Kindness: Anticipating the Needs and Wishes of Others

Obligingness urges you to carry out a wish or satisfy need before a request is made. You will not wait for your neighbor to express a wish; you detect his need and kindly gratify his unspoken request.

When you comply with the spoken request of your neighbor, you may do so either because you do not wish to appear unkind, or because you feel unable to resist the persuasion of another, or because in this way you hope to rid yourself sooner of a troublesome person. But when you are truly obliging, love prompts gracious thoughts, tells you of your neighbor’s wish, and urges you to comply with it. Here love alone pleads and complies with the wish. Hence, obligingness is an act of charity even more beautiful than a simple readiness to serve another.

Obligingness is an Attractive Form of Charity

It has something divine about it. Most of God’s gifts come to us without our asking for them. Long before weak man existed, God planned to call him to share in His everlasting bliss. Long before we could lift our hearts to pray, He created, redeemed, and sanctified us. St. John says:

“In this the love of God was made manifest in us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Obligingness is a richer joy-giver than mere willingness to render service. A gift which is the result of a formal request nearly always loses something of its full value and, as a consequence, something of its power to give pleasure; whereas, anything done out of obliging love keeps undiminished its ability to make people happy. When a pure motive of charity inspires a gift, it never fails to produce much joy and bestow on the giver a rich blessing. The purer your love, the richer its natural and supernatural blessings. The more you give, the more you receive.

If you are a person of gentle feelings, you will attract others by a certain delicacy and attention to their small needs, by discovering their least desires and constantly forgoing your own, and by rendering little services even before they are requested. Do not wait for your neighbor to express a wish, but gratify his unspoken wish. Keep your eyes open to discover other people’s needs; take the trouble to remove an obstacle in the path of another; let your hands be busy providing pleasant surprises for your neighbor; be eager to undertake things for others or run errands for them without waiting to be asked.

This is what it means to be obliging. This is genuine kindness that imitates the obliging love of God.



This article is adapted from a chapter in The Hidden Power of Kindness by Lawrence G. Lovasik which is available from Sophia Institute Press

Art for this post on Kindness: Cover used with permission; Image of flower in winter: Photography used with permission of Pixels.Talk.Net.


To read more about the power of the virtues, click HERE.

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