A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

With a Little Soap

Posted on: November 3, 2014

“Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.”

~ John Wesley, in his sermon “On Dress,” quoted in “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”: The Talmudic Source

Those who have read my posts before know I like bringing order to chaos, like the Borg of Star Trek fame. I like to have a place for everything and everything in its place. And I like to have a clean house.

cleaning supplies

Some of my cleaning supplies…

And so I read with interest today’s quote in the “Quiet moments, daily inspiration, feasts, and fun for November” article in the current issue of Catholic Digest:

“Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.”

In a culture perhaps more concerned about sanitizing surfaces and keeping everything smelling fresh than about showing compassion, this quote from St. Martin de Porres should strike a chord with us.

We see and hear so much tragic news that we can harden our hearts, purposefully or not, to protect ourselves from being saddened by it. Thinking that there’s nothing we as individuals can do, how often do we fail to show compassion on even a small scale? How often do we hesitate to get involved?

I recently read in Sirach 17:22* that “A man’s almsgiving is like a signet with the Lord, and he will keep a person’s kindness like the apple of his eye.”

Could we let down our guard for a little while to extend kindness to someone else?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Offer our condolences to and check in from time to time with a friend or family member in mourning.
  • Go through our family’s winter clothes to see if we have any items to donate to charity.
  • Volunteer to serve as an in-school tutor or a friendly visitor at a retirement residence.
  • Make and carry out a plan for charitable giving at home or in the workplace.
  • Pray for the faithful departed during this month dedicated to the souls in purgatory.

I pray that we would remember God’s compassion toward us and want to extend that same compassion to others.

He has showed you, O man, what is good;

and what does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

~ Micah 6:8

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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