A few years ago a woman by the name of Anne Herbert, a writer who lives in California, accidentally started a movement called ‘practising random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
She came up with the phrase while doodling on a restaurant placemat one day. A man sitting nearby thought it was wonderful and copied it on his own placemat.
And suddenly people all over were copying the phrase down and doing what it suggests.
The objective of those who subscribe to this movement is quite simply to do kind things for other people for absolutely no reason at all other than the fact that they want to make the world a better place.
Those who commit random acts of kindness do things like
Taking a beautiful plant into the a police station to brighten the environment
Letting the person in the supermarket queue behind you go before you.
Complimenting a stranger on a bus on how good they look.
or putting a coin into a stranger’s parking meter just before the time expires
According to Anne Herbert some of the things that have been done by those who have caught the spirit of practising random acts of kinds and senseless acts of beauty include:
-shovelling the snow from a neighbours walk when no one is looking
-leaving a generous tip for a waiter who has provided poor service
-planting daffodils along a highway
-writing an old school teacher to let her know what a difference she made to her pupils
-and going out and scrubbing graffiti off park benches.
“Here’s the idea”, she says, “Anything you think there should be more of, do it randomly. Kindness can build on itself as much as violence can.”
When the disciples were gathered in the upper room after the death and resurrection of Jesus, he appeared among them and said to them: “Peace be with you – As the Father sent me, so I send you”
And then he breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven”
As followers of Christ and heirs of the apostles, we have been given a commission, we have been given a power, and we have been given an authority:
The commission to go out as Jesus went out, to do good to others without judgement or criticism And the authority and the privilege to actually make a difference in the lives of others, a difference that counts – now – and forever.
Mother Teresa once said this about her work in the streets of Calcutta:
“Non-Christians and Christians both do social work, but non-Christians do it for something, while we do it for someone. This accounts for the respect, the love and devotion – because we do it for God. That is why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.
“We are in continual contact with Christ in his work, just as we are in contact with him at mass and in the Blessed Sacrament. There, Jesus has the appearance of bread. But in the world of misery, in the torn bodies, in the children, it is the same Christ that we see, that we touch.”
The first Christian Community was so dynamic, so loving, so sharing, so united – because it lived wholeheartedly for the Risen Christ.
The first believers knew with every fibre of their being that God’s love conquered all -even death itself – and they were eager to share that love with others, that they might know the blessedness of life as God meant it to be.
They practised random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, as an act of devotion, and as a natural response to what God had already done for them.
And so – in a sense – the acts of kindness and beauty that they committed were no longer random or senseless:
they had a purpose, a holy purpose,
the purpose of not only bringing people closer to each other and making a better society, but the purpose of bringing people into a healing and cleansing relationship with God – a relationship in which both our joy and theirs are complete