By Sister Julie Myers, OSF
Words matter. They mean something, even if used in a joking manner. Deep down words hold an element of truth, no matter how we use them. Take some of the “catch-phrases” we hear on tv shows or on social; sometimes those words or phrases catch on and get repeated in various ways, yet other times they hold no traction and simply dissipate.
Last December Caroline Flack coined a powerful phrase on Instagram and it found a place in social media posts, outdoor signage, presentations, and even our own vocabulary. Caroline wrote: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind!” Sit with this admonition for a moment. Think about the power, passion, and pain packed into these ten words.
Kindness is a virtue so desperately needed in our world today. Spend any amount of time reading the newspaper, scrolling through social media, or surfing the web and you’ll become keenly aware of its fading presence. Our current world of politics and pandemic has challenged and stretched the character of people. Opinion has replaced openness, theory has replaced truth, and my-side has replaced the middle ground where conversation used to happen.
How did our world become so broken? How can the gift of faith redirect us and bring healing? What one thing can I do to make a positive, joyful difference in my corner of the world?
I receive a hundred emails a day—well, maybe that’s a little exaggerated but I do get a lot. During this time of Advent, I receive emails from various religious groups providing content for prayer and reflection—and I need those helpful resources to grow and deepen in my own spiritual life!
Two of my favorite sources that I really appreciate are from:
- Franciscan Media – https://www.franciscanmedia.org/
- The Center of Action and Contemplation with Richard Rohr, OFM. https://cac.org/
These two sources never fail to provide content that provokes thought and feeds the soul.
In his recent writings (of course I’m pulling them out of their full context) Fr. Rohr wrote:
“I believe that the Spirit of God works everywhere to bring and restore aliveness—through individuals, communities, institutions, and movements.” And in a separate reflection he wrote: “we all have God-given gifts to use for the common good”; “our task is to give birth to Christ in our world.”
I find this great food for thought and reflection, and invite you to chew on these words. How is the Spirit of God working in your life to bring about aliveness? What are you doing to clean your inner space to prepare for the Word of God, to give birth to Christ through your choice of the words you use, the actions you take and the way you engage with others?
Let’s help each other on this journey for the common good and give freely of the virtue of kindness every chance we get!