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Fr. Bob at pulpit during Easter Vigil

A Little Practice - That's all we Need

If we are going to live out our lives as brothers in the Lord, we are going to have to seek out opportunities to affirm one another with sincerity and with regularity. Because we are participants in a wounded human nature, we tend to focus upon our own needs to such a degree that perhaps this is not so easy, not something that comes to us naturally. Just so, we will have, then, to make a conscious effort to do it. If we practise hard enough and persevere, we'll get good at it. 

I don't have to wait until my brother does something good before I give some recognition to him, nor do I have to phrase my affirmation in elaborate words of praise. How about some simple things like: "It's just so good to have you around, " or, "You're a heck of a guy, you know," or, "I hope you know you're a very special person." Wouldn't little words of encouragement like that not make others feel much better about themselves? Are some protesting that they'd feel awkward saying things like that? A little practice. That's all we need. We can all get good at it. 

"If I will concentrate more and more upon affirming my brothers, it will automatically take my focus off myself. That will be good for me. I will grow into greater maturity as a person and be deepening my own relationship with the Lord. The whole community will be a better place." 

It is important for us to take positive steps to affirm our brothers. It is equally important that we avoid negative stuff. Negative humour has a subtly erosive effect on the good health of any community. It should be nipped in the bud. We can so easily get to be experts at picking out the faults and weaknesses of our brothers and poking fun at them. But this will have a destructive effect on how they feel about themselves. We should never remind others of their past failures nor, in a any way, go about trying to even the score. Differences between us have to be worked out in a more positive way. 

Of course, affirmation can be overdone. There is no point in affirming a brother for his mistakes or foibles. Sometimes he will need to be called forth. But there is a way to do this. And we have to learn it. 

We are all wounded to some degree. We might as well admit it. The healing we need can happen as we live together, respecting and supporting one another, loving one another as brothers. The better we all get at affirming one another, the more effective the healing process will be for all of us. 

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