Practicing the Virtue of Kindness


The 7 Virtues. Doesn’t that simple title take you back to elementary school? It certainly does for me! It’s become an under-utilized trait in our very fast-moving, and dare I say, self-centered society. My heart has been filled lately with the desire to share kindness in a more intentional way with strangers and friends alike. Sometimes the best way to do this is in an unplanned moment.

My college is currently leading a campaign about giving back to the college through not only financial contributions, but through kind words and reflections of the impact the college, professors and fellow alumnae have had on the lives of graduates. After reading several beautiful reflections from my classmates and college friends, I felt moved to post my own on Facebook and then to continue it by writing one of my favorite professors an email to thank him for being such a wonderful teacher and to let him know what an influence he continues to be in my daily life. I haven’t talked to him since graduation in May of 2006 so it was a shot in the dark that he would remember me at all!

But as luck would have it, he did and replied letting me know it was the nicest message he’s ever received from a former student.

Just wow. I had no idea my out-of-the-blue kind words would be so impactful on his day. It’s the least I could do, however, for the true impact he has made on my life. I am sure I am not alone in having a teacher who changed my life.

As a result, I posted the following tweet (and also posted it on Facebook) in order to spark some kindness in others. A pay it forward mindset if you will.

The responses I received were very uplifting. I know the world is yearning for more kindness, more joy. We as Catholics owe it to the world to share our joy of the Gospel with others! God calls each of us to evangelize in our own ways: whether through words, actions, vocations or countless other ways. But no matter how we live out the call of the New Evangelism, we can use the words of God to help us on our journey:

You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8

In this verse, goodness is often also translated as kindness depending on your version of the holy text. God calls us in the Old Testament to kindness as part of our humble walk with Him. Kindness is not overrated!

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” — Galatians 5:22-23a

As a result of our relationship with God in the Trinity, we can receive fruits of the Holy Spirit, one of which is kindness. If you are struggling to be kind to another, take a moment and pray, breathing in deep and asking the Holy Spirit to bless with you kindness in that moment. It’s not always easy. I found myself in a frustrating situation recently where someone was angering me to a great extent. But after talking to a friend, I realized my anger was only hurting my ability to love and serve God in all situations. I asked the Holy Spirit to intervene and bring me kindness and patience.

So I challenge each of you: Share kind words via an email or snail mail with someone who had an impact on your life — perhaps someone you haven’t talked with in a long time; perhaps someone with whom you shared unkind words. Be open to the Holy Spirit guiding you to send the words to someone who might just need it. You never know what will happen next. Isn’t that the best part about trusting in the Lord?


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