So I’ve started to read: “The Hidden Power of Kindness: A practical handbook for souls who dare to transform the world, one deed at a time.” The original title (by Fr. Lovasik) is just “Kindness.”
Fr. Lovasik makes the point: “Obligingness urges you to carry out a wish or satisfy need before a request is made. You will not wait for your neighbor to express a wish; you will detect his need and kindly satisfy his unspoken request. When you comply with the spoken request of your neighbor, you may do so either because you do not wish to appear unkind, or because you feel unable to resist the persuasion of another…But when you are truly obliging, love prompts gracious thoughts….Obligingness prevents you from becoming careless in charity, because it arouses charity to action. It is a constant striving to do good on your own initiative…”
“Obligingness prevents you from becoming careless in charity.” A fantastic point and something to strive for.
Christ tells us that “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” He also tells us to “If you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Put another way, if you are kind only to those who have to ask it of you, you are not being perfect like the Father is perfect. Instead, you should strive to know what your brother needs before he asks.
In this we can look to Our Lady as an example of how to be truly kind and obliging. At the wedding at Cana, she detects the need for more wine for the couple before anyone else has even noticed it. When she learns that Elizabeth is pregnant, she immediately senses a need and travels a great distance to fulfill that need. Clearly, this was before Elizabeth had even asked, hence her surprise: “How has it happened, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” This is true kindness friends. It’s something I currently fall well short of. :) Still, the book title is right: one kind deed at a time and we’ll change the world.