If you enjoy being constantly put down, then you can stop reading this column right now. However, if you find that you are put down by co-workers, family and friends and loved I would encourage you to read these words. It’s true: we can sometimes be hit from the left and from the right by words that are less than encouraging; the constant barrage of putdowns and slaps can be tiresome and something psychological takes place: we actually get conditioned into believing what we hear people tell us. The child who is bullied because she/he is not the best player on the team and is told that she/he shouldn’t even bother playing on the team; the employee who considers applying for a promotion and is told by colleagues that he/she shouldn’t even bother because he/she isn’t smart enough or doesn’t perform as well as everyone else in the office. I could go on and on but I think that you get the point. When we are conditioned into believing that we cannot do something we begin to believe it. Saint Paul writes a letter to the Thessalonians reminding the Christian Community that it is their role to always encourage and not put down. We are a community of building up; not tearing down. Read again the words of Saint Paul that should bring us living in the 21st century a bit of encouragement. “Brothers and sisters: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” (2 Thes. 2:16) As we continue to build up the community of the faithful here and now, in Dartmouth, in New Bedford, Westport and beyond we must do so in a spirit of encouragement. We all need to be lifted up now and again, especially when we are down in the dumps which, regretfully, can happen all too often. Today, reach out and offer a word or two of encouragement to someone you know needs to feel the embracing and accepting love of Christ who builds us up and never tears us down.