The Beauty Of Graciousness
On September 6, 1997 the English people conducted the funeral services for their Cinderella Princess Diana, affectionately called Princess Di. Never in present memory has England, as a Nation, shown so much depth of emotion and sense of loss as it had for their young Princess. No one is trying to make her a saint, because like us, she had her faults and weaknesses. However all agree that the Princess possessed a rare, rich quality: the gift of graciousness.
This graciousness, radiant and vibrant, came from the respect and courtesy she showed to everyone she met, especially for suffering children. In the high level of English society and the Royal Family Circle, Princess Di had a low rating because she mixed too much with the common people. According to their way of thinking, she didn’t keep herself aloof enough for them. Of course, this trait of graciousness endeared her in a remarkable way with the English public. People began to think maybe, that as a nation, we can be gracious to each other.
In His time, Jesus, the Prophet from Galilee, found disfavor with the religious institution, the Scribes and the Pharisees, since he associated with sinners and tax-collectors. In a recent Gospel, the Lord gave the gift of hearing to a non-Jew, a Gentile, something a good Jew would never dream of doing. The pages of the Gospels hold many such instances where Christ showed Himself as a gracious Human Being, kind and courteous.
At the end of her unhappy marriage, the young Diana refused to retreat into seclusion in bitterness, away from the public eye. Instead she spear-headed causes for charity, among them: bringing attention to suffering AIDS victims and the elimination of land mines throughout the world. In her funeral procession, representatives from 110 charities touched, by her personal backing, marched in her honor.
In her tragic death, we can examine our own spirit of graciousness. How delightful to meet a person with this gift, one who puts us at ease and makes us feel important! I just finished speaking on the phone with a hospital receptionist and insurance agent – both women. Their voices, warm and unhurried, helped me solve my personal dilemma. Gracious people!
Each one of us can be a gracious person, treating all people we meet with love and respect, no matter what their station in life. During my travels to Sweden and France, I asked dozens of questions for information, always receiving courteous answers from people of these countries. Make our homes and city, places where gracious living holds paramount importance. Who can stop us? “Here lies a gracious person.” Will this be the epitaph on our gravestones? Eternal Rest be given Princess Diana!
Fr. George Mc Kenna