By FATHER JIM
Because this brief reflection and article appears in our newsletter called “More Good News,” it makes sense to consider things that are of a positive nature — thoughts, events, considerations that raise our spirits and lift our focus to what is good and helpful.
Recently, there was a benefit to assist the family of a beautiful child, challenged with health issues and the expenses of medical treatments and care. The event was a tremendous success with many people showing up.
In the Utica area there are, frequently, such events to benefit persons or worthy causes, in addition to walks for this or that, raising funds for research and help for persons in need. Although employment in this area is not as strong as it could be and financial difficulties are vexing, these events to benefit others are unusually blessed and of great success, compared to other communities.
Many of the folks who plan and patronize such events are believers, “churchy” people of many faith communities prompted by their desire to deliver God’s love in very practical ways. While many people of different ages are not so “churchy,” their generosity toward these benefits to assist others comes from a heartfelt spirit and the goodness of their intentions.
All of this is good news because it goes against a troublesome trend to be too self-absorbed and competitive to care about the troubles of others. We live in a culture that worships the “Big Me.” So many things that are part of life today promote a kind of thinking that says, “I am an extraordinary person,” having little heart or time for the care of others.
Maybe another way to put it is that unfortunately, too many today are only concerned with their resume virtues, qualities to advance their promotions or popularity, rather than eulogy virtues that are spoken about at the end of one’s life.
The eulogy virtues are kindness, honesty, warm heartedness, service and generosity. These people radiate a sort of moral joy; they get good things done. They perform acts of sacrificial service with the same modest everyday spirit they would display just going to get the groceries. They do not think about how impressive they are “resume virtues,” they just recognize what needs doing and they do it.
The wonderful turnout of so many for these fundraising events and benefits tells us that the “eulogy virtues” do lead people to do good, even at a time when much evil is on the prowl. The line separating good and evil passes not through states or classes or political parties, but right through every human heart.