A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Extending Kindness

Posted on: May 19, 2015

I downloaded a meditation app to my MP3 player on the weekend. After I followed the first few steps, the app recommended a guided meditation on kindness.

During the meditation, you’re encouraged to think kind thoughts about someone you know and like—and, eventually, to apply these feelings to someone you don’t like. It reminded me of something Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

~ Matthew 5:43-45*

We pray for those we love, whether on our own or during the prayers of the faithful at Mass: friends and loved ones who are struggling owing to illness or job loss or who have passed away, Christians at home and abroad who are persecuted, and priests and religious, to name a few.

But how often do we pray for those who annoy or upset us: the neighbour who throws loud parties, the colleague who doesn’t take on a fair share of the workload, the relative who reminds us of our embarrassing mistakes?

How about those who hurt us with unkind or thoughtless comments, or those who dislike us simply because of our ethnic background, our financial situation, or our faith?

We may not think of these people as enemies, but we probably don’t think of them as neighbours, either. We need to ask ourselves whether we keep these words in mind:

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

~ Leviticus 19:17-18

When we take the time to pray for our families, our friends, and even ourselves, we could take a moment to pray that God would bless these neighbours.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

~ Luke 6:35-36

(*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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