"One kind thought, one kind word, one kind deed, one at a time, and the world will be transformed," states Jean Maalouf in this short but poignant little book. The author has written two books on Mother Teresa along with Jesus Laughed and Other Reflections on Being Human. He is convinced that kindness is a virtue that can bring about both societal and personal renewal. It fosters peace, brings deep joy to the heart, and makes us considerate of others.

Here is a spiritual practice that helps put this into focus: "Write on a piece of paper the following affirmation (or one similar that fits your case): 'My kind thoughts transform my world.' Repeat it often. Post it on your refrigerator, Sing it. Share it with a friend. In your mind and heart, imagine a picture of the end result of this affirmation, for yourself and for others. Be that transformed person you want to see in others. Create your own reality mindfully, consciously, and deliberately. Others will certainly grasp your essence and follow your steps."

Kindness in action, according to Maalouf, has a cosmic scope and divine energy. It results in works of mercy and draws us closer to God. But one its most practical applications is in speech. The author has much to say about the dire effects of gossip which can wound others and leave them shattered. Mother Teresa once said: "Violence of the tongue is very real — sharper than any knife, wounding and creating bitterness that only the grace of God can heal." What a challenge it is not to join others when they are ridiculing or condemning another person. Even listening to such cruelty has a toxic effect upon our consciousness. Kind words have just the opposite effect: they are salutary and healing because they offer encouragement and hope to others.

Maalouf concludes that practicing kindness takes strength and perseverance. It is not a weak or sentimental notion. It is God's gift to us, and we are challenged to be kind in as many creative ways as we can imagine. This attitude goes against the grain of the prevailing notion that we should just look out for ourselves and take care of our own. Kindness is a radical practice that constantly connects us to others.