December 13

Today's quotation:

Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, words and thoughts:  daily forgiveness, unselfishness, kindnesses, sympathies, charities, sacrifices for the good of others, struggles against temptation, submissiveness under trial.  It is these, like the blinding colors in a picture, or the blending notes of music, which constitute the person.

John MacDuff

Today's Meditation:

I like the idea of thinking of character as a product.  It's true--our character is the result of things we do, and we're developing and producing it with almost every act we take in our lives.  I develop my character in my interactions with my family, my friends, my co-workers, and every stranger with whom I come in contact.  I become the person I am as a result of my thoughts and my actions.  I may think things that would not show a great deal of character, but it's up to me to reject those thoughts and respond in a loving way if I want to develop my character into something I can be proud of.

We all face situations in which we'd like to do something mean to someone else--to call them just the right insulting name, to offend them because they just offended us, to do some damage to property of theirs because they just damaged something of ours that is dear to us.  Sometimes we'd even like to hit someone because we feel so frustrated and annoyed and we can't think of anything else that would express those feelings.  The person who's building an admirable character, though, would definitely not make the decision to harm someone else--our decisions are based on something much deeper than immediate angry responses would allow for.

I really hope that someday my character will be something that I'm proud of, something that I know will carry me through hard times better than anything else, and that will teach other people the importance of being honest, forthright, and dependable.  I hope that my character will make people trust that all that I do will be the best I can do, and that they can rely on me to take care of the things that are most valuable to them, simply because they know by my character that they can trust me to do so.

In our world of today, it seems more difficult to build character.  Social media gives everyone the chance to criticize, to insult, to mock, or to be just mean to other people whom they may never meet face-to-face.  Our media attack people and make them look stupid every single day.  One true test of character, though, is to rise above this sort of behavior and choose the loving ways of dealing with others.  This world of today definitely needs more people of character to grow and share their positive qualities with others.  Let's try to be the trend-setters in the attempt to fulfill this need, because the people of this world definitely need more such people.

Questions to consider:

In what specific and concrete ways may you build character that you are proud of?

Are you committed to excellence in all that you do?  How might such a commitment be a reflection of your character?

What kind of obstacles keep people from developing the positive sides of their character?
For further thought:

Your character is your destiny.  Building character is a task for the brave and dedicated.  There are no shortcuts when it comes to building character.  If you wish to cure minimalism in your own life, to develop a complete commitment to excellence and an absolute rejection of mediocrity, the question you need to start asking yourself is, "What is the most I can do?"

Matthew Kelly

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