From Kindness – The Bloom of Charity, Fr. Lovasik
Cheerfulness and kindness go hand in hand. Cultivate the spirit of cheerfulness from a supernatural motive. This means self-restraint, self-control for the love of God and your neighbor.
Take care not to lose your temper; for nobody wants it. Keep a smile on your face and a kind word on your tongue all day long towards your superiors, equals, and inferiors. You will make others happy, and find happiness yourself in giving joy and comfort to others.
A smile, like a yawn, is infectious. Smile and you will receive a smile in return, but if you should meet a churl, who gives you a frown for a smile, well, with a gracious word to him, take your departure; let this not disturb you. Your Guardian Angel has recorded your good deed, and your kindness will receive a heavenly reward.
Joyfulness of the heart is the life of a man and a never-failing treasure of holiness: and the joy of a man is length of life. –Ecclus. xxx. 23.
St. Paul admonishes us: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice!” (Phil. iv. 4.) And Habacuc sings: the Prophet “I will rejoice in the Lord, and I will joy in God my Jesus. The Lord God is my strength and He will make my feet like the feet of harts; and He, the Conquerer, will lead me upon my high places singing psalms.” (Habac. iii. 18, 19.)
There is an apostolate of cheerfulness as well as of prayer and of preaching by word and example. Like a sweet, fragrant flower by the roadside, whose bright loveliness is a joy to everyone who passes by, our cheerfulness is a blessing to all with whom we come in contact.
A man, or a woman, merely by being cheerful, exerts a quiet yet potent influence for good.
Let us bear this in mind that we can be helpful to souls, that we can encourage them and strengthen them in good by our cheerfulness and amiability.
It is well to do our duty, but sometimes this is not enough for the happiness of others and our own. We must do our duty with joy, with eagerness, with love.
Love must not keep count of what we do, nor stop strictly and sternly at the exact limit of duty.
Let us learn to devote ourselves generously, above all when there is question of fulfilling certain obligations of our state, position, etc., by which we do good to our brethren. Let us learn to show always a smiling face, although our work is distasteful to us or overwhelms us.
And after having worked hard let us take care not to recall in conversation the pains we have taken, the fatigue that we have imposed upon ourselves. Then our duty accomplished will please everyone; God first, men, and last of all our own poor heart.
Our Lord Himself has said: “Be of good cheer!” And He said this substantially many times. Jesus was indeed a Man of sorrows, but He was not a sad man. His face must always have reflected the serenity of His soul. He was meek and humble, gentle and amiable. “He went about doing good to all.”
From the Gospel narrative we can glean that Jesus possessed a cheerful temper, serenity mingled with tender seriousness, a most engaging presence, and a winning personality.
Children came to Him willingly and loved to linger near Him, and how can anyone imagine Him embracing and caressing little children without a smile of loving-kindness? Men followed Him in crowds, fascinated by His charm of manner and of speech.
And into woman’s heart came the thought: What happiness to be the mother of such a son! Among the saints– the close followers of Christ– St. Francis of Sales preeminently commands our admiration and our love for his Christ-like characteristics of cheerful serenity, meekness, humility, patience, charity, kindness, and sweetness of temper.
A gentle writer urging us to encourage others with cheerful kindness says: “You would not leave those plants in your window without water, or refuse to open the shutters that the sunlight might fall upon them, but you leave some human flower to suffer for want of appreciation or the sunlight of encouragement.
Utter the kind word when you can. Give the helping praise when you see that it is deserved. The thought that ‘no one knows and no one cares’ blights many a bud of promise.”
“It often struck me that if cleanliness is next to godliness, cheerfulness is a near relation. The cheerful are truly benefactors of the world in which we move…” – Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R.
Our Lord Himself tells us why so few become holy, why so few become saints. “The whole world,” He says, “is gone astray because no one thinks in His heart.” Remark the words of Our Lord, “No one thinks in his heart,” that is, no one bothers to understand, to realize, to grasp in all their fullness the wonderful, the most consoling truths of our religion. – Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, An Easy Way to Become a Saint, 1949
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