Thomas, is a Manifestation and Confirmation of all those that precede it.
The Beatitudes provide a Summary of the Magnificent Ideals proposed for Christian Living.
They also provide a contrast between the life of those attached to the Things of this World, and the Life of those who follow
Christ. This is clearly Manifested in Luke 6:17-26, where we are told that
Jesus came down from the Mountain to a stretch of level ground and, fixing
His gaze on His Disciples amid the Crowd,
Blessed are you Poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are you that Hunger now, for you shall be Satisfied.
Blessed are you that Weep now, for you shall Laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as
evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven; for so their
fathers did to the Prophets.
But woe to you that are Rich, for you have received your Consolation.
Woe to you that are full now, for you shall Hunger.
Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall Mourn and Weep.
Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the False Prophets.
- End of Part V -
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