Kindness Helps Prevent Evil and Promote Good

Father Faber shows how recipients of kind acts receive two benefits: they are discouraged from committing evil, and they are encouraged to do good.

Concerning the first, he says that an act of kindness can help prevent a person from committing a graver sin than he otherwise would have committed. “It is probable that no man ever had a kind action done to him who did not in consequence commit a sin less than he otherwise would have done.” And, he adds: “There are few gifts more precious to a soul than to make its sins fewer.”

Concerning the second benefit, Father Faber asserts that the recipient of an act of kindness is encouraged to do good. “We may see floods of grace descend on the disheartened soul, and it shows no symptom of reviving. Grace runs off it as the rain runs from the roofs. . . . We all of us need encouragement to do good. The path of virtue, even when it is not uphill, is rough and stony, and each day’s journey is a little longer than our strength admits of. . . . You may love God, and love Him truly, as you do, and high motives may be continually before you. Nevertheless, you must be quite conscious to yourself of being soon fatigued—nay, perhaps of a normal lassitude growing with your years; and you must remember how especially the absence of sympathy tried you, and how all things began to look like delusion because no one encouraged you in your work. Alas! how many noble hearts have sunk under this not ignoble weariness! How many plans for God’s glory have fallen to the ground, which a bright look or a kind eye would have propped up! But either because we were busy with our own work, and never looked at that of others, or because we were jealous, and looked coldly and spoke critically, we have not come with this facile succour to the rescue, not so much of our brother, as of our dearest Lord Himself! How many institutions for the comfort of the poor or saving of souls have languished more for want of approbation than of money!”

Quotations from Frederick William Faber, Kindness (London: R. & T. Washbourne, 1901).

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