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APPROACHING LIFE WITH NICENESS AND SMILE DISARMS EVEN THOSE WHO MAY BE HOSTILE

When compassion is around us and when it is projected to others, it disarms even those who are hostile. The key is to approach every person with a mouth that curves upward. Mother Teresa said that "holy living consists of doing Godís work with a smile."

She also said that the smile on a child was Godís love.

A smile points the mouth, eyes, and soul up to God.

A bit of advice here: imitate the angels, who are usually described with lips upturned and whose love radiates a sense of strength in all circumstances.

A smile is a powerful spiritual tool because it announces that we are of a benevolent disposition (when there is true emotion behind it), and allows us to stop focusing so much on ourselves. Itís only when we have pride that we become sullen and engulfed in depression, which comes from self-absorption. We are self-possessed before we are oppressed by the enemy. And it does nothing to help our eternity.

Self-absorption leads to purgatory because it carries over to the afterlife.

Being nice is important in spiritual development, glorifies the Lord, and unlocks the door to what God has in store for us.

It means to be considerate. It means to see through the eyes of those we encounter.

It means to place others ahead of ourselves.

And it means mundane things like being punctual. To be kind is to be considerate, helpful, and make every effort to lift another personís day Ė to affect other lives for the better.

We could change the world if this happened with just a small percentage of us.

Such is announced with a smile, which says "I like you and wish you no harm."

In Scripture it tells us that a kind word turns away wrath. So does a smile.

If we have abandoned ourselves, and eliminated the "self" (with joy), weíre not concerned about being "insulted."

Nor are we overly concerned with our reputations. We're diligent, yes, and careful not to offend -- but as far as what others think, that has little bearing if we have done the best we can. The only One Whose view of us should be a preoccupation is the Lord's.

An insult can only take hold if there is pride. It's the fuel of discord. It's the foundation for self-possession. We have insecurities when we have pride, which causes us to "clamp up." We frown. We turn a smile upside-down. We withdraw. With humility comes a shield and outward joy -- which pushes away evil like a plow pushes away snow.

Those with ebullient, outgoing personalities break down the pretensions of those who otherwise would be insulting. It keeps away the enemy because joy springs from love, love is God, Who is also Light, and light dispels darkness.

[adapted from The God of Miracles]

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