“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.” – Col 3:12-14
As we celebrate this feast of the Holy Family, I want to wish all families God’s blessings. St. Paul in this letter to the Colossians reminds us what truly binds all families together and that is love. For where love is, God is found. (cf. 1 John 4:16b)
Along with love, Paul speaks of other virtues as well – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. He says to the Colossians “put on” these virtues. It’s a wonderful image to put on these virtues like the clothes that we wear. What might it be like for us if we were to be intentional each morning and “put on” one of these virtues (one certainly would be challenge enough and we might have to work at it for a while). To wrap ourselves each day in a virtue and to look for opportunities for that virtue to shine through all our actions, thoughts, and words would have great effect not only for ourself but to those we meet.
An example of how powerful this can be is the story of Elizabeth Laird. Known as the “hug lady”, she touched the lives of soldiers both being deployed to and returning from military service. She hugged thousands over several years and that hug meant the world. In the words of one of those soldiers,
“I love her, I deployed teary eyed and scared (secretly) worried my almost two year old daughter would forget me, she whispered in my ear that everything would be OK, it meant the world to me. I wish I had millions to give her.” (for article click here)
May each of us in some small way, touch the lives of those we meet through an act of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and/or patience. Blessings on your day.
Photo from paxchristiusa.org