How the Fruits of the Holy Spirit Empower Our Missionary Work

By Divine Word Missionaries on May 7, 2024

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent us the ultimate advocate: the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit, also known as the third person of the Trinity, is the love shared between the Father and the Son, sent to empower us on our earthly missions. God desires for us to grow closer to the Holy Spirit and rely upon the graces that come with a relationship with him.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are received from God, while the fruits of the Holy Spirit, identified in the book of Galatians, are special graces that develop within us as we deepen our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

With these fruits, we all can grow in love of God and others. At the heart of our work as Divine Word Missionaries, the Holy Spirit and his fruits fuel our mission. Explore the significance of each fruit and learn how our missionaries embody these virtues in their work.

Joy in Christ

Joy refers to the inner contentment that comes from having a relationship with God and living according to his will. As St. Paul says, true joy comes from “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).

Divine Word Missionaries spread joy through their work in numerous ways. For instance, our missionaries recently helped construct a new dormitory for students from remote villages in Mozambique. This dorm enables these students to attend high school, instilling in them a joy for an accessible education. The process of building the dormitory brought joy not only to the students, but it also deeply gratified our missionaries at every stage of its construction.

Mozambique 1-1

Peace Beyond Understanding 

Peace is one of the most profound fruits of the Holy Spirit. As described in scripture, it is not just peace in the worldly sense, but a peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Peace is knowing that in life we may endure suffering and trials, but God is faithful and his love will triumph in the end. 

For Divine Word Missionaries, promoting peace and justice is an essential part of our missionary work. In building bridges between divided communities, providing aid to refugees and advocating for the oppressed, we strive to sow peace wherever we serve. 

Our missionaries spread peace through working with refugees and migrants. In many countries, Divine Word Missionaries run welcome centers for refugees and advocate for migrant rights. These efforts in peace and justice are rooted in seeing every human being as a child of God worthy of dignity and respect.

Holy Patience 

Patience is another fruit of the Holy Spirit and an essential virtue for Christian missionaries. Patience refers to the ability to endure adversity, suffering and difficulties without losing hope. 

Divine Word Missionaries demonstrate remarkable patience in their challenging missionary work in some of the most desolate locations on earth. Our missionaries serve in many difficult environments, ministering to the poorest and most marginalized communities. All this requires great patience and perseverance.

For example, the late Father Max Abalos SVD served in an unconventional mission field. In the Philippines, Father Max ministered to an entire community of people living on the grounds of a cemetery. He persevered with patience through difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conditions to bring the Word of God to his people. 

Read more about Fr. Max and how he ministered to the living while praying for the dead


The True Meaning of Kindness 

Kindness, another fruit of the Holy Spirit, refers to acting with authentic compassion and care towards others. Kindness that comes from God does not expect anything in return but gives purely only out of love. Divine Word Missionaries strive to embody kindness in all our work, seeing and treating those we serve as beloved sons and daughters of God. 

Divine Word Missionaries exemplify kindness in their mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo by operating a professional training center in Ngondi that provides unemployed people with essential skills in industries such as carpentry, livestock farming and veterinary medicine. This ministry embodies kindness through education, skill development and the hope for a better future.



Giving to Others: Generosity 

Generosity is one of the key fruits of the Holy Spirit. It reflects a spirit of charity and selflessness. A person blessed with the fruit of generosity freely gives of their time, talents and material resources without expectation of reward. 

At its core, generosity means willingly sharing what you have with others, especially those in need. Just as our missionaries are generous with their lives, the generosity of our benefactors allows our missions to continue and flourish. 

Almsgiving is a tangible way that the Church calls us to foster the fruit of generosity. By giving alms, we are participating in the merciful work of the Church to provide for all members of our universal family. 


Rooted in Things of Above: Faithfulness 

The fruit of faithfulness refers to being steadfast and loyal in our relationship with God. For Divine Word Missionaries, faithfulness is at the core of our evangelization efforts around the world. 

We show faithfulness in our missionary work by remaining committed to spreading the Gospel, even when faced with challenges or hardships. Our founder, St. Arnold Janssen, demonstrated immense faithfulness in establishing our missionary order despite difficulties and opposition. That same spirit of faithfulness drives us today.

Faithfulness gives us the grace to remain loyal to God’s call in our lives as we evangelize for the Global Church. Even in some of the most adverse conditions, our missionaries spread the Gospel across 79 countries. 



Meek and Humble: Understanding Gentleness 

Gentleness refers to a spirit of humility, approaching situations and people with patience, compassion and care. A gentle person is not weak but exhibits strength and confidence tempered by concern for others.

Divine Word Missionaries exhibit gentleness in our missionary work through their humble service and desire to meet people where they are. They understand that spreading the Gospel requires patience, empathy and adapting to local cultures. Their ministries aim to serve with a gentle spirit, not impose or force change.

For example, our missionaries serve in a camp in Uganda for South Sudanese refugees. Understanding the refugees’ background of trauma, Divine Word Missionaries practice gentleness in their ministry to welcome and help them feel at home. 

By establishing the Uganda Youth Projects, our missionaries have sought to provide young refugees with a place to foster community and healing.

missionary talking to refugees

Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Self-Control 

Self-control enables us to moderate our desires and passions, overcoming and avoiding temptation. For Divine Word Missionaries, practicing self-control is key to fulfilling their missionary vocation. 

With nearly 6,000 missionaries across 79 countries, Divine Word Missionaries exercise remarkable self-control as they sacrifice personal comforts and ambitions to serve impoverished communities. By mastering self-control, Divine Word Missionaries can withstand hardships in the mission field. They deny themselves to give more in their work to others. 


The Final (and Most Important) Fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love 

Love is the foundation of all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It enables us to give of ourselves freely for the good of others. As Paul’s message to the Corinthians reminds us, without love, we are nothing. It is the very crux of the Christian faith; love is who God is. 

Across the entirety of our missions, love is at the core. The love of God fuels our missionaries whether they are caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, providing education, or spreading the Good News. 


The Holy Spirit and His Fruits Embolden Our Missionary Work 

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are gifts from God that empower all aspects of our missions. For nearly 150 years, Divine Word Missionaries have experienced these fruits in action through our global missionary efforts. 

Living the fruits of the Holy Spirit allows our missionaries to fully embrace their calling to spread the Gospel and serve others. You too can grow your relationship with the Holy Spirit and ask for his graces by partaking in our Novena to the Holy Spirit. Experience the fruits and gifts that will empower your own unique mission and sign up today!

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Read more about our missionaries and how they serve.

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