August 28, 2016

KINDNESS

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles herself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:7-14

A humble person, knowing that all gifts are God-given, is kind.

“Whether one believes in religion or not – there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness,” observes the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists.

The spiritual practice of kindness consists of little acts – a word of thanks, a nod of approval, a tip at a restaurant, a smile to a weary worker, a greeting on the street, a hug for a friend. Remember William Wordsworth’s poem: “The best portion of a good man’s life/his little nameless, unremarkable acts/of kindness and love.”

American novelist Henry James gets directly to the point: “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

It isn’t the bold initiatives or the grand strategies which make a difference. It is the trifles taken seriously which are at the heart of morality.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, a Hasidic master, says: “It’s easy to criticize others and make them feel unwanted. Anyone can do it. What takes effort and skill is picking them up and making them feel good.”

Kindness flows naturally out of empathy and hospitality. And a little appreciation can be powerful. Think about how many times someone’s kind words have lifted your spirits and made you feel like a king or queen.

Etiquette is also a part of the spiritual practice of kindness. In Earth etiquette, we don’t walk on flowers or leave trash in parks. In house etiquette, we don’t ignore or abuse our possessions. In animal etiquette, we don’t ridicule our pets or frighten them.

“As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference or with hostility toward the people we meet, we are setting the great spider web atremble,” Protestant writer Frederick Buechner muses. “The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” Our acts have reverberations which are felt way beyond our imagining.

Wendy Lustbader, a mental health counselor, writes: “The words ‘genius’ and ‘generous’ come from the Latin root ‘genere’ meaning ‘to beget’. To have a genius for life is to possess the ability to generate warmth and well-being in others. Largesse literally enlarges our lives.”

The spiritual life, Buddha says, is impossible without a generous heart. And in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus advises his followers to “forgive and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.”

Kindness is sometimes viewed as one of those effete virtues lacking in charisma or clout. And yet it encompasses meaningful acts of love, words of encouragement, various kinds of etiquette, reverberations beyond our ken, generosity, and a salutary largesse. No wonder Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel near the end of his life concludes: “When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat
Spiritual Literacy, 1996

CORNERSTONE RETREAT EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITY

Inquiry & Gathering – Sunday, September 18th
11:00 AM in Russo Room

St. Philip’s is excited to announce a new journey initiative that we will be bringing to our parish. MEN’S & WOMEN’S CORNERSTONE! Cornerstone is a weekend retreat led by lay leadership. Cornerstone offers weekends for men and weekends for women. If you have ever made a Cornerstone retreat or if you are curious about one, please join us to share your experience. There’s no obligation to sign up. And if you can’t make it on Sunday and would like some information, call or email Donna at 973-779-6200 or dscancarella@stphilip.org.

“Cornerstone led me to know Jesus as the foundation for my life and I formed new friendships.” Donna S.

St. Philip’s Players – Nunsense
Tickets are on sale!

Nunsense is a hilarious spoof about the misadventures of five nuns trying to manage a talent show fundraiser after the rest of the sisterhood died after eating tainted soup. Shows on:

Friday, September 16 at 8 PM with Dessert: $25.00
Saturday, September 17 with Dinner & Dessert following
5:30 PM Mass: $35.00 or Dessert Theater at 8:00 PM: $25.00
For tickets or reservations, please call 973-779-1439 or 973-607-1924. Please leave a message, your call will be returned. You may also email us at: stphilipsplayers@aol.com

St. Philip's Picnic Church & School

SAVE THE DATE!
ST. PHILIP’S PARISH PICNIC
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Oktoberfest! Save the date: October 1st

Gather up your lederhosen and practice your yodeling to get ready for Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 1st following the 5:30 PM Mass.

St. Philip’s Players will hold its first fundraiser for the theater group. There will be German food, domestic and imported beer, music and dancing! Tickets which are $40 are now on sale.

For tickets or reservations, please call 973-779-1439 or 973-607-1924. Please leave a message, your call will be returned. You may also email us at stphilipsplayers@aol.com

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