Knights have a unique and important role to play at this difficult time.
It stems from our calling as Knights, it guides our work into the future, and it is rooted in our special commitment to Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. As Knights, we bear a certain stamp, or character, given to us by God for the sake of his people. Now more than ever, we need to seek to be better men — better fathers, husbands and brothers — and better Knights. In short, in these difficult times, we need to be better disciples of Jesus Christ.
There are many ways we can do this. But certain characteristics are found in men who not only survive in a crisis, but who also lead in one.
In a time of trial, a Knight of Columbus:
1. Remains rooted in the truth of the faith
2. Steps into the breach
3. Stays at his post
4. Suffers for the good
5. Maintains humble confidence
Let us briefly consider each of these.
Remains rooted in the truth of the faith
As Catholics, we are sure that no matter what may come, God has destined us to be with him forever. This life is not everything. It is not our true home. In fact, it is only a temporary field of battle on which we spend ourselves in love for his service and the service of his people. Once we really see and believe this, we can lead without fear, trusting God and his vision for our life. In order to secure this truth in our minds and our hearts, so much so that we are willing to bet our lives on it, we must spend time in prayer. And this is where leadership starts for Knights — on our knees before our King and Lord.
Steps in the breach
A Knight is not passive in a moment of trial. Like our Lord, we have a clear mission. In every moment we look to fulfill the will of our Father. Perhaps we only see our mission for the given day or the next few days or maybe even only the next hour, but there is always some work for us to do. It is tempting to get fearful and reactive in a time of trial. It is easy to let others lead or to be paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. This is not our stance. Like Father McGivney, we pray for clarity, then we act. There are numerous breaches that will present themselves to us in the next days. Our duty is to step into them with courage.
Stays at his post
Things may worsen and the crisis may continue, but a Knight stays vigilant and steady. There are many enemies of perseverance at our post — from boredom to fear to fatigue to sickness. Whatever the circumstances, though, a Knight runs the race to the end. It does not matter if a man is winning a race five feet from finish line if he then stops. He must complete the task. A Knight loves to the end, serves to the end, prays to the end. So that, when all is said and done, with St. Paul he can say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Suffers for the good
No real service in a time of trial comes without suffering. A Knight does not choose suffering for its own sake, but he is not afraid of it when it comes as a result of taking the right action. Seeking to be a true disciple, he readily chooses to follow Jesus, who said, “If any man would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” He knows that no suffering is meaningless, if it is united to the sufferings of his Lord.
Maintains humble confidence
A Knight does not act on his strength alone. Rather, he puts all his trust in him who is our strength and courage. A Knight acts and prays, convinced that the victory is the Lord’s, that Christ, the Lion of Judah, has conquered sin and death. Thus, he need not fear failure. Our only failure would be to run from the breach or leave our post. Yet even in this, God promises us the grace to stay true.
As we set out on this campaign together, let each Knight make the words of St. John Henry Newman his own:
God has created me to do Him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission … Somehow I am necessary for his purposes, as necessary in my place as an archangel in his — if, indeed, I fail, he can raise another, as he could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work …
Therefore I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am … If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him … He does nothing in vain … He knows what he is about.
I give myself to you. I trust you wholly. You are wiser than I — more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfil your high purposes in me whatever they be — work in and through me. I am born to serve you, to be yours, to be your blind instrument.
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published for a special twice weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline’s monthly archives, click here.
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