There is that intriguing quote from Scripture: “By their fruits ye shall know them,” said Jesus (Matthew 7:20). And so it is.

Never mind what is called the “pretense.” Never mind the facade. Never mind the smiles on the surface, the glad-handing, the slap on the back.

You will know a person’s inner self by the fruits that issue forth. It is the “bottom line” of spirituality. For a fruit is there to see and touch and it either nourishes or does the opposite.

What is the effect of people around you? What is the feeling you are left with? How do they affect your emotions — or even your life? How do you affect others? What do you leave them with?

The dictionary defines fruit as an effect, result, or consequence, whether advantageous or disadvantageous. A fruit is what we produce (which is why fruit is in the produce department at the grocery).

There is fruit that is sweet. There’s fruit that’s bitter. There is fruit that grants good health. There is fruit that is poisonous. There is fruit that ripens too quickly (because it has been rushed along). There is fruit with too many seeds (pretension). There is fruit that is hidden (stingy) in thorns. There is fruit that is shed in such abundance that much of it falls and rots and is not valued because it has not been nourished and allowed to mature (in God’s timing). There is fruit with a hard skin and fruit that is soft.

When bad fruit comes from a person, it is often in the form of division, tension, anxiety, confusion, and yes, that hardness. Our spirits resist or even bristle at the proud. Pride is pretense and pretense is the first thing an exorcist must remove (before getting to the demonic). Pride yields the worst fruit because it grows in darkness. We can be deceived by fruit as we saw Eve and Adam deceived in the Garden.

When good fruit comes, it is in the way of peace, joy, and comfort — a sense of well-being. You feel at home with yourself. It is the effect the fruit has that figures into our tally.

What about our children? Are they “fruits”?

They have their own free will and so we can’t be held accountable for everything they do. On the other hand, we are able to judge the Blessed Mother by the “Fruit” of her womb.

The best fruits come from our “highest self” (just like choice fruit is often up there on the top branches). What’s meant by “highest self”?

It is the heart and mind joined in purity of intention. It’s the “you” in wonderful moments when spiritual power seems at a peak around you. It is when you totally elevate above worldliness. It is that time you seemed to have perfect inner sanctity — rising above the quibbles and aggravations of life, not letting anything or anyone bother you. It is that high point you have felt after the most powerful Communion. You transcend. You rise above.

Nothing disturbs you. You see everything in the proper context of eternity. Holy, holy, holy. This should be our goal. The difficulty: keeping at this level! You know how it is: You feel an ecstatic moment — you have a little epiphany, are feeling so well after Mass, everything seems to be going just right — and then someone comes along with a word or a look or an action (or an e-mail) or thoughtlessness and vacuums the anointing from you. Anything that takes this joy from you is a fruit from darkness (where grows fungus).

Most of the time, this happens because we let our guard down, react to a negative, and adopt a wrong thought pattern (or “lower self”).

During Communion, eject all inner grit, hand it to Jesus, and ask Him to fill you with His pureness. When there is no dark emotion bubbling to the surface of you soul — when criticality has left you, when you have no hint of anxiety, jealousy, ambition, selfishness, greed, lust, hatred, or resentment — you have reached it and with peace your spirit will let you know that. These are questions that can lead to the evolution of purity and entry into Heaven if while here on earth we tackle them.

If someone is producing bad fruit, remember that not everyone spiritually matures at the same time. We all have our “moment of understanding.” A person who has hurt you may not yet have reached his or her such moment. Always see the other person’s side.

Purity toward one another is in the love we send. What fruit are we yielding? Are we bringing peace to others, are we bringing joy, or are we robbing happiness from others?

Are we creating peace or anxiety?

When we maintain our highest selves, we yield an abundance that gives health to our souls and to the souls of others, which transmits into healing– even physically. At the high point, we transcend the world’s trivialities (no matter how “important” they seem).

Let it go. The wind will blow. It will go away. Release, release, release, and say: let no one be held in purgatory on my account.

Don’t let grace be stolen. Don’t eat the wrong fruit. Don’t let people take your joy. Maintain the high point of your existence — keep it in your firm grasp! At the same time, avoid a tree that is constantly yielding bitter fruit; it robs the good taste from your mouth. View matters from the highest branch, which means constant forgiveness despite endless trials that strengthen our roots and branches and leaves.

(by Michael Brown on

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