This is all over the internet. I will give it to you verbatim. Jim Martin, Jesuit, culture editor of America magazine says, “It is Lent again.
The time when we ask again what am I gonna give up for Lent.
Instead of something to give up, Father Martin suggests doing something positive.
Kindness sums up the Christian message.
Come to think of it, kindness also sums up the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim messages. Karma is gonna get you if you are not kind in this life. You are coming back as a cockroach. Although that will not stop you from getting elected. In the case of Muslims, kindness is only polite. So Muslims once famously welcomed strangers into their tents in the desert.
Only the Aztecs believed in eating the hearts of your enemies. And anyone they didn’t know was an enemy. On top of which, Aztecs hated each other. At the rate they were doing, there would be no Aztecs, let alone the Mayans they conquered, to work Spanish farms. No wonder the Spaniards exterminated them. It was an unsustainable message. The Spanish were there for the long term.
They did not need Aztecs killing each other and others.
Now, there are 3 ways of being kind, says Martin.
One, “don’t be a jerk.” Sure it was a bad day at the office. And maybe a worse evening back home. “But don’t pass along your misery to everybody else.” Once Father Martin complained to a friend that his life was a cross. His friend said, “Really? For you or for others?”
Two, “honor the absent. Stop talking about people behind their backs. Nothing is so damaging to spiritual life than denigrating others behind their backs.”
Or, I would add, and this is far, far worse, denigrating others to their faces because they are weak and cannot strike back. Like calling drug addicts not human and therefore not entitled to human rights. That is cowardice. You wouldn’t say it to an addicted commandant of Marines. Last time someone hurt their feelings, the Marines blew up a Muslim congressman and everyone else unlucky enough to be near him.
And, three, “always give people the benefit of the doubt.” When there is a doubt about what a person means when he says or does something, give him the benefit of the doubt. He might mean well.
But hit him in the face if he moves to strike you or curses you to your face. I added that.
So don’t give up chocolates for Lent, says Martin. Be kind in all 3 ways instead. “It will be better for your spiritual life.”
And after 6 heart by-passes, I can also vouch it will be better for your cholesterol and sugar levels.
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