Don’t Quarantine Kindness

One of my favorite Pope Francis quotes is this one: “You pray for the hungry.  Then you feed them.  That’s how prayer works.”  I suppose I’ve always known this was true, but each time I pray, it makes me more aware of how I’m praying, of what I’m praying for and of what I need to do so that my prayers are more fruitful.  It makes me aware of what I need to do every day in order to be the love and mercy of Christ to my neighbor. Even in these days of distancing, we can explore ways to put our prayers into action.

Let’s start with what Pope Francis said about praying for the hungry.  Pray and work in your church’s food pantry.  Start one if you don’t have one.  Organize a drive for the local food bank.  Start a neighborhood vegetable garden.  Collect restaurant donations for the soup kitchen.  Host a community yard sale to benefit a feed-the-children program.

Pray for the homeless and educate yourself about all the reasons someone might end up without a roof over their head.  Many suffer from mental illness and/or addictions.  Many more are families who have fallen on hard times.  Don’t assume they just don’t want to work for their housing.  Use the skills you have to help them find jobs. Cut their hair.  Help them with their resume.  Donate to the agencies in your area that can make the biggest impact.  Do your homework.

Pray for the lonely.  Take a meal to your aged neighbor.  Volunteer to drive a parishioner to Mass.  Or drive them to a doctor’s appointment, or the hair salon, or the grocery store.  Deliver meals-on-wheels to the shut-ins or elderly in your area.  Organize a parish ministry that provides in-home help with small housekeeping tasks like taking out the trash, changing lightbulbs, or doing light yard work or repairs.  Even something as simple as a phone call can make all the difference to someone who rarely hears another person’s voice.  Don’t forget those folks in nursing homes, either.  Many of the residents don’t have family or friends to visit them. Send cards if you can’t visit right now.

Pray for your sick friend.  Take them their favorite meal, or music, or movie.  Read to them, especially something you both enjoy.  Or buy them a gift subscription to an audio book service. Be their library connection.  Do a load of laundry for them.  Walk their dog.  Rake their leaves.  Call them when you’re at the grocery store or Target and ask if you can bring them anything.  Be their hands and feet until they’re feeling better.

Pray for your friend who is grieving.  Contact them as soon as you learn of their loss.  Be honest and direct in acknowledging their grief.  Let them mourn they way that they need to mourn and for as long as they need to.  Be available but don’t be hurt if they need their alone time.  Keep asking and keep inviting.  Share your memories of their late loved one, if you know them.  Cry together.  Give them flowers a month (or two or three) after their loss.  They’ll appreciate them more then.

Pray for peace in our world.  Be a peacemaker in your family, at your job, in your parish, and in your community.  Help each other.  Forgive old grievances and hurts.  Your children will learn kindness by how you treat your spouse and other people.  Show them how to be open and accepting towards folks who might look different or speak differently or have different abilities.  Involve yourself in civic organizations that work for justice, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society.

 Consecrate your heart and your family to serving the Lord of peace.  Love.  Forgive.  And be patient with everyone you meet.

When we pray, we’re grateful for all the Lord has generously given to us.  We ask Him for His forgiveness of our sins and for His help in avoiding sin in the future.  We ask for what we need, for what our family needs, and for what our world needs.  And we ask for the faith and the strength we need to live out the Gospel in our lives.  As we journey through life we encounter so many opportunities to help those around us.  May our prayers be more than words as we open our hearts to the Lord’s call of service.  As Pope Francis said, “That’s how prayer works.”  Amen.  

“We prove our love for Jesus by what we do, by who we are.”

       —–St. Teresa of Calcutta.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth Ann Pilney
    May 11, 2020 @ 15:56:51

    This really pricks my conscience!


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