Kindness During the Season of Kindness — Christmas
by Romano Guardini
Kindness means that one is well disposed toward life. Whenever he encounters a living being, the kind man's first reaction is not to mistrust and criticize but to respect, to value, and to promote development. Life is sorely in need of this attitude — our human life — which is so vulnerable.
But in kindness there is strength, strength in proportion to its purity, and perfect kindness is inexhaustible. Life is full of suffering; if a person is well disposed toward life then the suffering touches him and makes itself felt. But that is wearing. Suffering demands our understanding; and that requires exertion. It demands help. But only he who truly understands the suffering in any particular case can easily help, only he who can find the necessary words and can see what must be done in order to alleviate the suffering. Woe unto that kindness if it is merely well disposed but is weak. It can happen that it is destroyed by its own sympathy, or in order to protect itself becomes violent.
True kindness requires patience. Suffering returns again and again and demands understanding. The failings of others touch us repeatedly and become the more unendurable because we know them by heart. Kindness must constantly make the effort and turn to the others.