Throughout His life on earth, Jesus showed how truly He was the
Son of the God of all steadfastness and encouragement. It
was not enough for our Lord simply to be courageous (though He was
assuredly that). He was constantly giving those around Him the great
gift of ENCOURAGEMENT. Whether it was sinners
seeking pardon, the sick asking for healing or mothers wanting His
blessing for their children, Jesus offered the loving, welcoming,
merciful face of ENCOURAGEMENT. To the searching he
said: Come! To the fearful: Be not afraid! To the
hesitant: Ask! Seek! Knock! Even to the repentant thief
dying with Him on Calvary. our Lord offered that word of supreme
ENCOURAGEMENT: Today YOU will be with Me in
The Levite Joseph from Cyprus was a post-Pentecost disciple who
learned so well this divine art of ENCOURAGEMENT
that the Apostles surnamed him "Bamabas," which means "Son of
encouragement." Whether taking the fiery convert Paul under his
wing, supporting his trepidatious cousin Mark or exhorting the new
Christians in Antioch, St. Barrabas was ever on the lookout for ways
to put fresh heart into those around him. And, in doing so, he
enriched the Church, rejoiced the faithful and opened hearts to the
faith, grace and goodness which filled his own heart and life.
Thirteen Christian centuries later, we find St. Francis of
Assisi excelling in the same art of ENCOURAGEMENT.
Immersed as he was in the Word of God, Francis "caught" from the
Lord Jesus the same loving, welcoming, merciful spirit which made
him an open channel of ENCOURAGEMENT to all who
crossed his life's path. Francis likewise learned from St. Barnabas
highly practical ways to pass on ENCOURAGEMENT to
those who crossed his path.
When St. Clare and her community were weighed down with fatigue
from caring for their sick Sisters, the Seraphic Father had a bright
word of ENCOURAGEMENT set to song for them:
Bear it in peace... for you shall all be crowned as queens in heaven
with the Virgin Mary. To a friar beset with interior trials,
the Little Poor Man offered the good word of ENCOURAGEMENT
through the open door of welcome: If you need and want to come
to me for the sake of your soul or for some consolation, come.
Robbers and derics, princes and paupers, popes and sultans all
discovered that the Poor Man of Assisi was a true "son of
encouragement" who desired to help and support them on their journey
ENCOURAGEMENT is one of the "personal touch"
virtues. It requires looking out and away from ourselves and
noticing the needs of others — their fatigue. their concerns. their
weakness, and their discouragement. It can be given in so many
simple, humble ways
— a smile, a word of thanks, a gesture of
appreciation, a kind look, an extra minute of listening.
ENCOURAGEMENT is a virtue of solidarity, an assurance to
others that they are not alone in their labors, their strivings, and
When we set out to practice the enlivening art of ENCOURAGEMENT,
we happily discover the little and large ways that other people are
encouraging us as we journey through life. And, we discover how God
Himself is always offering us ENCOURAGEMENT,
enlivening our faith, kindling our love and inviting us to persevere
on the Gospel way of hope and holiness.