God’s goodness wires all humanity toward good.
God's goodness is in each of us. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, we can truly believe this. However, we are also made in Adam and Eve’s image from whom we inherit their tendency towards evil. But God compensates with His free gift of grace which wires us toward the good. Our free will gives us the option and God hopes we always choose what He would choose, goodness.
From God’s goodness we do good acts for others. And many acts are small everyday actions which spring up spontaneously all around us saying “choose me.” I recently had an experience of this. It was an unexpectedly warm night, and to enjoy it, I went out for a gelato. I sat down at an outdoor table quietly enjoying my gelato in the warm night air.
A friendly sort of gentleman sat down next to me waiting for his friends and we began to chat. He was from the area and began sharing bits and pieces of his life. When he mentioned his summer home in Delaware, my home state, we were suddenly deeply engaged in one topic after another. He told me many things, including his many aches and pains from various illnesses that advanced years offers free of charge.
When he found out I was a priest, he shared more deeply of his present life situation. He was a one-time Catholic who graduated from a Catholic college. He then became more engrossed sharing at a deeper level. I listened to his story, not judging or moralizing, with an occasional question for clarification while still enjoying my salted caramel gelato.
When it was time to go, he thanked me for our time together. He was especially grateful for this opportunity to relate his story to a priest. He hoped we would chat again soon. I said that I would like that.
I share this story because I believe it is a good example of how God’s goodness works through each of us. I had many choices that evening: to leave, not to engage him, be non-committal, or just stay silent. But there was something about him that beckoned me forward. He was elderly, likable, and friendly.
All this was God’s goodness telling me to sit and listen. As he revealed his story, I saw how God’s goodness in me spoke to God’s goodness in him. And we both made the right choice. Who knows where it will go? But for now, God made His presence known and we both affirmed it by choosing to be receptive.
This is how choosing God’s goodness works. I was a stranger. He was a neighbor in need of God’s goodness, and I was the neighbor who brought it to him. Needless to say, neither of us were aware of that at the time. From this simple exchange, we can see God’s goodness working in this unassuming way. Love God and love your neighbor does work.