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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kindness and Conversion

"'Kindness is the overflow of self on others. To be kind is to put others in one's place. Kindness has convinced more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning, and these three things have never converted anybody without kindness having something to do with it. In a word, kindness make us as gods towards one another. It is the manifestation of this feeling in apostolic men which draws sinners to them and brings them thus to their conversion.'

And he adds: 'Everywhere kindness shows itself the best pioneer of the Precious Blood....Without doubt the fear of the Lord is frequently the beginning of that wisdom which we call conversion: but we must frighten men kindly, for otherwise fear will only make infidels.'

'Have the heart of a mother' says St. Vincent Ferrer, whether you have to encourage souls or scare them, show to them a heart full of tender charity, and let the sinner feel that your language is inspired by it. If you wan to be useful to souls, begin by appealing to God with all your heart, asking Him to fill you with charity which is the compendium of all the virtues, in order that by its means you may efficaciously attain the end you have in view.'" 

It is as far a call from natural kindness, which is nothing but the result of our temperament, to supernatural kindness, in the soul of an apostle, as it is respect, even sympathy for the minister of Christ, and sometimes it can even divert an affection that belongs to God alone and direct it to His creature. But it will never induce any soul to stir itself up, with a pure intention of pleasing God, to make the sacrifice that is necessary if it is to return to its Creator. Only the kindness that flows from a close friendship with Christ can achieve this result."

~ The Soul of the Apostolate, Jean Baptiste Chautard, OCSO, pp 134-135

Oh, I have so far to far...


The Ironic Catholic said...

This is the most beautiful thing I have read in a while. Thank you.

Kiwi Nomad said...

When I think back to my time walking the Camino..... it is the kindness of others I remember most clearly. I think we underestimate kindness.