Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December 2014 Bulletin:
Christmas Fellowship

Lead article from the November 2014 bulletin, online now

Can you believe the fraternal year is half over already? Wow does time fly and our council has been very active yet again. We had a huge hand in building a new rectory for our priests, coat drive and we did a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for a fellow Knight. The youth had the soccer challenge, All Saints party and the St. Nicholas party is coming up. We did overnight adoration for the confirmation students retreat. We marched in 3 parades this summer, and made it through the storms during Albertville City Days. The trees are coming in for the tree lot and we are gearing up to start shortly, which will take us up till Christmas.

Let us not forget to keep Christ in Christmas; we need to help make sure the youth of our community don’t forget that it’s not all about just getting and receiving presents. I have to say our council does an excellent job of being active, visible and a positive influence on the youth of our community. Let us continue to be outspoken about our beliefs and support our faith.

Our next meeting will be an open meeting and we will be bringing back the wine tasting. So don’t forget to invite your spouse or significant other. We will have a shorter business meeting and get you to the sampling. It should be a good time and best of all you won’t have to listen to me fumble through a whole meeting!

Hope you all have a safe and joyful Christmas and a happy New Year!

God Bless,
Jim Wiegers
Grand Knight

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 2014 Bulletin:
Work, Pray, Love

Lead article from the November 2014 bulletin, online now

So this month I took the easy way out and found an article that I thought was appropriate with the elections coming up and  with what has happened the last few years in society.

Work, Pray, Love: Archbishop Chaput's advice for modern Christians

“Religious believers should acknowledge that they are now 'strangers' in U.S. society, in part because of their own failures, but should nevertheless work for renewal and worship God with joy”, said Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

“Our job is to be the healthy cells in a society.  We need to work as long as we can, as hard as we can, to nourish the good that remains in our country – and there’s a deep well of good that does remain – and to encourage the seeds of a renewal that can only come from our young people.”

Archbishop Chaput’s comments came in his Oct. 20 Erasmus Lecture, a webcast event sponsored by First Things Magazine and the Institute on Religion in Public Life.

“We should hope because God loves us.  And that’s more than an empty piety,” the archbishop said.  “The proof of it is sitting right next to you in the friends who believe, as you do, in the goodness that still resides in American life, and who want to fight for it.  In Christian belief, God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The world changed.”

“Our job is to echo his Word by helping our witness become flesh in the structures, moral imagination and bloodstream of the world around us,” he added.  “If that happens, the world will change again.”

The archbishop reflected on the many changes in American society.  The title of his speech, “Strangers in a Strange Land,” alluded to the estrangement of religious believers who “once felt rooted in their communities” but now feel “like strangers, out of place and out of sync in the land of their birth.”

He said “the biggest failure, the biggest sadness, of so many people of my generation, including parents, educators and leaders in the Church, is our failure to pass along our faith in a compelling way to the generation now taking our place.”

“If we want to change the culture of a nation, we need to begin by taking a hard look at the thing we call our own faith.  If we don’t radiate the love of God with passion and courage in the example of our daily lives, nobody else will – least of all the young people who see us most clearly and know us most intimately.”

“But the real problem in America in 2014 isn’t that we believers are foreigners.  It’s that our children and grandchildren aren’t.”

Archbishop Chaput stressed the importance of worship and the adoration of God as more important than action.

“We are a people of worship first, and action second,” he said.  There is no real political action or social service “unless it flows out of the adoration of God.”

“Adoration grounds our whole being in the real reality: the fact that God is God, and man is his creation,” he said.

Christians forget at their peril that they are “in the world but not of the world,” he continued.

Citing the French writer Henri De Lubac, the archbishop said that “when the world worms its way into the life of the Church, the Church becomes not just a caricature of the world, but even worse than the world in her mediocrity and ugliness.”

Archbishop Chaput criticized several other trends in the U.S., where he said freedom is “more and more” constrained.

Freedom has been defined as the maximization of personal choice, especially through modern technology.  Democracy and government has also become an expression of consumer preference, with “very little space for common meaning, classic virtue or shared purpose.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Oct. 6 refusal to hear state appeals defending marriage amendments “creates a tipping point in American public discourse,” he said.  “The dismemberment of any privileged voice that biblical belief once had in our public square is just about complete.”

The archbishop said that the “most disturbing” aspect of the marriage debate was “the destruction of public reason that it accomplished.”

“Emotion and sloganeering drove the argument,” he said.  “People who uphold a traditional moral architecture for sexuality, marriage and family have gone in the space of just 20 years from mainstream conviction to the media equivalent of racists and bigots.”

“This is impressive. It’s also profoundly dishonest and evil, but we need to acknowledge the professional excellence of the marketing that made it happen.”

Hope you enjoyed the article, and God bless,

Jim Wiegers
Grand Knight

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 2014 Bulletin: The Tree of Life

Lead article from the October 2014 bulletin, online now.

A few weeks back I had the pleasure to hang out with two other Knights and a wife of one them.  We had good conversation and some very good home brew.  We somehow got onto the topic of our faith and how we explain it to friends or acquaintances from other denominations.

The one way that caught my attention was by referring to the Tree of Life to help explain why we believe in our faith.  As you probably already know, in Catholic Christianity, the Tree of Life represents the immaculate state of humanity free from corruption and original sin before The Fall.  Pope Benedict XVI has said that "the Cross is the true Tree of Life."  Saint Bonaventure taught that the medicinal fruit of the Tree of Life is Christ Himself.  Saint Albert the Great taught that the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, is the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

I may have missed some of the details so I hope they forgive me if I misquote. But here is how she explained it to others that I found interesting: The roots are from Jesus and his teaching deep in the ground and strong.  Then you have our Catholic Faith like the trunk sturdy and strong firmly attached to the roots.  Attached to the trunk you have branches which would be like other Christian religious like Lutheran, Protestants, which have some of the same beliefs but can become damaged and fall from the trunk.  From those branches you get to the leaves which are like Bob’s church—they pop up and fall off to the ground and other leaves grow in its place, loosely tied to roots, and trunk of the tree.  I thought that was a really good way to explain our faith and how attached we are to the roots, Jesus.

This is a good way to communicate to others without offending them or their religion for as you know to have a tree you need all these parts and we are all striving to know our God the Father better.

God bless,
Jim Wiegers

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
-- Hebrews 12:28-29