Though summer tends to be a time of vacation for most people, my July and August were largely spent working on The Christophers’ new “Three Minutes a Day” book. As Volume 47 in the series, it continues the tradition started by our founder, Maryknoll Father James Keller, of sharing inspirational stories and reflections for each day of the year, along with an accompanying Scripture quote and short prayer.
As I learned while putting the book together this year, “Three Minutes a Day” is more than an engaging and enjoyable read; it’s also good for you as an individual — and for our culture.
You see, one of the entries in the book highlights a recent study conducted by the University of British Columbia. As reported in The Canadian Press, the study’s lead author, Karl Aquino, found there was a “direct link between a person’s exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world…These things have to be beyond just everyday goodness…We’re talking here about exceptional acts of virtue…acts that require enormous sacrifice, that put people at risk for the sake of others.”
Aquino concludes, “If more attention was devoted to recounting stories of uncommon acts of human virtue, the media could have a quantifiable positive effect on the moral behavior of a significant group of people.”
If you think about it, the results of the study seem like common sense. The types of stories to which we expose ourselves are bound to have an effect on our minds, hearts, and spirits. And while “Three Minutes a Day” includes numerous spiritual reflections and stories about the impact of ordinary kindnesses, it also presents examples of “uncommon acts of human virtue.” Here’s just one of them:It was 1972 when Lou Xiaoying, a woman in China who made a living by recycling trash, found her first abandoned baby lying in a pile of junk on the street. She took the baby girl into her modest home where she and her husband raised her.
Xiaoying told The Daily Mail, “Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness, and I realized I had a real love of caring for children. I realized if we had enough strength to collect garbage, how could we not recycle something as important as human lives.”
Thousands of parents abandon their children in China either due to extreme poverty or the country’s one-child policy. As a result, Xiaoying would find more than 30 abandoned babies in the trash over the next 40 years. She kept four children to raise herself, and found homes with family and friends for the others.
Now 88 and suffering from kidney failure, Xiaoying’s story is finally being widely heard, and she is being declared a hero. Said one supporter, “She is shaming governments, schools, and people who stand by and do nothing. She has no money or power, but she saved children from death.”
That’s the kind of story that makes you say, “Wow!” Can you imagine how much better a place the world would be if more of us acted like Lou Xiaoying?
As I said, that’s just one of the 365 stories you’ll find in Volume 47 of “Three Minutes a Day.” All of us at The Christophers are proud of the book and believe it will bring everyone who reads it some much-needed hope, joy, and spiritual comfort. If you’re interested in buying a copy, you can order at our website.