Kindness and Prudence. These are two virtues I wish to address today, and address regarding Mass attendance in December.
- Prudence: right reason applied to practice. This virtue allows us to make the best decisions based upon the situations we face. The obligations we have as dads, moms, and Catholics must be met, and prudence guides us in the ways we fulfill those obligations. Thus, a dad has an obligation to love his children, but he must employ prudence in terms of when he is to show love in a tender, or a tough fashion at any given time with any given child.
We know that we are obliged to attend Mass every Sunday or Saturday evening by command of God, and precept of the Church. Nevertheless, the Church has always held to the law of “One is not obliged to do the impossible.” Therefore, when the snow flies, and when the roads are slick, the Church does not want you risking your life, or the lives of your loved ones to attend Mass; it is not a form of martyrdom to die in this fashion. So use prudence when the weather is bad on Sunday. If you cannot attend, spend some extra time in prayer at home. If you desire the Eucharist, see if you can attend a daily Mass that week when the roads clear. I do not want to bury anybody because they gambled and lost on Sunday morning.
2. Kindness: the quality of understanding sympathy and concern for those in trouble or need. We often see folks in December that we don’t see all that often at Mass. For one reason or another they do not regularly fulfill their Sunday obligations. It is easy at this time of year to snicker about this, and we can often find ourselves staring at such individuals when they show up again. What we must understand is that many of them have had horrible experiences with the Church, and it is very difficult for them to return at any time. Many have a perception that they are unwelcome, or that Christians are cold. Let us not give them this impression this December! When you see new faces, or faces that have been absent, show them kindness. Show them the warmth of the Holy Spirit. Let them know they can contact you, if they have any questions about the faith, or the parish. Offer to sit with them at Mass in the future. Be Christ to them!
I want to see the parish grow while I’m here: grow in faith, hope, love, and, yes, in number. To do so, I need not deaths caused by going out into dangerous weather. I need warm smiles and words spoken to those coming back at Christmas. So let us pray for an increase of prudence, and kindness this December.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Peace may the Good Lord bless and keep you all the days of your lives.