"On [the Exceeding Worth of] Kindness"
by the Very Rev. J. Guibert, S.S.
Taken From CATHOLIC TREASURES, Issue No. 77-78, 1982
A man is never tired of hearing about what he cares much for; neither ought his fellowmen to weary of telling him things needful for him to know.
Now, there is nothing in our neighbour's dealings with us more engaging than kindness; yet of no duty do we require to be more frequently reminded than of that of being kind.
This thought has emboldened the author of the following pages to write in his turn on a subject treated before him by very many others.
Man's heart opens to kindness, because it is to him a promise of coming happiness; he clings to it because he looks to it for the healing of the ills he suffers, which mostly are either pain or shame or neglect.
For each of these ills kindness has a remedy. Kindness dulls the edge of pain, for it is the true expression of pity, and ever inspires the bestowing of charitable help.
Kindness sweetens the bitterness of humiliation, for it is indulgent to faults, and openly respects the misunderstood and the persecuted.
In fine, by inspiring anew the Christian love of one's neighbour, kindness peoples the dreariest mental solitudes, and dispels the weary sadness of forsaken souls.
Nevertheless, just as much as men long for others to be kind to them, so are they themselves slow to grow in this virtue, and remiss in its practice.
Therefore is it so important to stir up in ourselves the instinctive kindliness which God has implanted in the depths of every human soul, but which too often is stifled out of life by selfishness.
Every single kind act we do makes us better; it marks one more victory gained by man over the evil instincts of his lower being; it is a fresh rising up of the human nature that fell in Adam, for it means the prevailing of its loftier impulses, and bears witness that it has been freed from the brutal yoke of the passions.
Of all things, then, a kindly spirit is most to be desired, since it not only perfects him who possesses it, but in the good deeds it inspires, tends to the happiness of all others.
Should the perusal of these pages inspire in the reader's heart a wish to cultivate the virtue of kindness, the author will have attained what he was working for.
To the kind reader whom these pages may have interested we have but one word more to say. Open wide your soul to kindliness, and let it enter deeply into your very being.
Do not fear to be kind: to be kind can do you no harm, can bring you no bitterness, nor will you ever repent of it. You will regret having been harsh or weak, but you can never regret having been good to others. If, at times, people mistake your motives, if your kindnesses are forgotten, or repaid with ingratitude, you will nevertheless enjoy the supreme consolation of knowing that you have not sinned against your neighbour.
We have maintained the original English usage, including the now little employed "catholic" with a small c to denote universal.
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