Posted by: fvbcdm | June 17, 2013

Feast of Saint Teresa of Portugal (17 June 2013)

When my classmates and I arrived in our novitiate to begin our religious life and preparation for the priesthood, we found that the novice master was a very gentle old Irishman by the name of Father Nicholas Walsh. However, he wasn’t with us very long, because he had been in that position for seventeen years, in Iowa and then in Minnesota, and he had asked to be sent south since he found the winters in the north hard to bear.  One day, when one of the other students was talking about him, he said to me, “My mother was very fond of Father Walsh. He was so kind!”

I’ve never forgotten that.  The adjective “kind” is one of the nicest words that anyone can use to describe another person.  In the gospel of today’s Mass, Our Lord points out to us that his heavenly Father treats all his human creatures with kindness and benevolence—both the good and the bad.  Jesus says that God the Father makes his sun to shine on the good and the bad, and his rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. And then he goes on to say to us: Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Examine your conscience a bit. Do people ever call you “kind?” Do you make a real effort to treat everyone with the courtesy, the affability, the desire to be of help and encouragement that you would like them to use in treating you? In this regard, are you a true son or daughter of God your Father?

When I was in high school, one of our teachers, a Jesuit priest, told the story of General John J. Pershing when he was a cadet at the military academy at West Point. When that class graduated from the academy, the commanding officer of the graduating class was accustomed to make some notation in the student register if the individual was outstanding in some quality. We were told that that year, when the graduating cadets were listed in that register, the commanding officer wrote, when he came to Pershing’s name, “John J. Pershing. Dependable.”  Some years later, he rose to the position of the commanding officer of all the allied troops fighting in France during World War I.  And he showed himself to be, indeed, VERY dependable.

Won’t it be nice if at the end of our lives, the angel who makes entries in the Book of Life can write of us “John Smith. Kind.” or “Mary Jones. Kind.” That notation would indicate that he or she was like God our Father, and that is no small compliment!  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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