A Little Kindness

The amount of inner peace you enjoy is the leaven, if you will, to bring kindness and joy into your life, and into another person's life. Oftentimes that would be your spouse, children, grandchildren, brothers or sisters, and if you were "retired," like myself, you would find other ways. Like writing an uplifting article about "making someone's day" through kindness.

 

St. Francis of Assisi is a very popular saint. He is known not only in the Catholic world, but he is also popular in many Christian churches and communities. He is known for humility, meekness, kindness, he is the patron saint of peace, environment, animals, merchants, and a couple of other things, and even countries, such as the Philippines. Probably of several other places, too. He is often pictured attending to Jesus on the Cross - for he shared the wounds of Christ on the Cross, the Sacred Stigmata. He had great compassion and empathy in dealing with all sorts of people, people who were strangers, and who were very poor, and even lepers. In his day, lepers were outcasts. They were miserable, neglected, they were not allowed in the towns. They were repugnant due to open sores on their bodies in a time where there was great lack of medical knowledge about most diseases. St. Francis made sure that the lepers were cared for and he fed them, washed and hugged them personally.

 

I've met a couple of lepers in a special hospital for them (Carville, LA); even there they were isolated from other people and today we have wonderful medicines that cure leprosy. People still have old attitudes about leprosy, and it is a dire shame. But then society has a way to repel all people who do not seem to meet up with the standards of society. There are many outcasts and that too, is a great shame. Many people who are chronically unemployed, penniless, roughing it by the side of the road, if you will, they too are looked upon as outcasts. If St. Francis was here today, many of these people would get his help. At our Franciscan fraternities, we try to help out in providing food for the poor by running or helping at soup-kitchens or donating foodstuffs to a parish or other organization that is directly involved in feeding the poor. However, in my fraternity, none of us are very wealthy, and so the financial contribution we provide is not enough to feed just one person for any length of time. But we try.

 

There are other ways you can help other people. They are subtle ways... have you tried a little kindness lately? It does wonders!!! It's not that I am particularly a "people watcher," but I am generally aware what goes on around me. And one thing I see more and more, are solemn or sad and unsmiling faces, in restaurants, supermarkets and malls in particular, and other common places. Admittedly, there is less to smile about these days. As long as our government tries to tell us the economy is getting better, when there are so many poor people without anything, particularly the retired, who are beleaguered with ever increasing costs while their income, often just social security, is fixed and thus remains almost the same year after year. I live from paycheck to paycheck - and it's a struggle to make ends meet. At the end of the month, I may have just $150 left, and that is all I have. So I know what I'm talking about. But I still smile, I even laugh from time to time - because I try to be close to Jesus at all times, I try to reflect my inner joy in little acts of kindness directed to others who aren't doing so hot. This is not something that takes a lot of effort, but it has to be genuine, not forced.

 

This year, let's all try very hard to be genuine to other people and to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ, to all we know. We are bombarded with umpteen e-mails asking to be forwarded all over the place... take what is really in your heart, and send your friends e-mails, NOT the messages that came from somewhere else, but messages that originate with you, in the Holy Spirit, using this means as a prayer to bring a little cheer in someone else's day. To see a big smile on another person, a genuine smile - that always makes my day!

 

Fred Schaeffer, OFS
July 27, 2019

 

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A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

Vero Beach, FL

 

Term expires: 2/10/2022
 

Minister:
Fred Schaeffer, OFS

Vice-Minister:
Helen Caldarone, OFS

Secretary:
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS

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 Jack Reddy, OFS

 

Formation Director: 
Donna Haro, OFS

 

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 Joanne Giordano, OFS

 

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