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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For the Love of God, Be Friendly to Your Neighbor!

I pray a prayer after my Morning Offering. It is called An Act of Love. I found it one day when I was flipping through my Catholic Book of Prayers. First I came across An Act of Faith and then An Act of Hope. They are both good prayers, but when I read An Act of Love, I knew it was the one that I needed to pray regularly




I pray it because it is true

I pray it because I need a daily reminder to act with love

To be loving towards my family is easy for me. 

But what about my neighbor and the stranger at the grocery store? Do I love them?


I am a shy person, so being the first to speak to a stranger and make eye contact is hard for me. And making small talk sometimes feels like torture. 

In the past, I would go to the store, armed with my list and my cart, and I would be in work mode. It was easy for me to see the other shoppers as an obstacle to completing my task, instead of what they truly are, a child of God. 

He loves them and so should I. 

Since I started praying An Act of Love, I make sure that I smile, make eye contact, ask people how they are, and tell them to have a good day. Sometimes I am greeted with silence, but more often I am greeted with a surprised look and a timid, but friendly response. 

The more I practice being sociable, the more natural it feels, and crowds and long lines and slow cashiers bother me less. 
I feel happier and enjoy my shopping experience more.


I think it is a tragedy that public places appear to be full of rude, unsociable people because I don't believe that the majority of people are actually rude and unfriendly. I think they don't think about smiling because they have a lot on their mind. I think some of them are in work mode like I used to be. Unfortunately, some people are experiencing grief, illness, and trials in their life, and smiling is the last thing they want to do. And the saddest person of all is the person that does not know love.


In 1953, Fulton Sheen wrote in Way to Happiness


Other people are like a mirror which reflects back on us the the kind of image that we cast. The kind man bears with the infirmities of others, never magnifies trifles and avoids a spirit of fault finding. He knows that the trouble with most people in the world is that they are unloved. 


Imagine if every person that professed to be a Christian makes an effort to be friendly, smile, and look on others with favor instead of scorn; if every time we are the recipient of unkindness or someone ignores us, we forgive the offense. 

We would realize that friendly, smiling, lovable people surround us. 

True happiness comes from love, and being kind is showing love to others. 
Love made us, to give and receive love. 

For the love of God, I love others as I love myself. 

Will you? 

6 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this, especially because one of the priests in our parish has been encouraging us to smile more to strangers and I see a difference too!

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    1. Thanks Rita! Yes, smiles are contagious!

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  2. This is a beautiful reflection and prayer. I'm so guilty of being the unsmiling person in the grocery store. Something I defintiely need to work on.

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    1. Thanks Amelia! Give it a try, and then let me know if you notice a difference in the people around you. :)

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  3. I have to remind myself of this often when I'm driving - it's so easy to get mad at other drivers on the road, when maaaaaybe it's a husband driving his wife to the hospital and she's in labor, or maybe the person has a very fancy cake in the front seat and that's why they have to take every turn so slowly! More empathy and compassion always helps :)

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    1. Yes! It is very easy to forget that the car in front of us is controlled by a person with a life and feelings. I have witnessed normally kind people say the meanest things about other drivers on the road and while their children listen! It is always a good practice to assume the best of people.

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