The virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in November is kindness. Kindness is a truly Christian virtue and the mark of a follower of Christ. People who are unkind to others, heartless, mean or bullies, are not good examples of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Jesus was kind to everyone. Even when he dealt with the Pharisees and Pilate, he showed a respect. He did not agree with them all the time but he did show them the kindness of respect for their position. We live in a world where people are not kind to each other on social media or even in person. Sometimes these unkind actions hide behind the label of “speaking our minds”. Christians should speak their minds and stand up for their beliefs, but they should never personally attack others. Kindness shows people that we recognize their infinite value and dignity as a human being, created and loved by God. We recognize that in them and we act accordingly.
Kindness fascinates people and warms hearts. It is a game changer in a person or a friend. Kindness is being gentle, thoughtful, helpful, and forgiving at times when it would be so easy to be angry. A kind word can conquer anger, calm the spirit, and even start a friendship. Small acts of kindness can go a long way. The kind look, gesture, or word can be as beneficial as the kind deed. St Francis de Sales once said, ” “Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength.”
The first Christians were known for the love and kindness they had for one another. This converted soldiers and rulers to follow the faith. There is a pretty well known saying that kindness is just a little love with work boots on. Kindness is a result of a heart full of love. It is what happens when love is put into action. The most extreme expression of kindness is forgiveness, especially when you have been wronged.
We can find great literary authors, historians, explorers and saints who all talk about how powerful a simple act of kindness can be. Mark Twain wrote, “Kindness is the virtue that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Washington Irving wrote, “How truly is a kind heart a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity to freshen into smiles.” Mother Teresa once said, “ Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” Even Aesop wrote, “No act of kindness – however small – is wasted.”
St Augustine wrote a beautiful prayer for people in need and it is an inspiration about how prayer can be an act of kindness. It can be found on the Challenge holy card this month. It is short and sweet but can be a spiritual act of kindness. “Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake or weep tonight and let your angels protect those who sleep. Tend the sick. Refresh the weary. Sustain the dying. Calm the suffering. Pity the distressed. We ask you this for the sake of your love. Amen. ”
The Catechism number of the month is all about the fruits of the Holy Spirit and one of them is kindness. It is number #1832 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The fruits of the Holy Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”