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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable that demonstrates the significance of a life of goodness and faithfulness. How do we make the all-important judgment about the quality of our lives, one that touches not simply on what we are to do but on who we are to be? How do we know?

In another place, Jesus had said that a tree is known by its fruits. And Paul makes this very specific. He tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” He implies that the Spirit’s presence in one’s life can be read from its radiance in these soul-expanding qualities.

I have often spoken of the magna anima (the great soul) of the saint in contrast to the pusilla anima (the cramped soul) of the sinner. And the fruit of the Spirit can make the difference. Love is willing the good of another; patience bears with the troublesome; faithfulness is a dedication to a partner or friend; self-control restricts the havoc that the ego can cause; and so on. All of the fruits of the Spirit are marks of an expansive and outward-looking magna anima.