Tag Archive: Kindness


A Birthday/Reunion Party

birthday cake

Yesterday, I attended a birthday party…mine. Yes, it was for me and about 17 others. It was, perhaps, the best party I have ever attended in my 75 years of life. Nothing has, nor will, ever touch it. What made this one so special? It wasn’t a surprise party. No, it was arranged by many people. So, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone. It wasn’t even the day any of us were born on. So what made this party so special, or for that matter, a birthday party?

Twenty five years ago, the travel-soccer team that I had coached for six years was disbanding. They were a good team, a very good team. Two years in a row they had won their division championship. I knew they would all make their high school teams. Their days in high school would be consumed with classes, studies, soccer practices and soccer games. What they didn’t need was additional soccer practices or games. Their time would be severely tested, so something had to give. I thought it wise that we break up the team and let them move on to the next phase of their life. Well, that is the background, so what about this party? And, what made it so special. Bringing us back together…that was special.

They would all turn 40 years of age, sometime during this year, so we will have a combination re-union and birthday party. There were close to eighty people at this affair. There were children, spouses, parents and grand-parents. Again, I ask, “What made it so special?” I truly believe that everyone who was at the party was present because of someone else. Someone needed to receive affection, words of love and kindness. Parents were present because their sons were being honored. Wives were present because of their love for their husband. The team was present to honor their coach. And the coach and his wife were present because of their love for the team. There was no thought of self, at this party. If there was, I did not see it. Yes, people wanted to have a good time, but what brought them all there was their affection for someone else. The party was simply beautiful. Memories were shared, and love was in abundance.

Imagine a world where people, every day, looked to other peoples’ needs, tried to anticipate what someone, other than their self, craved for. In short, no thought of what do we need, want, desire, but rather, who needs something that we have, that we can give. I am not talking money, or possessions. What part of ourselves can we give to others? Who really could use our love, our affections, our kindness, our tenderness? Imagine what that world would be like, if everyone thought along these lines!! Wouldn’t it be a joy to live in that world? No thought of self, but only of other. A world where people would look at people not with a thought of taking advantage of that person, but rather, of being attentive to that person’s needs… what would that world be like? Wouldn’t it be like Heaven on earth? That can only happen when all of us start believing in that life style, as individuals.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) God’S Touch In Our Lives
3) The Power Of God
4) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
5) Prayer And Reform

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ARE YOU LOVED? DO YOU LOVE?

Love God and Man

If you enjoyed this post, the thread is continued in the posts listed below in yellow. They continue the thread. And Please pass this on to those you love.

How do we know we are loved? Truly loved? That is a difficult question to answer. It isn’t difficult because of what we are asking ourselves, but rather, because it is our self that we are asking. The question is straightforward enough. But we can conjure up all kinds of answers, and explanations that lead us down paths that only we can imagine.

Let’s look back to our parents, or friends that we grew up with. Think of people we have hurt and offended. This is where the question will be answered. For you see, true love always forgives. Love does not look at the offense to self, but rather at the person who is struggling, who is doing the offending. We see the love of mom cradling us in her arms, when we have fallen and cut or scraped our knees. We see the sorrowful pain in her silent eyes when we express our anger or discontent and know we have hurt a loving parent. It is our friends that say to us sincerely, “That’s alright I know you didn’t mean it.” They show us love. It is eventually our own failures, our own problems that lead us to the awareness of who loves us.

God’s love is exactly the same way. He has created each of us with a purpose in mind. How many billions of people have not been born into this world, and yet we were. Why us? What is special about us, you and me? We really cannot answer that. We won’t know the answer, nor even understand the question until we meet God face to face. Then we will be shown why we were created and what gifts were given to us. At that point we will know what we could have or should have done in this life, and maybe, even if we will have done it. We really won’t know until that final moment of understanding. We all cringe at the thought that maybe we have run out of time.

But, this writing is not meant to be a scare tactic to awaken us out of our lethargy, nor a shaking of our shoulders to wake up. No. It is truly meant to be a positive moment in our lives. For you see, each of us already knows why we were created. We already know what our purpose in life is. The Bible tells us in Jesus’ words, “For whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” There it is: our purpose, our goal, our act of love back to God. He is in each of us. He breathed His Spirit into us, all of us. He knows our problems, our worries, our hurts, dislikes, and unkindness. He knows our thoughts, our sinful thoughts, our demeaning actions, and yet He loves us! He loves us in spite of our selfishness. What manner of God is this? He is waiting for the light to go on inside our heart, not our brain, for it is in our heart where His love resides. When that light does go on, we will understand what is special about us, what talents we have been given. These talents are what we will bring to others… OUT OF LOVE and caring.

For whatever we do to the least, we do to Him! We are to see Him in everyone we pass on the street. Every person who seems to have a health problem, a moral problem, a cleanliness problem, an agonizing problem, an irritating problem…the list is endless. Too often we see the problem and not the person suffering. If we look into the eyes of these people we will see a suffering Christ waiting for a response, maybe it is our response?? How do we know that it is us, that we are the one to do something? We really don’t. But how can we give our love back to God if we do nothing but look away? What are we inclined to do? What, inside us, urges us to act? What would we like to do? It takes courage to be a Christian. We must lose our own inhibitions. Start to look at people, for what they really are, as persons who just might need our talents, as God asking you to return the gift of your talents back to Him.

It is not a grandiose action that is being asked of us. No, it is nothing like that. It is simply a kind act, a loving act, a caring and concerned action. To extend one’s hand to someone in need, in an offering of help, of true concern, of love can lead to all sorts of things. These might be involvement with others, empathy for others, even a deeper love for others. And in this, we give our love back to God. To do nothing is …

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Triggers in Our Lives
2) Why are you, ..you?
3) About Us
4) Our Purpose in Life

body words

This morning at Mass, the thought struck me as people were going up to Communion, “We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ”. Our faith tells us that this is so, but what does that really mean? Stay with me on this, for I believe that this is critical to our belief in Jesus. I know I would always nod my head in agreement, “…yes that is true. I am part of the Mystical Body”. And then go about my day with about the same enthusiasm as if I had just pronounced a foreign word correctly. I did not really understand what was being said. My words were just … words.

We believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus broke bread and told His apostles, “This is My Body”. In John, 6:54 we read, “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” What life is Jesus speaking about? I live. You live. We have life. Of what life, is He speaking? Our natural lives are lived just as any animal lives on this earth. But there is something more than just this natural life. We have been given a mind, a spirit, a soul. It is about this life that Jesus speaks; a life that surpasses this worldly, temporal one.

We have been baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Through that Baptism, we became part of this family of believers. As part of this community of believers, we receive Jesus in Communion at Mass. But what does this belief really mean? If we really believe that Baptism signaled our entrance into this Holy Community, into a oneness with God, then something is different about us. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus is the Messiah. We are saying, “Yes” that there is a bond between each of us at this Mass. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus’ words are true…ALL of them.

So now, going back to the words of John, 6:54, we heard that only through eating the Body and Blood of Jesus, can we have true life within. Each person whether they realize it or not, by receiving Holy Communion at Mass, is becoming Jesus. We are no longer just parishioners in the parish. We are no longer simply fulfilling an obligation to attend Mass. We are not just friends, not just neighbors; we are brothers and sisters to each other. We are each other, because we are becoming Jesus. How often do we hear sentiments in the Bible, like “Love your neighbor, AS yourself”, or “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”, and again, “he that loves his neighbor, has fulfilled the law”.

The Eucharist is not something that we absent-mindedly stuff into our mouth. We are avowing that Jesus, the Messiah, the Crucified, the Savior is present, physically present, within. We believe in His words, and His life. We wish to become one with Him. ALL receiving this Sacrament are wishing to become one with Him. And thus, we become ONE with each other. We treat, (or should treat) each other with love and respect. This Communion is something special. Every time we take it from the priest’s hands, we are receiving Jesus, the same Jesus who preached to the multitudes, who forgave sinners, who cured the sick and the dying, who wept for His friend.

In becoming ONE with each other, we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Each person’s talents become gifts to be given to the people of the world. For, we are all brothers in this world, and as such we bring Jesus to each other. Our feet bring Jesus to people in need of Him. Our smiles, our tears, our assistance, our strengths and even our weaknesses, by all of these we show Jesus to others, we bring Him to our brothers and sisters of the world. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) The Mystical Body of Christ
2) To YOU, My Friend
3) Be Me

To All Mankind

PF3pic

It does not matter what your stance is with respect to Pope Francis. Whether you are Catholic or not, is irrelevant, for this pope is speaking out to the world. To all of us, he is giving us a message on how to live, how to conduct ourselves. By his actions and example, he is forcefully telling us to wake up, that our lives must change.

 “How can I say this”, you might ask. You may not agree with the pope’s religious beliefs. You may not care for Catholics or what they believe in. You might even dislike the grandeur (I would rather call it “respect”) that seems to accompany many of the Catholic ceremonies. Maybe, Christianity holds no appeal for you. Or possibly, you don’t believe in God, or maybe you think that there is no god. Maybe, you are an out-and-out hedonist, seeking just your own pleasure and gratification. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of belief, you still have a mind. You still have an intellect. You still, I presume, want to know the meaning of life and where yours is taking you.

 We read the newspaper and find out what the president says or does. We look at the news reports on the television and see what nations are doing, what rulers are saying. Or maybe, we just look at the news to see who is killing whom. My point is, we read, we are curious, we want to know. For having this knowledge will tell us how our lives will be changed, will be affected. We find out in this manner is there something that we should be concerned about? Be worried about?

Well look at what this new pope is saying and doing. He is telling us with his words AND his actions that things must change. He is showing us how to live, as he embraces drug addicts, as he speaks out that he is “not to judge anyone”, as he rides a bus, as he lives in regular quarters and not the papal residence. Do you think that he is doing this just for show? Do you feel he is living a lie? No, the man is being true to himself, true to his beliefs. This is Christ in action. The leader of the Catholic Church is telling us, “Enough is enough”. The time to reform ourselves, the time to change our lives is NOW. (Don’t just read this article, and possibly nod your head in agreement…but then continue on with your life as though it was just another polite nice thought and nothing more.)

I am telling you, here and now, ALL OF US must change. If for no other reason than for the state of the world, we must change. Nations are killing their peoples. Nations are attacking each other. Citizens are killing other citizens. People hate people. People use people. We have become so self-centered that we think only of our own needs. We don’t care a whit about anyone else. Have you ever lifted a beggar up off the street? Does he/she need a warm, hot meal? Or, do you see in them, some misfit, a drug addict, a loser? If Jesus could do it, if the pope can do it, why can’t YOU do it? Why? Really. WHY?

If you think that it is not inside you to do such things, then ask yourself these questions: “Is goodness inside you? Is the spirit of God inside you? Do you care about anyone else?” As Catholic Christians we have been given examples to follow, Jesus, Mary, the saints and now Pope Francis. Any one of them we could take as our exemplar, our mentor. They have lived lives, and are living lives, that are to be emulated, not just observed. To those who are not Catholic, not Christian, we say to you, “You are still a member of humanity.” Is your life helping or hurting others? If for no other reason than the common good, your life must go out to others, helping them, lifting them up and addressing their needs.

We see things happening in other countries, and also, in our own country and we come to the conclusion that this is how we are to act, that it is alright to act this way. Is this not the tail wagging the dog? Instead of living our life as we think we should, we are letting others determine what we are to do. no, No, NO, NO!

If you believe that there is a purpose for your life. If you feel that life is something to be shared with others. If you know in your heart of hearts that all of us are equal. Then, our actions to others, will be good actions. And these people, seeing what they have been freely given, how they have been treated, they will instinctively, want to pass that goodness on to others. Good diffuses itself. Goodness brings about more goodness. If a mile begins with a single step, then changing the world begins first with ourselves and our attitudes towards others. All mankind must begin to look at itself, and see what needs to be changed. Take a good, long, look at yourself, what do you see?

This way of acting is important enough to ask each of you who read this to pass it on to others, and so on , and so on. Let’s start to change the world.

Advent: Looking Toward

I feel very badly, for what must look like my abandoning this site. The last three weeks have been very hectic. It seemed like there was always something else that needed to be done. Even now, as we get ready for Christmas, many more things still need attention.  Enough with the excuses, let’s talk about the Advent season.

Jesus is coming! Joy To the World! Do You Hear What I Hear! I wish I knew of a way to play Christmas music for you, while you read here, right now. This is a happy time. It’s happy, but not because of gifts that we will receive. It is like the whole world is about to be reborn again. All the doubt and frustration of last year is being laid to rest. An opportunity for a new beginning is at hand! A time for joy and happiness is upon us.

We distribute gifts to loved ones and acquaintances. Our focus is not, should not be on the gift, itself. The gift is an expression of the love that we have for one another. With Jesus, Love comes into the world. Once again, in celebrating His birth, we celebrate the infinite love that He has for each of us. And so, we try as best we can to pass this love on to others.

I always feel guilty when I have to ask a person what he or she wants for Christmas. The fact that I have to ask is a pretty good indication that I haven’t been very attentive to that person’s needs. I had 364 days to observe what he/she needed, or could use. And yet, I still have to ask? If I ask, maybe too much attention is on the gift and not on the needs of the person.

Gifts don’t always have to be bought. Maybe the person living next to us has no way to get to church, to the store. Maybe the person is unable to straighten or clean their house. Maybe they are unable to move their trash to the curb. Here is where our attention to others and what their situation is, will cry out to us what we can do for them. Just a moment of reflection and observation can tell us, the best way to pass on the love that has been brought into this world. Christmas can be every day of the year, if we let it.

The Cab Ride

taxi rider

I received this in the mail this morning. I don’t know who the author is. This is NOT my work, but I would have been proud to say it was. I hope you enjoy this…

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes
I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a
frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in
her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat
with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if
no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.
In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.
‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated’.
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice’.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice.
‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached
over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the
city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as
an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood
where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me
pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom
where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to
slow down in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring
into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon,
she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It
was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that
passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.
They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.
The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.
She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said.
‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand,
and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It
was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn’t pick up any
more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the
rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an
angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done
anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments
often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a
small one.
PEOPLE MAYNOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR
WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM
FEEL.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.