Don’t let the little blue butterfly on the front cover fool you. This is one seriously difficult book.
Written by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik in 1962, The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time is a heavy-hitting guide to help you train yourself to be kinder, even in the most difficult circumstances. Fr. Lovasik, whose life goal was “to make God more known and loved” through his writing, exhorts us to take up the discipline of kindness in order that we may act in the image of God here on earth and reap the benefits now of living that kind of love. We ought to be kind, he writes, because the very nature of God and His love for us is kind.
“Kindness in God,” writes Fr. Lovasik, “is the act of creation and the constant preservation of the world in existence. From divine kindness flow, as from a fountain, the powers and the blessings of all created kindness” (p.5). The very nature of love is to be endlessly self-giving, in a word, total. God pours out His constant care and concern for us in every moment and He invites us to do the same for our brothers and sisters.
Kindness, notes Fr. Lovasik, means coming to the aid of our neighbor when we can. In doing so, we imitate God who is always making up for our faults and weaknesses. It means willfully conforming ourselves to Christ. When we do, says Fr. Lovasik, “sharpness, bitterness, and sarcasm” disappear. How free we would all feel without the oppressive weight of snarky thoughts and words on our hearts! Fr. Lovasik shows us that the only way to counteract those tendencies is with a determined heart to be kind to all we meet.
And he does mean “all”. We shouldn’t be tempted to only show kindness to those who make us happy or who seem to deserve our good graces. Kindness, he insists, should be shown to everybody. “Not only is kindness due to everyone, ” he writes, “but a special kindness is due to everyone. Kindness is not kindness unless it is special. Its charm consists in its fitness, its timeliness, and its individual application” (6). The Hidden Power of Kindness is replete with examples of this special kindness and helps the reader recognize opportunities for kindness and temptations against it in everyday life.
In this upcoming season of new life in Easter, Fr. Lovasik’s book is a practical and challenging tool for helping us live a new life in Christ, wrapped in the sweetness of His lovingkindness. What a gift we could give ourselves and to those around us: to be kind.
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Copyright 2016 Meg Matenaer