Friday, December 21, 2012

January 2013 Grand Knight's Article: Pray For All Who Need Our Prayers

Grand Knight's message from the January 2013 bulletin:

On Monday, Dec. 10, I was heading into the office late in the morning, after digging us out from the first snow storm of the season. Then I received the most unfortunate call from the office. It was a coworker who was calling, and who informed me that a long-time college mentor and friend had suddenly passed away the day before while snowblowing his driveway. Scott Eskola had, for some reason, taken me under his wing and helped me grow professionally in the industry in which I work. His untimely death at the age of 55 has turned the world of his 19 -year-old and 22-year-old daughters upside-down, I am sure. His ability to make anyone around him laugh instantly will be missed.

 On my way home from his funeral I turned on the radio to listen to Christmas music, only to find out the horrific news of the latest school shooting in which 26 were killed (20 of them young children). I do not pretend to have insight as to what must be going on in the minds of the families of this tragedy. I certainly don’t have the qualifications to try and offer to you words on the meaning of times of such loss.

I simply ask you, in the time you would normal spending reading this article, to put down the bulletin and pray for the families in Connecticut whose world has been turned upside down. Pray for Scotty and his wife and young daughters who lost their father too soon. Take a minute to remember the ways in which God has blessed you and to pray for those who need prayers.

These are the only thoughts that come to mind for me as I consider what it must be like for parents sending their beautiful first- or second-graders off to school, only to discover that young child will never come home again.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 2012 Grand Knight's Article: A New Beginning

Grand Knight's message from the December 2012 bulletin:

“Hail, Full of Grace” — Luke 1:28 

I promised myself this article would not be about the election. Personally, I feel the elections support a belief many of us felt: that our culture is sliding further from a just society—further and further into an unjust society. Many issues we hold in our hearts to be just and true were defeated. And what is important is seen as unimportant in our society.

Before I move on to the man point of this article, I feel it essential to recognize the courageous position the laity, priests and bishops took in speaking up on issues of morality. I have been Catholic for 18 years — and in the span of 2,000 years, that’s not much. However, I can say that in my short life as a Catholic, never before have I seen the Church defend her teachings so concretely. The next time you see one of our clerics, thank them for their bold proclamation of the truth. I am sure those who do not agree with their position on issues are more than happy to let them know what they think.

John Paul the Great, at the beginning of his pontificate, proclaimed “Do not be afraid.” In light of very uncertain times, Blessed John Paul always seemed to lead us with great joy and hope. The perfect response to poll results we do not like can be found in scripture:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent forth from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this may be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God, And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” — Luke 1:26-31
In the Incarnation, hope is never lost. In fact, we shall, in the words of John Paul II, “fear not.” In the great mystery of the Incarnation, we place all of our hope and joy in the victory yet to come. We look forward with joy to Christmas morning and hope for the fulfillment of time when heaven and earth are united for eternity. The season of advent helps refocus our thoughts of things of this world, and direct them to what really matters, the supernatural world. It helps us to remember that while we must live in this world, we are intended for another. We should see this season as a time to focus and prepare on the greatest gift ever — Christmas morning, and ultimately our fulfillment with God at the end of time. In light of this truth, this great joy, our struggles here begin to be put into place. And while even greater persecution shall come to us, our hope is not lost. In fact, it can become a cause for joy. For in times of great persecution, God always raises up great saints to help guide Mother Church. He is calling each of us to become the saint we were intended to be. We are placed in a society in which we will be given plenty of opportunity to die to self for Christ.

The Incarnation is God’s response to darkness. For He sent his son, the “Light of the World,” to illuminate our world, and so this light overcomes all troubles we may have.

In light of this great truth, we begin to move forward with hope. Our mission is to spread hope this Advent and to let those who may think differently that we are not defeated, but rather, rejuvenated in Christ. So in Advent, we hope in the possibilities of a new beginning.

Fraternally In Christ,
Mike Engel
Grand Knight, Council 4174

 P.S. I apologize that this article had more to do with the election than I had hoped!