Archive | 4:11 pm

Apostles of Kindness

12 Jul

One of my most beloved priests is Fr. Jerry. That’s not his real name. I don’t want to embarrass him, and besides, he always made a point of avoiding or deflecting this sort of praise and attention.

Whenever I would visit with Fr. Jerry, whether in the confessional, the parish hall, or the local coffee shop, he was always so focused on our conversation. I felt like I mattered, that I was the only other person in his world. And he was like that with everyone.

He made a point of knowing everyone in our large parish and called each of us by our first name. No matter what was going on in his life, he always was able to muster a smile and an encouraging word, even a simple “Leon, you’re a good man.” But he was not afraid to gently correct or admonish me when he needed to.

I mention Fr. Jerry as an example of the attractiveness and power of the virtue of kindness. Fr. Lawrence Lovasik wrote an amazing book nearly 40 years ago entitled The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time. This contemporary classic unpacks the fundamental role of kindness in the Christian life.

Kindness is not a mushy niceness or a wimpy brand of charity, but rather is deeply rooted in the Word of God. Kindness (or “kind” or “kindly”) appears dozens of times explicitly in Scripture, and countless other times by way of synonym or implication. Continue reading