Posted by: fvbcdm | February 21, 2014

Feast of Saint Peter Damian (21 February 2014)

One day, a group of us in the novitiate were talking about our novice master and one of our brothers said that Father Walsh had made a great impression on his mother.  And he quoted his mother as saying about Father Walsh: “He is so kind!”  The other day those words came back to me and I realized how true they were of Father Walsh, and how great it would be if they could be said about all of us.  As I look into my own heart and conscience, I find that I am not always kind.  What exactly does “kind” mean?  My dictionary says that it means benevolent, well-disposed, gracious, showing tenderness.

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment of the law, he said: Love God with your whole heart.  And he added to it another one: love your neighbor as yourself.  We are all kind to ourselves; we want the best for ourselves; we are concerned about our own benefit and advantage.  Our Lord wants us to treat others in that same way.  Elsewhere in the gospel, he gives us what has come to be called “the golden rule.”  It is this: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  We certainly want others to be kind to us.  Well, then, Christ wants us to be kind to them, whether they are in fact kind to us or not.  Jesus does not command us to do unto others as they do to us, but rather as we would HAVE them do unto us.   We all know unpleasant, cantankerous people.  We all know crabby, critical, mean-spirited people.  We know men who are ambitious even at the expense of others whom they treat unjustly.  We know women who are vain about their appearance and look with contempt upon other women, and gossip about them. We know children and teenagers who are cruel to their peers and take advantage of their own brothers and sisters. 

Kindness cannot be extended only to those who are kind to us; that is not Christian.  “The pagans do as much,” as Our Lord tells us.  We must be kind to all, just like our heavenly Father, who makes the sun shine upon good and bad alike, the rain to fall upon the people we like and those we don’t like.

Let us ask ourselves often, “Am I kind?  Would those who know me use that adjective to describe me?”  One day we will stand before the judgment seat of Our Lord.  What a joy it will be if he can say to us: “You were kind to others.  I count that as your having been kind to me.  Now, let me be kind to you forever.”  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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