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A Simple Act of Kindness

The other day I was feeling downhearted about a number of things—including the illness of loved ones and the acts of horrific bigotry and violence in our country. I decided to go outside for some fresh air. Actually I didn’t feel much like going outside, but I knew that wallowing in my discouragement was not helpful.

As I returned from my brief walk, a tall, thin man wearing a baseball cap was coming down the steps of our house. Perhaps he was making a retreat or was with a group meeting here. Neither of us spoke, but he smiled and took off his hat as we passed.

That’s all. A simple act of kindness and courtesy. But what a difference it made to my spirit—especially, for some reason, the lifting of his hat.

A simple act of kindness, especially on a difficult day, can feel like the touch of God—and perhaps it is indeed that. After all, our human kindness, I believe, has its source in the divine kindness. The wellspring of all our human goodness is the love and good will of God toward us.

“We love because [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

We often don’t know the effect kindness can have on others. This may be particularly true when we show kindness when it has not been shown to us. But if we pay attention to the effect a simple act can have on us, we may be more inclined to show kindness ourselves. And if we take notice of the small kindnesses bestowed on us when we least expect them, we may also become more aware of Goodness at the heart of creation.

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift,
is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
(James 1:17)

For several examples  of kindness bestowed during my years at the Cenacle in Gainesville, Florida, see:  "Random Acts of Kindness"

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Jesus is risen!

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
...
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:1, 12-15)

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For Thanksgiving and Beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thank my God every time I remember you,
constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.
(Philippians 1:3-5)

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