By Andrew Kreye
What makes a fruit salad a fruit salad?
I’ve seen many fruit salads in my short life, and rarely do they seem to have any sort of guidelines beyond “chopped fruits in a bowl”.
I mean, sure, they’re usually sweet fruits. Like, you probably wouldn’t find a fruit salad with tomatoes and bell peppers in it, even though it would still technically be a fruit salad.
Actually, now I’m really curious how that would taste…
And what’s up with grapes, melon, and pineapple? Why are they always there?? What about kiwis? Or plums? Or peaches???
Alas, these are the answers that elude us.
My favorite thing about fruit salads is when all the fruit juices get mixed up and the grapes soak it all up. They’re like little flavor-bombs.
Well, anyway, even if you don’t like cooking, you may be interested in this recipe.
Because we’re not just talking about fruit. We’re talking about the best fruits.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit!
“Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God ‘Father’ and to share in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.” – St. Basil
- Choose Your Ingredients
“Either declare the tree good and its fruit good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33
The quality of a fruit salad depends on the fruit. Not just some fruit. ALL the fruit.
You might have a salad with delicious blueberries, but if the pineapple and melon are both hard and sour, it’ll probably still be there after the potluck, if you know what I mean.
Even if all the fruits are delicious, but one is rotten, it can ruin the whole thing. Some people might pick around the bad fruit and say, “It isn’t so bad,” but many people will avoid it completely.
Obviously, people aren’t trees, and we don’t grow fruit. So, what’s Jesus talking about in that verse from Matthew? A few verses later, he tells us:
“From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Do you know what fills your heart?
Our fruit comes from our actions, from our words, from how we spend our time, from how we treat others. All the decisions we make will bear fruit, good or bad.
The things with which we fill our hearts will show what fruit we’ll bear. And the way we act will show what fills our hearts.
So choose your ingredients well. Some fruit may look good at first, but when you open it, you may find it rotten inside.
- Prepare the Fruit
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” – John 15:1-2
Just like a vine supplies nutrients to its branches allowing their fruit to ripen, Jesus gives us what we need to grow if we are connected to him.
God prepares us to grow by giving us gifts. He sends the gift of the Holy Spirit, who supplies us with grace (i.e. “participation in the life of God” (CCC 1997)), which allows us to “collaborate in the salvation of others” (CCC 2003).
That’s right. As a member of Christ’s Church, which is his Body, you have an effect on the eternal destination of others’ immortal souls.
But we’re here to talk about fruit.
So what are these fruits?
“The fruits of the Holy Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: ‘charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.’” – CCC 1832
They are the perfection of virtues given to those who accept God’s gifts, opening their lives to the Holy Spirit.
However, they don’t come as a package deal. The Holy Spirit may perfect one virtue in a person while they lack others.
In a fruit salad, there is no one fruit that is objectively better than the rest. What one fruit lacks, another provides. Some people may prefer one fruit over another, but it’s the combination of all of them makes the salad full.
With people, some possess one virtue but lack another, and through that lack of virtue, they may tend to be tempted toward a particular sin.
What do you do if you’re in that situation?
- Mix the Salad
“Iron is sharpened by iron;
one person sharpens another.
Those who tend a fig tree eat its fruit;
so those attentive to their master will be honored.”
– Proverbs 27:17-18
When you mix a fruit salad, the juices from the different fruits come together. They add their flavors to each other, enhancing the overall taste (hopefully).
If you spend time with people who have the virtues that you don’t have, then over time you can learn from them.
It takes effort on your part to develop virtue, but being in the presence of virtue can make it easier.
First and foremost, however, virtue comes as a gift from the Holy Spirit.
Consistently asking the Holy Spirit for a specific virtue is a good place to start. The Holy Spirit knows you well and loves you deeply. He wants you to increase in virtue and to share more fully in the life of God.
If you are attentive to God and are seeking His will, He will bless you — though it may not be in the way you expect. But his response always goes beyond our expectations.
I challenge you to spend some time praying with the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit which one you should focus on. Whichever one stands out to you, make a simple, daily prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give you that fruit.
Over time, you will grow. You will become ripe through your relationship with Christ.
I pray that, eventually, the fruit you bear will increase and that the Holy Spirit will make you into a fruit salad.
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.” – Galatians 5:24-26