There is a lot of talk about fruit in these passages. And aside from making me hungry, it also makes marvel at all the insights we can gather from nature’s candy.
First, all seeds start very small and helpless. They require basics like soil, sun, and water, and a healthy dose of nurturing. And they grow at their own, slow pace. Day after day, they show little change. The same is true of our spiritual lives. Of course, they require God to even exist. And we need nourishment in the form of Grace from the Sacraments and prayer in order to grow...which takes time. Our spiritual development is not complete overnight. One rosary or one Eucharistic Adoration is not enough to create a deeper relationship with God. It takes time and regular commitment to these devotions, and we will only see incremental changes. It is only when we look back that we can truly appreciate the growth we have experienced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Second, fruit is seasonal. There are times when the plant looks bare, and there are other times when it is full of sweet goodness. This seasonality is reflected in our spiritual lives, as well. Sometimes, we feel totally great about God, we are loving prayer, and we know we are growing so much! Those are sweet times indeed. Other times, we may experience some level of what is called “spiritual dryness”. We aren’t really feeling the love, we are less passionate about our prayer, and we are just going through the motions. This is natural. What is important is that we remain faithful even when we aren’t that excited about it. We must be patient as we remember that this period of dryness will not last forever, and hopeful for the coming season of fruitfulness.
Finally, fruit begets fruit. Fruit is or contains the seed for the next plant that will bear fruit. If a tree doesn’t bear fruit, it doesn’t just affect that one tree. It also means that it is not providing seed for future generations. In our lives, when we invest the time and energy to make sure our souls receive the nourishment they need, we also plant seeds elsewhere, leading to the spread of spiritual fruit. As we grow in our relationship with God, we become more charitable in our interactions with others, we are inspired to evangelize, and we spend more time praying for conversions. We become witnesses to Christ to those around us, and hopefully inspire them to become more open to the word of God as well. Conversely, if we let our spirituality languish, we fail to be ambassadors of the faith. Opportunities to bring others to Christ may be lost. Thus we have a responsibility to develop our relationships with God - for the sake of our salvation, and the salvation of others.
Holy Spirit, give me the nourishment I need to be transformed. Bestow upon me patience as I grow and struggle. Inspire me to become an ambassador of Christ so that others around me may also desire to be united with Him.