The Hidden Power of Kindness by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik

Kindness – The world needs kindness. There is no more genuine kindness than that which has its inspiration through the grace of God and in perfect fulfillment of God’s greatest law: “the royal law of charity.” When you are kind, you put others in the place of yourself (“love your neighbor as yourself” – Luke 10:27). Kindness is our imitation of Divine Providence. If you are earnestly conforming yourself to the image of Jesus Christ, sharpness, bitterness, and sarcasm disappear. Kindness adds sweetness to everything. A kind word or a kind act is like lighting another man’s candle with your own, which loses none of its brightness by what others gain.

Kindness anticipates others’ needs and wishes – to carry out a need or satisfy a wish before a request is made. An act of charity even more beautiful than a simple readiness to serve another – love prompts gracious thoughts & tells you of your neighbor’s wish & urges you to comply with it. The constant striving to do good on your own initiative. If you concentrate on yourself too often, your life will be flat and empty.

Once St. John of the Cross was washing the feet of a humble beggar, when suddenly there appeared on the feet he was washing the stigmata of our Lord. Unperturbed and with utter simplicity, the saint looked up into the beggar’s eyes and said, “So it is You, Lord.”

Kindness has a powerful influence on others – Kindness is constantly winning stray souls back to God by opening hearts that seemed obstinately closed. Kindness has converted more souls than either zeal, eloquence, or learning. No kind act ever stops with itself. The amount of kindness bears no proportion to the effect on kindness. It is not what you do, but how you do it that matters. The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures the most.

THE FRATERNITY OF KINDNESS

Membership: No enrollment is necessary. There are no officers, no meetings, and no dues. You must make up your mind that you want to belong to it and then begin immediately to keep these rules.

Don’ts:

1. Don’t speak unkindly of anyone.

2. Don’t speak unkindly to anyone.

3. Don’t act unkindly toward anyone.

Dos:

1. Do speak kindly of someone at least once a day.

2. Do think kindly about someone at least once a day.

3. Do act kindly toward someone at least once a day.

For any unkindness committed:

1. Make a brief act of contrition: “My Jesus, mercy!”

2. Offer an apology, if possible.

3. Say a prayer for the one to whom you have been unkind to.

Love – it is impossible for love & selfishness to live together in your soul. The selfish man knows no rest. He feels compelled to strive for more & then defend and watch over his acquisitions. He has lost his real freedom for he has become the slave of the evil instinct of self-love. Your every task, even the most commonplace, can be changed, as the water was at Cana, into the wine of sacrifice.

Make others feel important – if you want to make friends, go out of your way to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness. Greet people enthusiastically and sincerely. A man’s name is to him the most important sound in his language. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” – Matt 7:12, Luke 6:31. To do good to others because you are convinced that Christ will consider it as having been done to Him personally is a sign of pure love of God.

Master your senses & passions through discipline – Look for happiness not in selfishness, but in self-denial. The Son of God preached self-denial to spur us on the way to happiness. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matt 10:34.  He meant that He had come to wage war against self and selfish passions. He came to free men from the misery into which their selfishness had led them. Love must grow ever more pure until it does not find its goal in the flesh.

Self-denial brings peace & happiness – The peace Jesus gives is founded on victory over our passions; whereas the peace of the world is based on surrender to our passions. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake with find it.” – Matt 10:39. He meant that he who seeks himself instead of God will find unhappiness and death. Our Lord said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Matt 16:24. Here on earth you cannot love God without renouncing whatever is an obstacle to His love. The more complete your detachment from the things of this world, the happier you will be.  “From the moment I began to forget myself, I led the happiest life possible.” – St. Therese of Liseux.

Charity – the true meaning of charity is more the giving of what you are than of what you have. Your neighbor does not require a portion of your money or possessions, but he longs for a portion of your heart. Because the sacrifice of Christ was so pleasing to God, He gladly accepts any offering or sacrifice on your part that you unite with it.  The essence of Christianity is to be found in selfless service bestowed upon your neighbor for the love of God. Forgo personal advantages voluntarily so that others may be brought closer to Christ.

Avoid passing judgment on others – faults in others would not be so noticeable if you took time to examine your own. Borrow your neighbor’s glasses sometime. Once you have come to know yourself, you will lose all desire to sit in judgment upon others. Nobody can judge fairly except God. Strive for a heart free from all resentment toward others. By sweetening the fountains of your thoughts, you destroy the bitterness of your judgments.  Since God does not propose to judge man until the end of his days, why should you?

Be in the world & not of it – You know what Jesus meant when He said that you have to be in the world and not of it, and that, if you wanted to follow Him, you could expect disappointments and even insults. The disciple is not above the Master, and the world crucified the Master. When you must suffer, think of the Master standing head and shoulders above those who were taunting Him.  If you are not wiling to forgive your enemies, you have no right to expect forgiveness from God for your own sins.

Do not even listen to detraction – There would not be so many to talk about the faults of others if there were not just as many willing listeners. “It is hard to say what is worse, to injure other by words or to listen to one who does.” – St. Bernard. “When we injure others, what else do we do but scatter dust into the air, which blinds our eyes, so that we see less of the truth, the more evil we speak about others?” – St. Gregory. Never say behind a man’s back what you are ashamed to say to his face. Avoid people who gossip. By harsh words, you write on the souls of men that which you cannot rub out.

Learn to avoid quarrels –  say nothing that will arouse anger in another. Learn to be silent. Don’t repeat gossip or slander.  Is it fair to notice the speck of dust in your neighbor’s eye when perhaps there is a log in yours?  Let your corrections spring from love, never from irritation.

Comments

  1. Very inspirational

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