KINDNESS AND KIND THOUGHTS------- complete article
by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D.
I. THE GREAT COMMANDMENT
“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
The Command and Example of Jesus Christ
1. To be saved you must not only believe what God has revealed, but also keep His law. The two Great Commandments of charity contain the whole law. (1) “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; (2) and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). Our Lord Himself emphasized this holy law of charity and made it the foundation of all His teaching.
The object of all love is the good of the one loved. The object of love of God is the honor and glory of God; the object of love of neighbor is the welfare of your fellow men, both spiritual and temporal, and through that the honor and glory of God. You must love your neighbor for God’s sake.
The love of neighbor imposes many duties upon you, such as almsgiving, correction, and forgiveness. Each of these is directed toward your neighbor’s well-being and happiness. At the same time, the love of neighbor forbids certain sins which would bring unhappiness or spiritual and temporal harm to him. Spiritual harm would include such things as scandal and cooperation in another’s sins; temporal harm would include hatred, slander, and detraction.
2. There is still a greater obligation expressed in the words of Our Lord spoken in His farewell talk to His Apostles: “A new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). Here the standard of your love for your neighbor no longer remains on the natural plane; it is lifted to the plane of the divine, for the Redeemer’s love for us is infinite. In His death, He completely spent Himself for us when we were yet sinners, as St. Paul reminds us: “But God commendeth His charity toward us; because when as yet we were sinners . . . Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, 9).
3. Our Lord is even more emphatic in the matter of the love of one’s enemy, a virtue that is foreign to our nature. “Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh His sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:44, 45).
It is easy to love your friends, whose opinions agree with yours. Our Lord wants you to love even your enemies — the people who do not see eye to eye with you, who have hurt your feelings, who do not like you and whom you do not like. You cannot like everyone, but for God’s sake, you must love everyone — even those who hate you.
Love is always kind. The word “father” suggests kindness. God does good and wills good not only to those who recognize and honor Him as a Father, but also to those prodigal sons who do not bother about Him or even turn from Him. His fatherly kindness towards them all is really untiring and boundless.
4. God is love and all His activity is kindness. He is eternal activity. He never wearies of bestowing His protection, His gifts, and His blessing upon His countless creatures. God did not create the world because He needed it, or because it could make Him happier, but out of the fullness of His happiness. He wanted others to share in His happiness. All God’s action in nature is pure kindness. But this is far more true of His action in the supernatural order where He shares with us His own divine life through sanctifying grace.
If God is infinitely kind, this kindness is also a family trait of all true children of God. You cannot draw close to God or be like Him without resembling Him in this, His outstanding quality. Our Savior points to the fact that we cannot be true children of God unless our souls are filled with this benign love: “Love your enemies . . . that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44, 45). And St. John says, “God is charity, and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
5. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s infinite love. In Him the kindness of God appeared visibly on earth. The human nature which He assumed was likewise filled with a goodness that has never found an equal. Even as man, Christ is the greatest of all lovers.
The objects of His burning love are children and those who are like them in spirit. Men of position and culture, such as Nicodemus or Pilate, He treats with gentle dignity. He is the Good Shepherd whose dealings with sinners of every description are not influenced by social considerations. He follows Zaccheus; He loves to have Mary Magdalen near His person; He judges mercifully the woman taken in adultery; He pardons the good thief and takes him home. His love embraces both friend and foe. In the midst of His agony He still provides for the Mother who gave Him His human life. He prays for His enemies who were even then taking it from Him. He allows John to rest His head upon His breast and Judas to kiss His brow. In His compassion, He stills the hunger of the multitude, recalls to life the only son of the widow, cleanses the lepers, heals the sick, consoles the afflicted, and enlightens those in ignorance and error.
At the end of His earthly life, after kneeling down to wash the feet of His friends, He said, “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also” (John 13:15). But the climax of this divine love was reached when in a last infinite deed of love, He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross. His love was love in action, and His action went so far as to make the supreme sacrifice. He Himself said: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Christ’s love embraces all nations. His Heart was large enough to love all mankind. Human kindness, the purest and noblest of virtues, is the sublime gift, the glorious inheritance which He left His brethren. True love in its highest degree has been attained only once, and that was in the Heart of a God dying on a cross as a sign of the complete gift of Himself to mankind.
The charity of Jesus Christ took every form and infinitely exceeded that of the holiest and best of men. Hence, St. Paul writes: “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit . . . that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).
6. The disciples of Jesus, particularly His blessed Mother, were notable for their kindness.
Whenever we speak of the natural kindheartedness of woman, we must always think first of Mary who, under the titles of “Mother of mercy,” “Comforter of the afflicted,” and “Mother most amiable,” has been the object of love among Christians during so many centuries.
According to the words of the Angel’s message, Mary was always full of grace. She was likewise full of kindness and love, and free from all hatred and bitterness. The few incidents that we know of her life are so many proofs of the goodness of her heart. A feeling of compassion for the newly-wedded couple at Cana compels her to invoke the divine omnipotence of her Son, even though she knew that His hour had not yet struck. By response to her petition, embarrassment is turned into wonderment; want, into plenty. Look at the walls of almost any of our old churches and of pilgrimage shrines. The many thousands ex-votos, or tokens of devout gratitude, silently proclaim that the guests at the marriage-feast of Cana were the first to express: “Mary has come to our help!”
With Mary there stood beneath the cross a man wonderful by reason of the kindness of his heart — John the Evangelist. John was our Lord’s favorite disciple chiefly because of the pure love that animated his innocent soul. When he reposed on the Heart of Jesus, his own heart also grew warm with love. In his three letters, we hear a noble and refined soul speaking to us with meek and gentle accents whose ever-recurring theme is charity. We can easily account for the beautiful old legend according to which the apostle, in extreme old age, had himself carried into the assembly of the faithful, where he did nothing but repeat again and again his favorite exhortation: “My little children, love one another.”
James, the kinsman of the Lord, was also an apostle of charity. He took up more particularly those elements of his Master’s message which have a social bearing. His epistle contains not only practical exhortations, such as the duty of watchfulness over the tongue, of meekness, of refraining from rash judgments, of taking an interest in the spiritual welfare of a brother, but also an earnest appeal to Christians to perform works of charity and to avoid all party spirit. It was James who first called the commandment of brotherly love, “the royal law.”
Stephen, the first martyr, died with a prayer of forgiveness upon his lips, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:59).
Perhaps through the wondrous saving power of such sacrificing love the first seed of conversion sank into the heart of Saul. Later the converted Paul was inflamed with the same sentiments: he became “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22), that he might win all for Christ and thus save them. His soul was filled with the kindness of both a father and a mother for his communities of Christians (Galatians 4:19). Whatever oppressed them, likewise weighed upon him (2 Corinthians 11:29). Deeds are the best and most natural proofs of the charity of a man of action. The whole world is acquainted with St. Paul’s journeys, his preaching, his scourgings, and his prisons. If ever the peculiar form of charity which we call zeal for souls was incarnate in a man, Paul was that man. In St. Paul’s epistles severity and manly sternness alternate with meekness, gentleness, and sympathy. Forgetting the chains that bound him in his prison-cell, he was concerned with the thought of doing away with the dissensions that disturbed the Christian communities. “I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all . . . But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:1-15).
7. Charity is the characteristic mark of Christians. Jesus told His Apostles: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). The pagans spoke of the first Christians in these terms: “See how they love one another!”
Is kindness the characteristic quality of your life? Imitate the love and kindness of the Heart of Jesus. Think of the way He loved you. His love reached out to you when you were not even thinking of Him. He came to you first. He is not discouraged by your ingratitude. He loves to make you holy and happy; He loves you in a disinterested way, for He has no need of you nor of your service. He loved you so much as to give the highest proof of love: He died on the cross for you. Christ would have your love for your neighbor reach even such heights. As St. John put it: “In this we have known the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). And yet how deficient is your love? How wanting in generosity!
A Prayer for Charity
Lord Jesus Christ, I adore You as the Son of God, and through the kind prayers of Your most sweet Mother, I beg You, from the abundance of Your loving Heart, send me the grace of the Holy Ghost, in order that He may enlighten my ignorance, purify and sanctify my sinful heart, and confirm me in Your holy love and in the love of my neighbor. This I beg of You through the love of the Father and the Holy Ghost, through the abundance of Your infinite mercy, and through the merits of all Your saints. Amen.
II. KIND THOUGHTS
“Take up your yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
I. Kind Thoughts Are a Blessing
1. Without kind thoughts there can be no charity. The kind thought is the mold into which charity is cast. The thought eventually takes shape in words and works of charity, and always remains the quickening power of these words and works, giving to them their freshness and beauty, their life and worth as in the case of the widow’s mite. In the end it is the kind thought that is the most precious element of even the greatest works of charity. As the unseen powers of electricity are converted into streams of light that illumine the darkness of the night, thus also the unseen force of kindly thoughts calls into existence the mighty undertakings of saints like those of Vincent de Paul or Don Bosco.
A Catholic Sister serving in a mission dispensary was dressing a very ugly and loathsome wound when a visitor happened along. The man turned pale at the sickening sight. He said to her, “Sister, I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.”
“Neither would I,” replied the Sister and calmly continued with her work. She was doing it for the love of Jesus.
Whenever the loving thought does not accompany words and works of charity, these are dead. And every man that does not bear and cherish within him kind and loving thoughts — whatever his works or speech may be — is devoid of charity, and, on the authority of St. John, such a one is dead: “He that loveth not, abideth in death” (1 John 3:14).
2. Kind Thoughts preserve you from many sins against charity. Uncharitable judgments and prejudices, misunderstandings and suspicions, envy and jealousy, uncharitable words and slander just will not take root in a soul that thinks kind thoughts. Aversion and bitterness disappear; strained relations are smoothed out; petty arguments end of themselves.
It you were to make it a practice to begin each day with a benevolent thought in your heart, instead of selfish ambition, you would not be inclined to deny any alms to the outstretched hand, or to ignore a favor rendered you. You would certainly be disposed to spare the feelings of oversensitive persons, to sympathize with the suffering, to help others in the solution of vexing problems confronting them. If, instead of harsh thoughts and bitter resentment, you fostered in your heart a readiness to forgive and forget, you would find it not too difficult to adopt a friendly attitude towards those who are habitually cold and hostile towards you.
3. Kind thoughts are the secret of success in dealing with people. Only a kind person is able to judge another justly, to make allowances for his weaknesses. A kind eye, while recognizing defects, sees beyond them. Its gaze is like that of a gentle mother who judges her beloved child more leniently, and at the same time, more correctly than would a stranger. As a mother’s love draws the heart of her child like a powerful magnet, so, too, does the genuinely kind person wield the power to influence others for good.
No one ever saw human weakness more clearly than Jesus saw it in His Apostles. Yet, how infinitely patient He was with their worldliness, their faults. The wellspring of His patience was a kindness of heart that nothing could disturb. His followers clung to Him with an unshakable confidence. Love radiated from His person and warmed the hearts of those surrounding Him. However, on occasion, He could show a firmness that nothing could budge. Never did He waver or compromise when the glory of His Father or the salvation of souls was at stake. Strive to resemble Him.
4. A kind thought never fails to bring joy. Happiness is not necessarily won by deeds, but it is readily held by a simple loving thought which can dispel the clouds of depression, discontent, and sadness. You may be ill, you may be poor, and you may be unlearned; but if your thoughts are kindly, you are indeed a happy person.
Kind thoughts gladden you first and then those around you. People never fail to notice the presence of such thoughts, even though your hand is empty and no word is spoken. And if it should happen that no one is aware of the pearls of kindly thoughts enclosed in the casket of your heart, so that no one rejoices over them, God, who knows all things and who is Himself an eternal thought of love, is aware of them. He rejoices over them. When you cherish a gracious thought, it is as if God saw His own Being reflected in a silent, sacred likeness, as the stars are reflected in a crystal pool.
5. Kind thoughts allow you to share in the good that others do. The good acts of others may be yours in the sight of God if, when you notice them, you offer them to God with a prayer and good wishes. You cooperate in God’s work when you wish your neighbor well, when you implore God’s blessing on his work, and rejoice and thank God for another’s success. You will become aware how blind you have been not to have realized the far-reaching effects of an encouraging word, a friendly glance, a kind deed. The good that you do in this way will be rewarded more than any other because it is wholly selfless.
II. Sins of Thought
One of the worst weaknesses you could have is finding fault or reminding others of their faults. In snooping around for the faults of your neighbor, you only succeed in adding another fault to your own load.
Ability to find fault is believed by some people to be a sure sign of wisdom, when in most cases it merely indicates narrowness of mind and ill-nature. Nothing requires so little intelligence as faultfinding; in fact, the less your ability, the sharper your triumph. A critic usually is a person who is unable to do the thing the way he thinks it should be done by others. He forgets that criticism and faultfinding, like charity, should begin at home. Added to the ignorance of the critic, you will find its companion, pride, and also a sort of envy or jealousy, for the faultfinder recognizes his own inability or failure.
Faults in others would not be so noticeable if you took time to examine your own. Borrow your neighbor’s glasses sometime. See yourself as others see you, and then you may not believe all you see. You very seldom measure the faults of your fellow man and your own with the same rule, or weigh them on the same scales. How much louder is the sound when someone else slams the door.
If, when you charged a person with his faults, you credited him with his virtues too, you would probably like everybody. It is just as easy to praise your neighbor as to find fault with him — even though you may not get much satisfaction out of such praise. Someone has said that we all have a basket hanging before us in which we put our neighbor’s fault, and another behind us in which we stow away our own.
Faultfinding and magnifying the mistakes of others are poor ways of changing the world for the better. Means to correct wrongdoing should always be positive and constructive, not negative and destructive.
2) Rash Judgments
You commit the sin of rash judgment when, without sufficient reason, you believe something that is harmful to another’s character. This is nothing less than to take to yourself the rights of Christ, who alone is the Supreme Judge of the living and the dead. Rash judgment is an act of injustice against your neighbor, for you condemn him without a hearing and without knowing the reasons and motives for his actions. You may even be under the influence of prejudice or anger. Both justice and charity demand not only that you keep from judging the actions of others, but that you interpret their actions in the best possible light.
Charity and honesty are the necessary qualities of fair judgment. When on meeting a person you feel an aversion to him, that is the most dangerous time for a proper opinion of him, his character, or his doings. Any judgment you pass upon him at such a time is bound to be unfair. You must be kindly disposed toward a person in order to reach a fair decision. Moods and temper and momentary feelings will influence judgments. What you look at from one angle today, you will study from another angle tomorrow, and both angles may be different from yesterday’s.
You can never judge with accuracy from outward appearances. You have no right to pass judgment on anybody or anything until you have examined the subject from all points of view and carefully weighed all accidental circumstances which by their nature might cast a different light upon the matter. To estimate a man’s character truly and fairly, you would have to know all the forces of heredity that played a part in the formation of his character, the environment in which he was brought up and in which he now lives, the stress of his passion, the limitation of his intelligence and even his physical condition.
People passed judgment upon Abraham Lincoln because of his uncouth appearance. Many could not see how anyone with only six months of schooling and limited contacts could be capable of sound judgment. To them he was merely a rail-splitter, a boorish country lawyer. Even some members of his cabinet considered him a fool. But people learned his true worth in the midst of that terrific and bloody war, in the gravest crisis that ever confronted this country. Then many of those who had been guilty of such snap judgments in regard to him, came to him for advice. When Lincoln died, Edwin Stanton, once his bitterest enemy, who had learned to admire the loftiness of his character, closed his eyes in death with the words: “Now he belongs to the ages.”
You cannot judge a man by his failures; you must judge him by what he makes of them. One of the greatest lessons to learn is the knack of extracting victory out of defeat. No one is a failure who is upright and true. There is but one real failure, and that is the person who is not true to the best that is in him.
In imitation of Jesus the saints were most merciful; they sought in every possible way to protect the reputation of their fellow men. You cannot do better than follow in their footsteps.
St. Augustine tells us a story of the man who complained to God about one of his neighbors. He concluded with, “O Lord, take away this person!”
And God said: “Which?”
3) Prejudice and Bigotry
When you persist in passing rash judgments, though they are very seldom accurate, and even stubbornly adhere to them though advised of their inaccuracy, you begin to cultivate a vice which is also a mental disease — prejudice. This disease may be described by a rhyme: “I do not like you, Mr. Pell. The reason why, I cannot tell. However, this I know right well: I do not like you, Mr. Pell.” If you are prejudiced, you will never seek a reason for these aversions in yourself but place the blame on “Mr. Pell.” When your prejudice extends to vast groups of men like Protestants, Jews, Italians, or Negroes, and you shut yourself off from them by a sort of spite-wall, you are suffering from a particularly harmful poison called bigotry.
Prejudice and bigotry find no room in the really intelligent mind, a mind that is not only open to conviction, but also thirsting for justice and fair play. They are diseases which bring misguided judgments, aversion, and hatred. Hence, prejudiced persons not only never speak well, but in their narrowness they can never think well of those whom they dislike, be they individuals or groups. Prejudice and bigotry are mists which in your journey through the world often dim and obscure the brightest and best of all the good and glorious objects that meet you on your way. They dwarf your soul by shutting out the truth.
Anger is a feeling of displeasure at a real or a supposed injury, with a desire to punish the offender.
Anger is venially sinful: a) if it is caused by a merely accidental injury; b) if you are more displeased with the offender than with the offense; c) if it tempts you to excessive punishment. Anger is seriously sinful if your feeling of displeasure turns into passion and gets beyond the control of reason. “Whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22).
Anger is not sinful: a) when there is only displeasure, with no desire to hurt; b) if, though there is dislike of the fault, you are trying to control your anger; c) if you seek to punish the hurt in a reasonable way. Such anger rises from hatred of sin; whereas, sinful anger rises from pride, envy, and jealousy.
Not only does anger make you ridiculous in your looks, words, and actions, but anger also causes harm. It harms your health; it makes you miserable and unhappy; it obscures your thinking and renders you unable to judge correctly; it breaks up friendships and families.
After frequent Holy Communion, prayer is the best means of obtaining strength to overcome anger. God’s grace is able to do what you cannot do because of your weakness. Often repeat the invocation: “Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.” If you have been unsuccessful in controlling your temper, be sorry for your fault at once and say, “My Jesus, mercy.” Try to look ahead to the occasions when you usually lose your temper and prepare yourself for them. It is well to inflict some little penance upon yourself for each failure to keep your good resolution.
III. The Practice of Kind Thoughts
The opportunities for the practice of kind thoughts are countless. But such a practice takes generous and continuous effort. The following suggestions may help.
1. Put yourself in the place of the other person. If you were in his place, how would the thing in question appear to you? How would you judge it? How would you feel if what you now hear about another were said about you? What would you wish others to think and say of you?
Put yourself in the place of the person’s mother, or someone else near and dear to him. How would she see and judge the matter? What would she wish? What would she do?
Think of God. How does the other person stand in His eyes? What is God’s viewpoint? What does God want of the person? What does God want of you now?
Frank answers to questions such as these will lead you to light and honesty in any situation. You will see at once what you must think and say, since you must love and treat everyone else as yourself. These questions reveal how selfish you really are without intending to be and how quick and superficial your judgments can be.
2. Remember your own faults. When you begin to find yourself habitually criticizing, it is time to inquire into your own state. Your own faults may be greater than those you condemn in others. The words of the Scriptures apply here: “Physician, heal thyself” (Luke 4:23). The more perfect you are, the more gentle you become toward the defects of others. Remember the Savior’s words to those who accused the woman caught in adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7).
St. Ignatius Loyola once wrote: “The man who sets about making others better is wasting his time, unless he begins with himself.” This does not mean that you have to be perfect in all things before trying to help others. But it does mean that you should acknowledge your own faults and strive to correct them, even while you try to do your part in winning the world back to Christ.
3. Remember the good points and virtues of others. Their virtues usually outweigh their faults. You must judge a man not by his failures, but by what he makes of them. A person who is kind never sees personal weaknesses in others. Someone once said: “When my friend is blind of one eye, I look at him in profile.” Kindness is the “eye which overlooks your friend’s broken gateway, but sees a rose which blossoms in his garden.” There is nothing that will so manifest your character, your heart, and your soul, as this sweet graciousness.
4. Try to find some excuse for the things that others do which you don’t like. This does not mean that you must force yourself to view things in a wrong light. On the contrary, it means that you must have your eyes open to the whole truth lest hasty judgments and prejudices close them to a part of the truth. This was the spirit of the Savior on the cross when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
5. Forgive injuries and try to make up at once with those who have offended you, or those whom you have offended. This duty is so necessary that Our Lord said: “Therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23, 24).
The first gift you must offer God is a heart free from all resentment towards others. Don’t ask yourself whether the person involved is more in the wrong than you are, or whether he should take the first step. As soon as possible, clear up every misunderstanding by an honest explanation. If the other person is the first to present his excuses, forgive him at once, for our Lord said: “If you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offenses. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses” (Matthew 6:14, 15).
One day St. Elizabeth of Hungary received an insult so great that her soul was disturbed. She sought comfort in prayer. In tears, she begged Our Lord to bestow on her enemies a blessing for every injury they had inflicted on her.
She heard a voice: “Never did you offer Me any prayers so agreeable as these; for saying them, I now pardon all the sins you ever committed.”
In surprise she replied, “Who are you?”
The voice answered: “I am He at whose feet Mary Magdalen knelt in the house of Simon the publican.”
If you desire to obtain from God the pardon of the sins you have committed against Him, you must forgive from your heart those who have offended you. What is more, you must pray for them even as Jesus did. This is the greatest act of charity.
6. Be sympathetic. Have feeling for others. Take a sincere interest in all that concerns them, as St. Paul admonishes: “Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).
7. Try to see God and Jesus Christ in your neighbor. Love for your neighbor means loving God in your neighbor. Love your neighbor for God’s sake. This will lift your kindness to a supernatural plane and, at the same time, make it more generous, active, and universal.
Our Lord identifies Himself with your neighbor and considers whatever service you render to others as rendered to Himself. He also means kind thoughts when He says, “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). “Christ in all,” should be your motto.
8. Pray for others. Pray that God may be glorified in and through them. Pray for the success of their work even more than for your own. Such unselfish charity will draw down God’s blessing upon your own work and will make it doubly fruitful.
Get into the habit of saying so-called “We” prayers with special interest. Make your petitions universal instead of self-centered. Place the accent on “we” rather than on “I.” Kindness is the spirit of all the prayers of the Church, such as the following:
O God, You desire that Your faithful be of one mind and heart. Grant, we beg of You, that Your people may love that which You have commanded and long for that which You have promised. Amid all the changes of earthly things, may our hearts remain grounded in that unity in which true joy is found, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
9. Frequent Holy Communion will increase and preserve love for your neighbor. It is the Banquet of Love which Christ prepared for the children of God at the very time when He declared to His Apostles His new commandment of love. The Eucharist is the bond of charity that unites all Christians as members of one spiritual Body, the Church, even as the soul gives life to each member of the human body. St. Paul says, “The Bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one Bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17). By giving you a fuller share in the life of Christ, Holy Communion unites you more intimately to all the members of His Mystical Body, the Church.
Through frequent Holy Communion, Jesus will also give you help to carry out His great commandment of love for your neighbor and to put away all unkindness. He will give you the actual grace to love your neighbor as yourself for His sake and to respect and love Him as God’s image and likeness. Then you will look upon your neighbor as a child of your heavenly Father, as the temple of the Holy Ghost, as one to whom He gives Himself in Holy Communion, as one whom He identified with Himself. By frequent Holy Communion you will learn to overcome your selfishness, and to resist your natural feelings and reactions such as hatred and bitterness; you will develop kindness and sympathy, forbearance, and forgiveness; you will learn to think kindly of everyone and to find your happiness in making others happy.
1. Have I refused in my heart to forgive a person who has injured me?
2. Have I recalled, when hurt by others, how God has forgiven me for my many sins, and tried to forgive in the same generous spirt?
3. Have I nursed resentment against others, even though I did make an effort at forgiveness?
4. Has my sensitiveness caused me to be unfriendly towards others?
5. Have I cast a gloom over my surroundings by giving way to morose and sullen moods?
6. Have I permitted jealousy towards another to show in my conduct?
7. Do I deliberately harbor unkind and revengeful thoughts about others?
8. Have I attributed bad motives to others, when I could not be certain of their motives?
9. Am I inclined to be rude, impolite, too distant, or too harsh in my judgments?
10. Have I been sufficiently aware of the far-reaching power of my example, which influences others for good or bad, even when I do not advert to that influence?
11. Do I frequently remember these words of Christ, which apply to acts of charity: “As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me”?
12. Do I wish my neighbor all the good things that I wish for myself?
13. Have I adopted the twofold motto: Never give pain, and promote the happiness of others whenever possible?