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Archives Speaker explores Fruits of the Spirit

Sept. 21, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

TICONDEROGA – It was all about the Fruits of the Spirit as Joshua Danis, author and national director for Alpha Catholic Context, spoke at St. Mary’s in Ticonderoga on Sept. 12.

Danis, who holds degrees in theology and philosophy, grew up in Plattsburgh and Burlington. He wrote “Living the Fruit of the Spirit: How God’s Grace Can Transform Your World.”

Danis spoke in Ticonderoga about how we can live the Fruits of the Spirit to “participate with the Holy Spirit to become more spiritually attractive to others.”

Danis said he spent a lot of time praying and reflecting on the Fruits of the Spirit before writing and speaking about the topic and the Scripture from Galatians in which they are revealed.

“St. Paul talks about grace taking root in our life and having impact on us,” Danis said. “He talked about it as fruits – fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It says, ‘against these, there is no law.’ I thought about it. I chewed on it… Against these, there is no law. These fruits are not forbidden fruits like in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve look at this fruit, and they hunger for it. They see it’s desirable. If that fruit is something for which they hungered and desired, and it didn’t work out. These other fruits Paul gives to us, don’t we instinctively hunger for and desire those things, as well?”

Danis noted that the Fruits are essential in growing closer to the Lord.

“It’s possible to come to Mass every day and do it with the right heart and not grow closer to God,” he said. “You can do good deeds and not necessarily grow in holiness or grow closer to God. I think it’s impossible to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control without growing in love, growing in holiness and growing closer to God.”

Danis said he hears from many people about their children, spouses, siblings, family and friends who have fallen away from faith and asking what they can do to bring them to Christ.

“For some people, getting an expert to explain it or going to some talk may be the answer, but it’s not how it’s going to work for most of us,” he said. “There’s no greater witness to the joy of the Gospel than cooperating with the grace of the Holy Spirit to live these gifts.”

While time constraints prevented him from discussing all of the fruits, Danis delved into several Fruits of the Spirit, including love.

“The challenge is when you come across the person who might be difficult to love,” he said. “We have to remember how important and loved each person is to God and open up to the idea that we can have a tiny sliver of the love God has for that person.”

Danis also noted that his favorite of the fruits is joy.

“It’s a paradox to me that we have perhaps the greatest possible news in any conceivable world – an all-loving God who came to live among us, died for our sins, rose from the dead and invited us into eternal life,” he said. “Yet how often do we see Christians not exhibiting joy or exhibiting the exact opposite of joy?”

While Danis noted that we all experience suffering and trials, joy is still possible.

“Hope is the key to developing the fruit of joy,” he said. “You can’t make it happen. It’s not a fake-it-till-you-make-it thing. If you choose hope, eventually the Holy Spirit will give you joy. Hope is the confidence that things are going to get better. It’s confidence in eternity.”

Discussing peace, Danis said “there is no magic trick.”

“They key to peace is serenity,” he said. “If we look at the sources of our anxieties, fears and frustrations and say to the Lord, ‘I give them to you; I surrender,’ we can finally have peace.”

Danis also suggested a path to patience.

“If there’s a key to patience, it’s context,” he said. “It’s about perspective and getting more of the story.

“As a six year old, every single thing is the most important thing in life. With age, we learn that not every single thing is hugely important. Experience gives you more context.”

Like love, Danis noted kindness can be difficult.

“Kindness is falling in love with people, but not in a weird way,” he said. “Every person you encounter is beautiful in the eyes of God. If you can fall in love with that beauty just a little bit and see past your frustrations, maybe it can inspire us to root for the other person and inspire us to want the best for them. That brings us to being kind to them.”

Danis expounds further on his applications of the Fruits of the Spirit in his book, “Living the Fruit of the Spirit: How God’s Grace Can Transform Your World.”

The book is available through Word Among Us Press and on popular book-selling websites.



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