Christ honored children as those belonging to the kingdom of God and
spoke of their angels beholding the face of God in heaven. He
complimented the widow for contributing her mite to the collection that
she offered from her poverty rather than out of surplus.
When Mary of Bethany poured out expensive ointment and washed
Christ’s feet with her hair, He commended her: “For she has done a
beautiful thing to me.”
Christ expressed his undying appreciation to Peter and the disciples
for following Him with this high praise: “Truly, I say to you, there is
no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children to
follow me . . . who will not receive manifold more in this time and in
the life to come, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Christ praises at every opportunity.
Praise and Repeat
To follow Christ, then, obligates a person also to praise others, to
pay compliments, and to express appreciation and gratitude. In other
words, Christ’s example teaches the graciousness of kind, thoughtful
words that validate the virtues of others and encourage imitation.
This cycle of love’s coming, going, and continuing depends on the
giving of true praise and appreciative compliments to move the heart and
will to persist in these habits of virtue. A host who welcomes guests
with hospitality soon loses the love of entertaining when guests take
these occasions for granted and fail to pay compliments for the thought,
time, and effort spent in preparation. Has that ever happened to you?
Christ’s example teaches that praise pleases God and blesses others.
Hoarding up Beautiful Sentiments
Why do many begrudge the giving of compliments and fail to express
heartfelt thanks by the spoken or written word? Some unwittingly take
things for granted and lack the refinement or sensitivity to acknowledge
gifts, favors, or acts of thoughtfulness; the habit of gratitude has
not been fully formed. I know that when you are loving to your friends or romantic partners, it does feel a little draining when you are not appreciated, at least a little?
Some do not like the sense of being beholden or do not extend
themselves to do anything “extra” beyond the minimum, for example, to
include a written letter, thank-you note, or personal call.
Many do not want to give the impression of flattery or
sentimentality, failing to distinguish between the insincerity of empty
words and the praise that is due by way of justice. Of course some are
too prideful and feel no obligation to deign to pay compliments to
others which they imagine detract from their image and reputation. They
like receiving compliments but do not enjoy giving them.
As Christ’s example of generous praise teaches, the imitation of
Christ obliges a person not only always to give thanks to God but also
to pay deserving compliments to all people for all the charitable acts
that a person receives in the course of a human life. All human beings,
not just children, thrive on praise.
All good and faithful servants who do an honest day’s work with a
sense of duty and vocation—mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, students,
priests, bishops, and ordinary people—rejoice at the surprise and
spontaneity of the gift of praise that gives meaning and vibrancy to the
day. Not to praise is a form of selfishness, not giving to others the
esteem they deserve.
Not to praise is a form of avarice, a hoarding of good words and
beautiful sentiments that are never dispensed for the benefit of others.
Not to praise is a form of envy, resentment at the compliments offered
to others rather than given to one’s own self. Not to praise as Christ
praises is a form of inhumanity, a failure to love’s one neighbor and a
lack of charity.
Christ, true God and true man, teaches not only of the love and mercy
of the Father and of the miracle of eternal life but also instructs man
on how to be human, warm, cordial, kind, considerate, and thoughtful
about the little things as well as the great things worthy of praise. I thank you for getting up each day and doing your job , being the best you can be!