Once upon a New Year’s Eve, a young woman named Rachel was taking care of her friend’s little baby boy. This particular day was pretty much the same as many of the other days that she spent with the little boy – precious. The little boy was one of the sweetest little boys Rachel knew, and they always had a good time together.
This particular New Year’s Eve morn, Rachel found herself a bit out of sorts and a bit tired. But the shining sun had broken through and warmed up the chilly morning, so after the little boy awoke from his nap and had his lunch, she took him out for a walk.
Being out of sorts and a little bit tired, Rachel hadn’t packed a lunch. So she decided to pick up lunch on the walk from a nearby DQ. Being a little out of sorts, it took a while for Rachel to pack the diaper bag, get the little boy settled in his stroller, find his warm hat, get his new little shoes on properly…and get out the door.
They walked a while and after a bit made it to DQ. A very kind DQ man held open the door as Rachel pushed the stroller inside. The little boy smiled at the DQ man, and the DQ man smiled back (the sweet little boy makes friends wherever he goes).
By this point, Rachel was a little bit more than a bit tired, and little bit more than a bit hungry. So she placed her order and opened her purse…and couldn’t find her wallet. Her cheeks began to burn. Diapers and wipes, check. Hand sanitizer, check. Snacks for the little boy, check. Purse, check. Actual wallet…at home. Oh, Lord. As Rachel fumbled through her bags, now quite flustered, she apologized and asked to cancel the order, explaining she’d have to walk home.
Then, a woman’s voice from behind her said something about not having to walk home and go ahead with the order, and when Rachel turned around, there was ten dollar bill on the counter. Being out of sorts, tired and hungry, all Rachel could do at first was tear up and try to swallow the knot in her throat. She looked up and met the woman’s kind eyes. Are you sure? It’s not necessary, we’ll walk back…But the kind woman said take it, just pass the kindness on. Rachel’s little tired heart overflowed with the kindness and mercy of the stranger.
The DQ man brought Rachel a sandwich, and enjoyed smiling again with the boy, his new little friend. The little boy smiled back as he ate his snack and Rachel ate her sandwich, her eyes still shining just a bit.
That night, Rachel went to mass for the Vigil of the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Mother of us all, especially Mother of those in need. She wanted to give thanks for the kindness of the stranger, to give thanks for such a precious gift to begin the new year – perhaps a seemingly little thing to some, but to Rachel it was a deep gift from Mary, indeed.
Just as the homily started, Rachel noticed an elderly couple standing along the wall. Well, there is a little room next to me, she thought, but not enough for two. Rachel made up her mind and stood up, approaching the couple and offering them her seat. There was just enough room, and they were grateful.
Rachel stood in the back and tried to focus in on the priest’s words. A few minutes later, the memory of the afternoon arose in the back of her mind. Just pass the kindness on. Oh…
And Rachel smiled to herself, standing on her tired feet, and was not out of sorts at all.
“Mary, Virgin and Mother…help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith,justice and love of the poor,that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world. Mother of the living Gospel, wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones, pray for us. Amen. Alleluia! “
~Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 288