Bishops, Priests and State Membership,
I'd like to begin with the thought that a treasure map does not become worthless because it is old, nobody finds one and throws it away simply because it's aged and worn. In fact, the value of the treasure map is determined by two main factors: Does the map lead to treasure? And how great is said treasure? Age does not make something less valuable or irrelevant.
I’ve been pondering the message that Matthew Kelly covers in Chapter 24 of his book Rediscovering Jesus called The Gap. We must not let others see the ageing out or growing old of our order as a reason to be dismissed or lessening of our worth and purpose. The Knights of Columbus does not exist just because we’ve simply been around for 140 years. There is a brilliance to why we still exist, and I hope and pray that young people will take the time to see that what was good then can still be good now. And that the mission and values of Blessed Father McGivney can live and thrive in these difficult times.
This Gap that Matthew Kelly is referring to is the gap between truly LIVING the way Jesus intended us to in our actions and words and simply going through the motions of being Catholic. How do we close this gap? How do we help others understand this gap in their own lives? As an example, when we are out recruiting and spreading the words and teaching of Father McGivney, we talk a lot about being Charitable. But upon welcoming new members into our order are we following up with truly teaching them how to be charitable? Or are we just satisfied that we gained a new member? This is so vital to closing this gap and truly becoming the men of our words that we strive to be. The next core value that we stand by is that of Fraternity. But how are we truly expressing and encouraging Fraternity amongst our members? It is crucial that our Grand Knights and other leadership express and demonstrate their Fraternity to lead by example, supporting their brothers to the best of their abilities. Our third value is Unity, and it’s an area we can grow in the most. We, as an organization, must stive to gain more volunteers, as well as, to join our volunteers in building upon the mission of the Knights of Columbus. We must use the teachings of the gospel to inspire others to want to join us in our mission. We can do this by asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”, “What would John the Baptist do?” and “What would Stephen the Martyr do?” and finally, “What can we do?”. This will help us close this gap. Let us reach out to those who may find themselves feeling lost, aimless and without purpose. Let us reach out to our neighbors who feel their lives may be lacking somehow and show them how much more they can gain through the lessons of Father McGivney and our organization.
We are truly so blessed because we, the Knights of Columbus, have exactly that “Treasure Map” to show us how to accomplish this very task. The teachings and lessons of Father McGivney may be from a time long passed, they may appear worn and aged, but they are tried and true. McGivney’s treasure map was started in 1882 and has led us all to call young people to the service of our neighbors, to protect widows and orphans and to guide those looking to grow in their faith by performing acts of charity, by belonging in unity, walking hand in hand, brother with brother. Doing God's work and unifying with our priests, bishops, and our clergymen. To follow the holy orders and to magnify the greatness of being close to and staying close to Jesus through the sacraments through prayer, through almsgiving and service of others. If we lead by example we will, undoubtably, inspire others to join us in our pursuit of living out God’s mission for us in our everyday lives. We can take that old map and we can cling tightly to the charter to change the future as we did in the past. And work to shrink the gap and stand with those looking for the treasures we have found.
Thank you very much Vivat Jesus