Thursday, February 21, 2013

Give Blood to Save Lives!

The Knights of Columbus Council 4174 is hosting a Memorial Blood Centers blood drive on Saturday, March 16, from 8:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church, 11300 Frankfort Parkway NE, in St. Michael. Your donation could help up to three people in need!

Sign up at and enter the sponsor code 3912. Spots fill up fast, so don't delay!

March 2013 Grand Knight's Message: To Imitate Christ

Grand Knight's article from the March 2013 bulletin:

“And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.”
— Matthew 4:3

I wish I could say that my understanding of fatherhood with my   first child—Katelyn, now almost 13—was the same as when our youngest child, Peter, was born nearly two years ago. Maybe at the age of 40, I understand truly how fast they grow up. Certainly, faith has changed in our lives, and I am more grateful for the gift of my children. In either case, I am more aware of my role as father to help shape the lives of my children.  To a 22-month-old boy, I have come to see, Daddy is the king of the universe. Every action I do is carefully examined and repeated by son. Every household choir involving a hammer, screw gun, or tape measure is met with tiny hands trying to hammer, screw, or measure. For to my son, he shows his love and admiration for his father through this imitation of what I do.

I watch in amazement every time he grabs my hand and walks me over to his tractor to play “fixit” with him or drive little tractors across the carpet. His response to love is to imitate the one he loves. His love is expressed back to me through his imitation of what I do. In much the same way, we witness to God’s love in our imitation of the one who loves us perfectly.

I recently witnessed an awkward exchange between coworkers: one Catholic and one Lutheran. It was that all too frequent exchange in which my Lutheran coworker jokingly stated how thankful she was to be Lutheran so she didn’t have to do any of that fasting or giving up of meat. Like all too many Catholics, my good friend the Catholic had no real response, and ended up trying to make a joke out of it.

Christ is THE example for us to imitate. Matthew 4:3 is just one verse that clearly states Christ fasted. Christ went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights and fasted. This alone is all the reason we need to  truly embrace our Lenten journey. Scripture states it, and Christ did it.  We need no more reason to deny self and to confidently proclaim that  to others. When we enter Lent in a disposition to deny ourselves in    response to Christ love, we are saying to God, you are worth the inconvenience.  We are showing God our love for him as my son Peter shows his love for me.

Christ is also THE supreme teacher. Before his public ministry began, Christ entered the desert. He teaches us through his word, and his actions. We can thus have confidence that this time of self-denial will bring about spiritual growth within us. It will help prepare us to   witness to the world as Christ witnessed to the world.  For in Matthew 4:3, the ending of the verse states “and afterward he was hungry.”

What could Christ be hunger for? Well, clearly he would have been physically hungry. Two thousand years ago, fasting would not have meant leaving the fries out of the Happy Meal. However, scripture is speaking to a deeper hunger. Christ hungered and thirsted for the souls of others. Christ does nothing that he doesn’t want us to follow. He wants us to hunger and thirst for souls. As his perfect love was and is the very essence of total self-denial, we to can learn to love more perfectly when our love becomes self-sacrificing. Before we can give totally, we must learn to die to self in little ways. Study the lives of the saints; they all learned to die to self. Lent is essential for our spiritual growth, so we can become what God envisions us to be.

Lent has not always been my favorite of liturgical seasons. I spent many years as a Catholic not embracing the opportunity to grow in virtue and imitate the one we should love above all.  Like many Catholics, Lent was a time I grudgingly kind of followed the “silly tradition” us Catholics do. Not surprisingly, I cannot say Lent brought about any kind of spiritual growth in my life.  Lent was a waste of 40 days and nights in my life       because I did not want to unify myself with Christ’s   suffering, and thus denied myself God’s graces. There is a reason Mother Church invites us to a season of self-denial. She wants us to grow in holiness. She wants us to grow closer to God, and she knows sometimes the very best way to show love is through imitation of the ones we love.

I ask you to consider your Lenten resolution. Do you see the rest of Lent as one of the very best opportunities to show your love for Christ and to grow closer to Him?  Have you set any type of Lenten resolutions that really take some self-denial?  Have you stopped ordering the super-sized extra value meal for the regular-sized one or have you decided to go hungry just a little?  If your answer is no, then I invite you to reconsider. I pray the rest of your Lenten journey brings you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sincerely in Christ,
Mike Engel
Grand Knight