Fr. James Martin, S.J.: Be kind this Lent

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play

Join our Patreon Community

What are you giving up for Lent? Well, instead of giving something up how about doing something positive. How about this: Be kind. And let me suggest. First: Give people the benefit of the doubt. After all, why not? Everyone is carrying around some sort of burden. Usually one that you don't even know about. So give them a break. Second: Honor the absent. When you're talking about people who aren’t there be kind. Spiritually speaking, it's essential. It's part of charity. Practically speaking, it makes sense too. Why? Because you'll feel crummy about yourself afterwards. Because the person you're complaining to will probably see you as negative. Finally, because it will probably get back to them. More to the point, it's mean. Finally: Don't be a jerk. There is no need to be. Just because you're having a rotten day doesn't mean you have to pass along your misery to someone else. It's important to share your struggles with friends. But being in a bad mood is no excuse for being unpleasant. If you feel your moving into that territory, ask yourself a simple question, "Am I being a jerk?" If you're somehow unable to discern that, the look on other people's faces will tell you. So for Lent, some advice: Be nice!

[Don’t miss any of the latest writings, podcasts and videos from Father Martin. Sign up for his newsletter.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

About 6 months ago, I began abstaining from meat each Friday, in reparation for the victims of clergy sex abuse. I also pray for the faithful and holy priests that I am fortunate to know. . I also receive forgiveness and consolation each month through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I also pray throughout each day not only for my "needs" as I perceive them but for the intentions of my family, friends, and residents and staff of the nursing home where I live. I will also "give up" a simple treat, such as limiting myself to a single cup of coffee each day during our morning Coffee Social. Finally, I agree with Father Martin that it's a good idea to perform acts of kindness. I have decided, as Pope Francis suggested in a recent homily, to be kind by not gossiping to others about the problem of obesity about which another resident is frequently mocked.

Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

About 6 months ago, I began abstaining from meat each Friday, in reparation for the victims of clergy sex abuse. I also receive forgiveness and consolation each month through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I also pray throughout each day not only for my "needs" as I perceive them but for the intentions of my family, friends, and residents and staff if the nursing home where I live. I will also "give up" a simple treat, such as l limiting myself to a single cup of coffee each day during our morning Coffee Social. Finally, I agree with Father Martin that it's a good idea to perform acts of kindness. I have decided, as Pope Francis suggested in a recent homily, to be kind by not gossiping to others about the problem of obesity that another resident is frequentky

Mike Macrie
1 year 7 months ago

Being Kind is something we all need to work on especially me.

More: Prayer

The latest from america

Many are wondering after the lack of response by the Vatican to questions raised about what Pope Francis actually said about civil unions.
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 24, 2020
Saying that his parents "taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age," Trump went on to say that "Melania and I have gotten to visit some amazing churches and meet with great faith leaders from around the world."
Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist, was beatified in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 10, 2020. (CNS photo/courtesy Sainthood Cause of Carlo Acutis)
Acutis’s beatification is a beacon to all those who live their lives, for better or for worse, increasingly online.
Mike SeayOctober 24, 2020
“The government doesn’t want to reunite the children with their parent...They don’t see it as their role.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 23, 2020