In the midst of a very tense letter to an ancient Christian community, Saint Paul offered a lovely meditation on where to find evidence of the Third Person. Here’s one word from a collection:
223. Saint Paul describes kindness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). He uses the Greek word chrestótes, which describes an attitude that is gentle, pleasant and supportive, not rude or coarse. Individuals who possess this quality help make other people’s lives more bearable, especially by sharing the weight of their problems, needs and fears. This way of treating others can take different forms: an act of kindness, a concern not to offend by word or deed, a readiness to alleviate their burdens. It involves “speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement” and not “words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn”. [Amoris Laetitia 100]
This reminds me of חֶסֶד or hesed, loving-kindness in the Old Testament. It’s far more than being nice. It’s a way of being that embraces such a range of things that it resmebles more of a way of life, a way of being Christian, than a single quality, virtue, or fruit of the Spirit.
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