From Catholic Family Handbook, Fr. Lovasik

Practice Kindness

Charity is practical love of our neighbor, the endeavor to do good to him in soul and in the highest sense of the word. But love that resides in the soul ought to manifest itself through the body and its actions.

The Gospel says that Jesus “went about doing good,” and in this He is a beautiful example for you. You have innumerable opportunities for doing good in your family. You have a heart, good thoughts, good words and deeds, and, above all, prayer.

Kindness is never more important than in the family, and never more necessary than in parents.

Be Kind in Thought

Without kind thoughts, there can be no real charity in the home. The thought eventually takes shape in words and works of charity, and gives to them their life, beauty, and worth. Words and works of charity are dead unless they are accompanied by a loving thought.

Kind thoughts preserve you from many sins against charity in your home. Uncharitable judgments, misunderstandings, suspicions, envy, jealousy, and uncharitable words will not take root in your soul if you think kind thoughts.

Strained relations between your spouse or your children and you will be smoothed out, petty arguments will end of themselves, and aversions will disappear.

Kind thoughts are the secret of success in dealing with the members of your family. Only a kind person is able to judge another justly and make allowances for his weaknesses.

As a mother or father, you wield the power to influence your children for good if your thoughts are always kind.

A kind thought never fails to bring joy to your home. It gladdens you and those around you. Happiness is not necessarily won by deeds, but it is readily held by a simple loving thought which can dispel the clouds of depression, discontent, and sadness.

Your family will not fail to notice the presence of such thoughts, even if no word is spoken. If it should happen that no one is aware of the kind thought in your heart, God is aware of it, for He who Himself is Love knows all things.

You cooperate in God’s work when you wish your spouse or your children well, when you implore God’s blessing on their work and rejoice and thank God for their success. The good you do in this way will be rewarded more than any other because cause it is wholly selfless.

To foster kind thoughts, remember these suggestions:

  • Put yourself in the place of the other person, and ask yourself how you would feel if you were the subject of such thoughts or judgments. Does God want this?
  • Remember your own faults. Perhaps they are greater than those you condemn in others.
  • Remember the good points and virtues of others, which usually outweigh their faults.
  • Try to find some excuse for the things that others do which you do not like. This means having your eyes open to the whole truth, lest hasty judgments and prejudices close them to a part of the truth.
  • Forgive injuries and try to make up at once with those who have offended you, or with those whom you have offended.
  • Be sympathetic. Feel for others, and take a sincere interest in all that concerns them.
  • Try to see God in your spouse and children. Love for your neighbor – and no one should be closer to you than your family – means loving God in your neighbor. This will lift your kindness to a supernatural plane and, at the same time, make it more generous, active, and universal.
  • Pray for your family that God may be glorified in and through them. Above all, receive Holy Communion frequently, and ask Jesus to increase and preserve love in your heart for your family.

If the Eucharist is the bond of charity that unites all Christians as members of one spiritual body, the Church, it is also the bond of charity that keeps your family together.

By giving you a fuller share in the life of Christ, Holy Communion unites you more intimately to each other. It also gives you the help through actual grace to carry out God’s great commandment of love in your own home, and to put away all unkindness.

Through frequent Holy Communion, you will learn to overcome your selfishness and to resist your natural feelings of hatred and bitterness. You will develop kindness and sympathy, forbearance and forgiveness.

“At a certain moment when going to confession to a Capuchin father, St. Therese came to understand that it was just the opposite: her “defects did not displease God” and her littleness attracted God’s love, just as a father is moved by the weakness of his children and loves them still more as soon as he sees their good will and sincere love.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe,The Way of Trust and Love, http://amzn.to/2fpXVzl Painting by Millie Childers

In this sermon I teach the two ways of meditation, Lectio Divina and Mental Prayer, according to St. Bruno and St. Teresa of Avila, respectively.

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