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Our charity must spread from the home to our neighbours–to all those with whom we have contact. It is easy to get on with most people, but in every neighbourhood and in every village or town there will always be those who are difficult. There will be the dishonest, the tale-bearers, the quarrelsome, the critic of everyone and everything. It is when we have dealings with such people that all our Christian charity is necessary. Most likely we will never be able to change their ways of acting, but charity will enable us to tolerate their faults and will move us to pray for their eternal welfare.
Life for many, if not for most people, has many dark, gloomy and despairing moments. The man or woman who is moved by true Christian charity can bring a beam of sunshine, a ray of hope, into the lives of these people. Fr. Faber in a booklet on kindness has a poem which we could all learn and practice with great profit for ourselves and for a neighbour in need of kindness. He says:
“It was but a sunny smile,
And little it cost in the giving,
But it scattered the night like the morning light
And made the day worth living.
It was but a kindly word,
A word that was lightly spoken,
et not in vain for it chilled the pain
Of a heart that was nearly broken.
It was but a helping hand,
And it seemed of little availing,
But its clasp was warm, it saved from harm
A brother whose strength was failing.”
Try the sunny smile of true love, the kindly word of Christian encouragement, the helping hand of true charity, and not only will you brighten the darkness and lighten the load of your brother but you will be imitating in your own small way the perfect Father of love who is in heaven.
Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan, O.F.M.