Faith in the Family

Faith in the Family

We have just completed our fourth session of the Confirmation programme ‘You shall be my witnesses’ with over one hundred children who will be confirmed in our parish on February 13. Our fifth and final session will take place a couple of weeks after the children have been confirmed.

I have really enjoyed these weeks, working with young people from around our parish and with the parents and students involved in the Pope John Paul II Award who have been our leaders. It has been hectic with two sessions each Tuesday evening, but the buzz and energy from the kids have made it all worth it.

In our session last week we were looking at ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ – the idea that we can do something kind for people simply because it is a good thing to do.

This idea fits well into the bigger question as to what difference we expect faith to make in our lives. Should we expect it to make any appreciable difference? The children in my group were clear – faith should shape how we live. For them it is quite simple, we should be trying to live like Jesus.

Sometimes that can feel very daunting but the idea of random acts of kindness is that it is in the little things in life that we can let our faith and our love shine. Now of course people can be kind and loving without claiming any faith at all but what we were suggesting to the children in the group is that if they listen to the Spirit and try to live like Jesus then they can use random acts of kindness to make the world around them a happier, better place. It is a way of being Good News for others.

One of the challenges is that often when we do something good we want to be recognised for it. Generally, we all like to be thanked or praised. However, when we go seeking recognition for what we have done we turn the attention back on ourselves rather on the good thing that has happened. So the idea is to just do little things and let them go, not worry about who notices or what people will say. The hope is that if I receive an act of kindness from someone I will be inspired to pass a kindness on to someone else – and so a ripple of kindness spreads out through our world.

When I was on the bus a few days ago coming back from Dublin there was an elderly lady who was helped into her seat by someone. Then when her umbrella fell a young woman got out of her seat to retrieve it. I heard the lady say: “Two acts of kindness given to me today – I will have to pass them on.”

I was delighted to see the dynamic of random acts of kindness really at work!

The children in our groups were quite excited about the possibilities of what they could do for others with their acts of kindness. I think they were also quite relieved that it all seemed so simple.

We were not asking big heroic acts off them – just small simple acts of love that would brighten someone’s day.

Perhaps this Lent we could all commit to this very practical way of being Good News for the people around us. Whether it is letting someone out in front of us when we are driving, taking time to talk to someone, doing a job without having to be asked or just smiling at people as we walk down the street, they are all simple, small ways of showing that we are inspired by love. Living like Jesus can happen in the little things.