God is love.
Love is kind.
1 Cor. 13:4
One does not need a Ph.D. in logic to deduce from these two
Scripture verses that the God who is Love Is the God who is
kind. His Incarnate Son confirms this when He says of
His heavenly Father: He is kind.
But our Lord's affirmation of His Father's KINDNESS takes
us far beyond the boundaries of mere politeness or superficial
civility: He is kind to the ungrateful and the
selfish. Even a little self-knowledge obliges us to admit that
some of our most memorable experiences of God's KINDNESS
occurred precisely when we were ungrateful and selfish.
The liturgy of the Church describes this divine KINDNESS
in no uncertain terms. God, in
the abundance of His KINDNESS, surpasses the merits and the
desires of those who entreat Him.
Collect, 27th Sunday per annum
He answers our prayers with
Collect, 18th Sunday
His KINDNESS bestows healing
Collect, 34th Sunday
Is it any wonder, then, that when urging the first
Christians to be imitators of God as His beloved children, St.
Paul specifically exhorts them to
to one another?
cf. Eph. 5:1; 4:32
KINDNESS is a "family virtue," and it enables us to
increasingly resemble the kind God who created us,
saved us and sustains us.
With the Incarnation of His Son,
the KINDNESS of the Lord filled
the earth in an entirely new way. The divine
KINDNESS was so close that it could be touched and seen.
How good it is for us to contemplate
the closeness which Jesus shows to everyone! Pope
Francis writes. If He speaks to
someone, He looks into their eyes with deep love and concern:,
"Jesus, looking upon him, loved him." We see how accessible
Jesus is, as He draws near the blind man and eats and drinks
with sinners without worrying about being thought a glutton and
a drunkard Himself. We see His sensitivity in allowing a sinful
women to anoint His feet and in receiving Nicodemus by night.
The Joy of the Gospel, 269
Centuries before his papal namesake shared his reflections
on the kind Christ, St. Francis of Assisi allowed his heart to
be penetrated with the enduring fruit of the Holy Spirit which
is KINDNESS. Looking back on his early life, Francis
could readily admit that he was among the
ungrateful and selfish on
whom the heavenly Father lavished His KINDNESS. With the
call to live the Gospel without gloss there came to Francis a
deeper awareness of the great evangelical truth: God is our
Father, and Jesus, our Lord and Brother. To be an adopted son of
such a Father impelled him to become more and more like his
Brother Jesus. And for Francis, the key to Christ-likeness was
People could see it in the Little Poor Man's eyes. They could
hear it in his words. They could sense it in his sensitive
listening to their problems, in his ardent exhortations to love
God, in his willingness to give (quite literally) even the tunic
on his back to help fulfill their needs. Yes,
Francis was truly filled with JESUS...
and thus, quite logically, he was also full of KINDNESS.
The KINDNESS of Christ, the KINDNESS of
Francis is well within our reach, too. Each day holds multiple
opportunities to distinguish ourselves as the "kin of Christ"
simply by being KIND to those around us. Then we become
living affirmations of how truly beautiful is a day touched by
the KINDNESS of our God!