Last month, for Pentecost Sunday, one of the choices for a second reading was from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and its high point, for me, was this sentence near the end:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

In other words, if I am filled with the Holy Spirit, if I am living as Jesus taught, I will love and be joyful, peaceful and patient, kind and generous, faithful and gentle and exert self-control.


The special effects and the everyday

I mention those virtues twice because the story of Pentecost can come across as something of an otherworldly movie, big on special effects.  Suddenly, there’s a noise like the wind that fills the house where the disciples are hiding, and there appear to them tongues as of fire, which part and come to rest on each of them.  And, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” they run out into Jerusalem and begin preaching.

You’re not likely to see a tongue of flame over anyone’s forehead nowadays, but, if the worker at McDonald’s does something kind, that’s the Holy Spirit in her.


“They’ll know…”

We live in an age when many people seem to enjoy being angry and bitter.  Yet, there are others, maybe the crossing guard near the school, maybe the guy walking his dog, who are joyful and peaceful and are a delight to those around them.

Like the song says, they’ll know we are Christians by our love and joy and gentleness and kindness…..



Patrick T. Reardon


Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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