It seems as if daily we witness violence, dissension and other social ailments. How might we keep this from overshadowing the Christmas season and the anticipation of a hopeful new year?
In Christ we have our answer: Love conquers all. Faith in the awesome power of love is paramount for combating the malaise surrounding us. An excellent way to translate love into our daily lives is to practice its two most precious qualities: kindness and mercy.
Kindness encourages us to examine how well-disposed we are toward life. Are we down on the world, on those around us and ourselves? Or does our gratefulness for being part of God’s creation and its challenges reign? Does negativity outweigh our zest for life?
Our disposition is paramount for determining the love needed to conquer all. The more well-disposed we are, the better can we keep the ills of our times from extinguishing the Christmas spirit.
The same holds for mercy.
When we had battles in our home, my Italian grandfather would say, “Why are you making so much of this? Let it go, life is too short. Mercy, forgiveness and forgetfulness are to be preferred to your bellicose disposition.” The “it” of which he spoke was a hardened heart and a reminder to keep it supple and well-disposed. He would also add, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
What is the very essence of being well-disposed when dealing with the good of others?
Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna gives us the answer in his book “We Have Found Mercy.” He says that when helping others “we should do it simply and immediately, without asking how we will benefit from it.” In other words, putting aside our ego is essential for practicing love and mercy.
He also says that “Jesus does not want us to treat others, our brothers and sisters in need, merely as instruments of our own sanctification, as means to a pious end.” Here, he goes to the heart of love and mercy: Treatment of others must be “selflessly, for the neighbor’s sake” and not for reward, recognition and feeling good about the self.
At times, our world seems to be more heartless than heartwarming: Belligerent rhetoric abounds and advocating use of force often outweighs a disposition toward achieving peace amicably.
The Christmas season is a blessed time to focus more deeply on the meaning of Christ entering our lives and especially his message: Love overcomes all.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103