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Good Directions: Spiritual Exercise 11/14/22

Please join us Monday 11/14/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MST (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EST).

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Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Good Directions

In the past, people used to carry cards in their wallets that read: “I am a Catholic. In case of accident, please call a Priest.” These days it might be wise to re-institute that practice. It may be wise to think about leaving a set of spiritual directives in the same way we leave medical directives for the hospital and for our families to follow.

Recently, while on a home visit, I found that one of our neighbors, growing up, had had a stroke and was placed in hospice. She was like a second Mom to the kids in the neighborhood. Her husband had already passed away, and so her two children were left to attend her. But one was unable to do much because of a long-standing drug problem, and the other only managed to see his Mother once because of anxiety issues and a fear of seeing his Mom “like that.” Neither child thought to call a priest, put a scapular on her, ask people for prayers, or do anything other than wait for her to die. They did not plan a funeral Mass for her but just a simple service at the funeral home, after which she was cremated. I was afraid to ask what they did with the ashes.

I took it upon myself to visit her several times, pray with her, put a scapular on her, call a priest to anoint her, and have Masses said for her. I did for her what I would want people to do for me, especially as one is about to step into eternity. Yet, this scenario is becoming increasingly frequent because grown children are no longer practicing their faith and do not think about the spiritual needs of their dying loved ones. Even those practicing the faith have fallen into the bad habit of neglecting the spiritual needs of both the dying and those who have already died. We put everyone in heaven, not remembering that many souls need the purifying fires of Purgatory. The saints tell us that the holy souls actually place themselves there to be worthy to stand before the purity and goodness of God’s spotless love for us. Once a soul experiences this all-encompassing love, there is nothing else they long for. And it is indeed heartless on our part to fail to help them.

Maria Simma, a mystic who received many visits from the souls in Purgatory, said the biggest complaint of the souls who came to her asking for prayers was that their families, their relatives forgot about them and never had prayers or Masses said for them. Sometimes all they needed was one or two Masses so they could be released and finally be with God in heaven, their one overwhelming and burning desire. Maria felt it was, at the least, neglectful on our part and, at the most, cruel to forget them this way since what they suffer in Purgatory is so much greater than we can imagine, and we can so quickly obtain relief and deliverance for them. They cannot help themselves because the time for meriting is passed. But we can help them from here. And they are so grateful that in turn they do much to assist us in return by obtaining special graces for us.

Do not forget to pray for the Holy Souls who are detained in Purgatory from their final beatitude. And seriously consider leaving instructions for your own passing, for Masses and prayers to be said. Nothing will go to waste. If our relatives or we no longer need prayer, Our Lady will apply them to other needy souls. And they will express their everlasting gratitude by imploring all the graces needed in our own lives.

Remember that arriving promptly and unerringly at a destination often depends on the directions we give and receive. This will apply in eternity just as it does here and now.

Questions for silent reflection:

  1. Do you have a clear idea of what you would like to have in place for your own transition into eternity? Have you written it down and shared it so that it is implemented at the proper time?
  1. How do you think about Purgatory? Do you think you can avoid it? Or do you see it as inevitable?
  1. Praying and offering things up for the Holy Souls is an act of charity for which they are very grateful and will offer assistance in return. Choose at least one prayer or practice to do for them daily.
  1. Do you pray regularly and have Masses said for your own deceased relatives and ancestors?

Some additional prayers that can be used:

  1. When blessing oneself with Holy Water: “By this holy water and Thy Precious Blood, cleanse me of my sins Dear Lord and deliver and relieve the Holy Souls in Purgatory.”
  2. According to tradition, St. Gertrude the Great was told by Our Lord that each time she piously recited the following prayer, it would release 1,000 souls (or a vast number) from their suffering in purgatory
    • “Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.”

Thank you for visiting us. May God Bless you in abundance.

The Triumph Of Truth: Spiritual Exercise 10/10/22

Please join us Monday 10/10/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET).

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Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


The Triumph of Truth

Imagine you are a farmer and own 500 acres of the best land in the region. This land bears the highest yields and the best produce. But imagine now that every time you tell a lie or are dishonest, a piece of your land, small or large, depending on the size of the lie, goes to your neighbor. Your neighbor is an unbelievably bad farmer. His land never produces anything but thistles and thorns. This alone should induce you to become one of the most honest people in the county so that your land remains firmly and securely in your hands.

This is very much like the challenge we are engaged in every day. The devil, the father of lies, owns vast amounts of territory. And every time we lie, we increase the size of his territory because he owns all dishonesty and falsehood. Depending on our commitment to one or the other (the truth or dishonesty), we can reach the point where the “land” we farm no longer truly belongs to us. It is in the domain of and under the power of the evil one. And the fruit that comes from this land is definitely rotten. History bears this out unequivocally.

Why is this important? Because even little lies amount to territory surrendered to the evil one. And that can add up to a condition wherein one becomes unwilling or unable to see the truth, especially in the face of much larger lies.  

If you ask yourself what the greatest lie ever perpetrated in human history is, many answers come up. But with each of them, one is always left with the same question. How could people have believed that? How could Adam and Eve have believed the lie of the serpent?  After ten years of war, how could the people of Troy have believed the Trojan horse was a gift and not a trick? How could anyone have believed the Nazi propaganda that demonized a whole race of people with the intent of exterminating them? How can people believe that abortion is a right and that a baby is merely a clump of undefinable cells?  

And the greatest lie ever perpetrated? Jesus crucified! How could anyone have believed that Jesus, who went about doing good and freeing the oppressed, who was pure goodness, love, and mercy, deserved to be executed? The very people who had experienced His mercy, forgiveness, healing, teaching, and miracles suddenly find themselves shouting: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

The Jewish Virtual Library states that “Hitler and his cronies orchestrated what they called “the Big Lie.” This theory states that no matter how big the lie is (or, more precisely, because it’s so big), people will believe it if you repeat it enough. Everyone tells small lies, but few have the guts to tell colossal lies. Because a big lie is so unlikely, people will come to accept it.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great anti-communist dissident, noted that living by lies begins when we accept “without protest all the falsehoods and propaganda that the state compels its citizens to affirm—or at least not to oppose—to get along peaceably under totalitarianism. Everybody says that they have no choice but to conform and to accept powerlessness. But that is the lie that gives all the other lies their malign force. The ordinary man may not be able to overturn the kingdom of lies, but he can at least say that he is not going to be its loyal subject.” 

As we look at the world today, grave dishonesty seems to have penetrated into everything from education to medicine to advertising to politics. The Big Lie is used more and more frequently to convince people that what they actually see is not the reality. Yet, says Solzhenitsyn, “a single person who stops lying can bring down a tyranny.”

In his book, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, Rod Dreher says: “It is up to us today to take up this challenge, to live not by lies and to speak the truth that defeats evil. How do we do this in a society built on lies? By accepting a life outside the mainstream, courageously defending the truth, and being willing to endure the consequences.”  “The kind of Christians we will be in the time of testing depends on the kind of Christians we are today.” 

Questions for silent reflection:

  1. Have you encountered any problems with the Truth in your experience with the medical world since being diagnosed with cancer? Do you notice any problems with honesty in the way people are diagnosed and treated?
  1. Has truth ever become an issue in the way you relate to family and friends around the subject of illness?
  1. Fear often becomes a reason for lying and for going into denial even with oneself.  What do you think is the greatest antidote to the kind of fear that causes us or others to want to be untruthful?
  1. What makes the truth beautiful and desirable?  Why would we want to strive for honesty (with charity) in all things?

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The Better Part: Spiritual Exercise 09/12/22

Please join us Monday 09/12/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET).

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Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


The Better Part

Several years ago, the biography channel ran a number of stories on near-death experiences. One story involved a man, Matthew Botsford, who had traveled to Atlanta for business meetings and was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a restaurant.

After dying, this man found himself closed inside a terrifying darkness, confined to a cell where he couldn’t move to the right or the left and couldn’t move up or down. He heard screams and dreadful noises all around him. He knew he was in hell, and he did not question that he should be there. He understood that love didn’t belong in that place and that he was being kept there and would be there forever. He experienced an “incredible evil pressing in” on him, along with great terror and fear. For Matthew, this was torment. And yet, he was not what the world would consider a bad person. He was a successful businessman. But he understood that he had put success in business, in his projects, in his work, above everything else, above God and his family. He was completely materialistic, and for that, he knew he was where he merited to be.

He explained that at the time, he did not even know the name of Jesus and, therefore, never thought to cry out for help or to express sorrow. 

During his dying experience, he had been rushed to the local ER, and they had worked frantically to bring him back. He had been shot in the head, and after 4 minutes without a heartbeat, his chances of survival were almost zero. But his experience on the other side was one of suddenly seeing an immense hand slowly reach down from above and grab him while he heard a voice “like the roar of mighty waters,” tell him it was not his time. At this point, the doctors were able to restart his heart. But Matthew had gone over 5 minutes with no heartbeat and now had massive brain damage. He was not expected to survive the night. So, the doctors began seeking consent to harvest the organs of this otherwise perfectly healthy 28-year-old.

His wife, who had flown in immediately upon hearing what had happened and seeing his condition, began praying for him, asking God to restore her husband as she knew him. She rightly feared that his survival might be compromised by grave disability from brain damage.  But she refused to terminate life support and promised God she would stay with him. She stayed by his bedside for 27 days when he began to come out of his coma.  

Matthew slowly recovered though he still has the bullet lodged in his brain and suffers certain effects from the shooting. But none is as deep as the realization that hell is real and this life is meant for far more than accumulating wealth and success by the world’s standards. His wife recognizes that God changed Matthew’s heart. He exudes peace and anticipates the life to come now that he knows what the real focus is meant to be. He devotes himself to God, his family, and to helping others understand that every choice here impacts our eternity. He has chronicled his experience in a book called “A Day in Hell” and continues to emphasize we will spend forever in one of two places:  heaven or hell.  

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once lamented the amount of suffering in the world that is wasted because it is not united to the redemptive suffering of Christ. This man discovered that work also can be wasted when we are not working for things that will last. The world may greatly admire us for our energy, industriousness, our successes, and our productivity. But, as Jesus said:  To whom will all your built-up treasure go?  

The “better part” that Jesus spoke of has to be found in each of our lives. And then it has to be embraced as the true treasure that gives us a pledge of heaven and the unimaginable life God has prepared for us. It is profitable to remember that the devil also has a place prepared for us, and where we end up is a consequence of our choices along the way.

Questions for silent reflection:

  1. This story shows the great love and mercy and goodness of God.  In sending Matthew back to his life here, God’s mercy and light extend through Matthew to others here who may be unaware of which direction their own lives are going in.  How has God’s love and mercy come to you and affected your own direction in life?
  1. If we all have to choose the better part, what does the better part look like for someone who has a serious illness or chronic suffering?
  1. How has suffering helped you prioritize what is most important in life?  Are your priorities different now than before you were sick?
  1. Interior peace, peace of soul, (not complacency) even in the midst of struggle, is usually a sign that we are moving in the right direction. Agitation and anxiety often clue us in to areas we need to examine and work on. What is your experience of navigating the challenges of life in the light of eternity? Is there anything right now demanding your attention?

Thank you and God Bless you. We will see you again on Monday, 10/10/22

The Work Of Suffering: Spiritual Exercise 08/08/22

Please join us Monday 08/08/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET).

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Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


The Work of Suffering

Is there any real purpose to suffering? Why is there so much of it? What good can possibly come from it? These are questions humanity has asked almost from the beginning of time. No one goes through life without experiencing suffering in one form or other many times over. Sorrow and woe are woven into our existence here whether we like it (and most don’t) or not. But what good is it? Are we meant to do more than endure it? Does it have any power to change things for the better?

One of the newest young people on a path toward beatification, Carlotta Nobile, has a surprising answer to these questions. Carlotta was born in 1988 in Rome and quickly became noticed for her extraordinary musical talent. She was one of the most popular young violinists of her time and became the artistic director of Santa Sophia Academy Chamber Orchestra in Benevento at the age of 21. She won many awards for her music and was involved in many different outreaches and programs for the support of the arts.

At 22, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with melanoma, a cancer that had already metastasized. She endured many treatments and surgeries. During this time, she was deeply touched by a sermon Pope Francis gave to young people in which he told them not to be afraid of the Cross but to embrace it with joy. This is precisely what she strove to do. Her understanding of her illness in the prime of her life, and with so much promise in her future, was recorded in a blog for cancer patients, which she began writing and sharing anonymously. She communicated a remarkable degree of Faith and extraordinary insight into the workings of suffering in her life:

“I don’t even know how many centimeters of surgery scars have been drawn on my body, but I love them all, one by one. Every single centimeter of etched skin which will never be healed! Those are the starting points of my wings. “

“… there’s an Afterwards you’ll never stop fighting for. Because nobody can keep you away from the certainty that – despite all the scars, surgeries, needles in veins, tests, contrast liquids, therapies, and sorrows – there’s a unique happiness waiting for you, there’s your greatest dream which keeps looking at you from the future and can’t wait to reach you. Because you know that all you’re living now will be given back to you.”

Perhaps her most extraordinary understanding is revealed in the following words:

“…in a moment, you understand that the cancer can HEAL YOUR SOUL, restore the balance in your life essence and give you Faith, hope, self abandon, consciousness of finally becoming who you really wanted to be in all your life but never were: a PEACEFUL WOMAN. …in your strengths and weaknesses, it leads you to savour each moment, each smell, each flavour, each perception, each word, each sharing, every little fragment of infinity condensed in a very common and very precious moment. You understand that it’s cancer with its torment and aggressiveness, with its brutality, to bring you the LIGHT in the end. »

Her very last post (she died at the age of 24) witnesses the accomplishment of the work of suffering in her life:

“I’m healed in my soul. In an instant, in an ordinary day, as I awoke from a crisis. I opened my eyes and I found I was a new person. And that’s a miracle. “

— Carlotta Nobile, Il Cancro E Poi_, April 5, 2013

Pope St. John Paul II witnessed the same thing in his own life:

“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.”

What if we were able to look at suffering in the same way? What if we could understand all that happens or is allowed to happen as a means that God will use to heal our immortal souls and prepare them for eternity? If we can see differently, see in Faith, the Cross will begin to lose its terror and shame and become something to embrace for the sake of the joy that lays before us.

Questions for silent reflection:

1. What do you think of the possibility that illness can heal deeper parts of us in the midst of our suffering?

2. Have you experienced unexpected graces from cancer and your own experience with it?

3. If you could live your life over again without cancer, and without suffering, would you choose that? Why or why not?

4. What wisdom from your own suffering would you want to share with others?

Finding The True Peripheries: Spiritual Exercise 06/13/22

Please join us Monday 06/13/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET).

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Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Finding The True Peripheries

From the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Francis began speaking about the Church’s call to go out to the peripheries in its evangelization efforts. Even before he was elected, Cardinal Bergoglio had said, “The church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents and of all misery.” He noted: “Mercy is the first thing the Catholic Church is called to bring to those peripheries.”

One thing that seems to escape attention in the commentaries is a better definition of terms. Peripheries are defined by their center. To know the peripheries, the center has to be identified first. If, for instance, your center is well-being and prosperity, then all those farthest away from prosperity, the most impoverished and destitute, become the periphery. If your center is security, then the peripheries would be made up of those with the least security, protection, or chance of living in safety. If power is at the center, then the most powerless would make up the peripheries. 

But if we look at the work of evangelization, we see one center. And all the considerations mentioned above would flow from it. That center, of course, is Jesus Christ and the Gospel message. 

If Christ is the center, then the peripheries have to be understood somewhat differently. The fringes then become those farthest away from Christ. This means that a secular city like Seattle, which may have a higher number of affluent people and prosperous businesses, could be more on the peripheries than a similar-sized city in the Philippines where the people though poor, are living a vibrant faith, exercising a living relationship with God amid their daily struggles for survival but closer to Christ overall. This does not dismiss the call we have to exercise charity and justice in relation to the materially needy. But it is not the same as reaching to the peripheries in this sense.

When Christ is at the center, the peripheries cease to be defined geographically or socio-economically. The arena instead becomes the human person. As Pope Francis has reminded us, mission is not a foreign location. It’s the human person. “Today…every dimension of the human being is mission territory, awaiting the announcement of the Gospel.”  We see this clearly with the latest horrific tragedy in Uvalde, TX and the massacre of 19 innocent children and two teachers. There are “peripheries” in this country we are not reaching.  We will go to a foreign country more easily than reaching to the brokenness in people who live right next to us.

We see many dioceses closing Churches because of a lack of vocations. We see attendance numbers dropping significantly. The “nones” (no religious affiliation) are increasing, and the number of those who have become either agnostic or reject religion altogether is startling. “The field of mission seems to expand every day, with men and women in desperate situations…there is need of you, of your missionary courage, your willingness to take to all the Good News that liberates and consoles.” Pope Francis. Oct. 6, 2016

The literally poor and societally marginalized will never be left out. If we are genuinely linked to Christ, the poor and marginalized will be cared for as a central part of the Church’s outreach. Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters, and educates more people than any other organization in the world. 

At the same time, Jesus died to save everyone, including those who may be fortunate by the world’s standards but poorest by the Lord’s standards. The measure that we use has to be Christ and the Blood He shed for all souls. In trying to reach to the “peripheries” of today, it is necessary to see oneself in a new light:

“I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. We have to regard ourselves as sealed, even branded, by this mission of bringing light, blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing, and freeing.” (Evangelii Gaudium).

That may mean that the “peripheries” in your own life are within your own family or even within your own soul. 

1.  Pope Francis echoes a sentiment of Catherine de Houek Dougherty who said:  “today the field of mission is the broken heart of man where no one wants to go.”  What do you think is the biggest wound in the hearts of people today?

2.  What do you think your particular mission is?  Why did God set you into this time?  What do you bring to God’s people?

3.  How does knowing your own brokenness help you reveal Christ to others?

4. Why is it hard to talk about Jesus to people you know or meet? Why does it take courage today to work in the mission of Christ?

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3

Reflections On Kindness: Spiritual Exercise 05/09/22

Please join us Monday 05/09/2022 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET). ✝️🕍

Click on Zoom:

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Reflections on Kindness

Fr. Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)

“Man has considerable powers, considerable enough to leave him, as proprietor of this planet. He has one power in particular, which is not sufficiently dwelt on. It is the power of making the world happy, or, at least, of so greatly diminishing the amount of unhappiness in it as to make it quite a different world from what it is at present. This power is called kindness. 

The worst kinds of unhappiness, as well as the greatest amount of it, come from our conduct to each other. If our conduct, therefore, were under the control of kindness, it would be nearly the opposite of what it is, and so the state of the world would be almost reversed. We are for the most part unhappy because the world is an unkind world; but the world is only unkind for the lack of kindness in us who compose it. It is plainly worth our while to take some trouble to gain clear and definite notions of kindness. We practice more easily what we already know clearly. 

We must first ask ourselves what kindness is. Kindness is the overflowing of self upon others. We put others in the place of self. We treat them as we would wish to be treated ourselves. We change places with them. For the time self is another, and others are self.

We cannot speak of the virtues without thinking of God. Kindness is the coming to the rescue of others when they need it, and it is in our power to supply what they need, and this is the work of the attributes of God towards His creatures. (God is always doing this with us.)

Kindness is also like Divine grace, for it gives men something which neither self nor Nature can give them. What it gives them is something of which they are in want, or something which only another person can give, such as consolation; and besides this, the manner in which this is given is a true gift in itself, better far than the thing given. Kindness adds sweetness to everything. It is kindness which makes life’s capabilities blossom, and paints them with their cheering hues, and endows them with their invigorating fragrance.

See how, turn which way we will, kindness is entangled with the thought of God! Last of all, the secret impulse out of which kindness acts is an instinct which is the noblest part of ourselves, the most undoubted remnant of the image of God which was given us at the first. We must, therefore, never think of kindness as being a common growth of our nature, common in the sense of its being of little value. It is the nobility of man. In all its modifications it reflects a heavenly type. It runs up into eternal mysteries. It is a Divine thing rather than a human one, and it is human because it springs from the soul of man just at the point where the Divine image was graven deepest. 

Each solitary kind action that is done the whole world over is working briskly in its own sphere to restore the balance between right and wrong. The more kindness there is on the earth at any given moment, the greater is the tendency of the balance between right and wrong to correct itself and remain in equilibrium. Nay, this is short of the truth. Kindness allies itself with right to invade the wrong and beat it off the earth.

This dear virtue is forever entering into God’s original dispositions as Creator. He meant the world to be a happy world, and kindness means it also. He gave it the power to be happy, and kindness was a great part of that very power. By His benediction He commanded creation to be happy; kindness, with its usual genial spirit of accommodation, now tries to persuade a world which has dared to disobey a Divine command. Kindness sees less clearly the ruin of God’s original idea than it sees still that first beneficent idea, and it sets to work to cleanse what is defiled and to restore what is defaced. It sorrows over sin, but, like buoyant-hearted men, it finds in its sorrow the best impulse of its activity. It is laboring always in ten thousand places, and the work at which it labors is always the same — to make God’s world more like His original conception of it. 

It is no less energetic and successful in preparing and enlarging His ways as Savior. It is constantly winning strayed souls back to Him, opening hearts that seemed obstinately closed, enlightening minds that had been willfully darkened, skillfully throwing the succors of hope into the strongholds that were on the point of capitulating to despair, lifting endeavor from low to high, from high to higher, from higher to highest. Everywhere kindness is the best pioneer of the Precious Blood. We often begin our own repentance by acts of kindness, or through them. Probably the majority of repentances have begun in the reception of acts of kindness, which, if not unexpected, touched men by the sense of their being so undeserved. Kindness has converted more sinners than either zeal, eloquence, or learning; and these three last have never converted anyone unless they were kind also.

What does kindness do for those to whom we show it? What we note first as of great consequence, is the immense power of kindness in bringing out the good points of the characters of others. Almost all men have more goodness in them than the ordinary intercourse of the world enables us to discover. Indeed, most men, from the glimpses we now and then obtain, carry with them to the grave much undeveloped nobility. Who has not seen how disagreeable and faulty characters will expand under kindness. It is wonderful what capabilities grace can find in the most unpromising character. 

Another work which our kindness does in the hearts of others is to encourage them in their efforts after good. We all of us need encouragement to do good. The path of virtue, even when it is not uphill, is rough and stony, and each day’s journey is a little longer than our strength admits of, only there are no means of shortening it. How many noble hearts have sunk under this not ignoble weariness! How many plans for God’s glory have fallen to the ground, which a bright look or a kind eye would have propped up. Oh, what a wretched thing it is to be unkind! 

I think, with the thought of the Precious Blood, I can better face my sins at the last judgment than my unkindness, with all its miserable fertility of evil consequences. But if we have no notion of the far-reaching mischief which unkindness does, so neither can we rightly estimate the good which kindness may do.

Moreover, kindness is infectious. No kind action ever stopped with itself. One kind action leads to another. By one we commit ourselves to more than one. Our example is followed. The single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make fresh trees.

  1. Do you have an experience of kindness that radically changed your life or made a life-changing difference?
  2. Listen for Fr. Flanagan’s story of Calvary and Kindness. What is the nature of the kindness Jesus shows on Calvary?
  3. What is your experience of seeing the impact of your own kindness on others.
  4. Stop and think of instances where you have experienced kindness from others. What are some of the effects it had on you interiorly? How did it make you feel?  How did it affect your responses and reactions both immediately and long-term?
  5. What’s the difference between kindness and “niceness?”

Please join us Monday 06/13/2022 for our next session. 

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.