Friday, November 1, 2013

Random Acts of Blessing

A blog post I recently read about parenting really resonated with me. The suggestion I took to heart was to look at your children and say 'I love you' with your eyes. Here was definitely a concept worth trying - and it was like magic! Those little eyes staring back at me said, "I love you" right back. The loving interactions between us increased exponentially - it became my secret super power. Not willing to leave well enough alone, I made an effort to try my new found skill on others. After all, haven't we been inundated with pleadings to love in scripture verses, parables, and gems of wisdom from our parents?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as we Forgive

You see, I have accumulated a lifetime of little regrets - things that I could have, should have done differently. That grouchy waitress, the rude clerk, the driver who cut me off - I have felt smugly irate. But then, like a clap of thunder, it hit me. When I'm the one at fault, I make excuses. I'm having a bad day, the kids are distracting, I didn't mean to - it's so easy to explain when it's me. Mea Culpa! If I'm so willing to rationalize my faults, why should I not do the same for others? Why not assume the best, instead of the worst?

Whatever You Do to the Least of These

When we begin to look at others with the eyes of God's love, when we see them from the inside out - that's when we are living the Gospel. Over and over, we are told to love others as we love ourselves. The Beatitudes, alone, speak volumes of this type of compassion and love. God loves us all - bumps included. He doesn't care if we're educated, successful, beautiful, or accomplished. What He cares about is something we, humans, can't see - the immortal soul of each of His creatures.

Performing Random Acts of Blessing

So what are we to take away from these thoughts? What's the point of these ponderings? It all began with that silent look of "I love you" and bringing it to the world around me. Looking at others from the inside out, helps me to focus on the love God feels for us all. What he sees is one of His creatures - not the unkempt hair, questionable clothing, or frantic mind - He sees someone He loves. If I am to live like Him, then I must look inside too - seeing the humanity, yes, but more importantly - seeing the eternal soul.

When I see someone who appears unattractive (looks, attitude, behavior), I give them an "I love you smile". It's become a habit - slowly - to whisper a little internal prayer for them. "Jesus, please bless this person, whom I almost judged just now". I know that He loves us all, maybe the more difficult ones are loved even more. Memories of a quip from my mother come to mind, "when a teenager is the least lovable, that's when they need the most love". We have to wonder how many times our Father in Heaven has felt that way about us.

Transforming Your Love a Little at a Time

A little bit of kindness can go a long way. Now, whenever I encounter a stranger - especially one who looks particularly harsh - I silently bless them. When I encounter a home brandishing the rainbow flag of the United States, I offer a silent prayer for the occupants. When I'm feeling particularly impatient with little voices, who insistently call my name, I stop, look into their eyes and silently say, 'I love you'. I'm not always successful, but success is my goal. The bonus is, sometimes we really do receive in return, that which we give. And if we don't? St. Josemaria Escriva said it beautifully:

Don't say: "that person gets on my nerves". Think: "that person sanctifies me".

There are so many examples in the lives of the saints. These little random acts of blessing can become like St. Theresa's 'little way' - one person at a time. Just think of the possibilities of spreading the wealth of God's love with everyone we encounter. What a beautiful community of God's love we could build! So let's all join together in performing random acts of blessing. In return, we will be ones who are blessed.