Aug. 6, 2013, Number 2
[dropcaps] W [/dropcaps]e are taught from the beginning that our life on this earth is a journey: the ultimate goal of which is the transition from this earthly existence to an eternity with our heavenly Father.
How we live this life, how we make this journey, will determine how we spend eternity. Membership in this brotherhood of Knights can help us as we journey toward this heavenly goal.
The Worthy Warden has assured us that everyone present has at least received the first degree of our Order, several of us a good long time ago. I have heard comments that lead me to believe the First Degree ceremony has changed over the years but I believe the lessons taught have remained pretty much the same. As a member of the First Degree Team I have experienced the ceremony several times and each time I learn something new or gain a new insight into what it means to be a Knight. Last May I had the pleasure of observing the second and third major degree ceremony here at Holy Spirit. I was again amazed at the general lack of knowledge we all seem to share about our faith and the Knights. There was nothing presented that we didn’t already know. It was all knowledge that we just haven’t visited for years, in some cases decades. I strongly advise you who are First Degree Knights to study the booklet you were given carefully.
During my own major degree ceremony as the questioning progressed I was glad that I was near the end of the line, actually I was the last candidate to be asked a question. As the questioning progressed along the line of candidates I tried to recall the answers to the questions. I realized that I might get a grade of 60% if this were a graded test. I also remember praying that they would ask me a question that I knew the answer to. They did and I blew the answer anyway.
About half way through the questioning period I realized the purpose of the questions. It was not to embarrass anyone but to impress upon both the candidates and those knights who were there as witnesses, sponsors and guests just how weak our knowledge really is in matters of faith, the church, and our order.
As Knights we are honor bound to defend and support our church against those who would harm or destroy it and the faith it represents.
I suspect that the ceremony has changed over the years but I believe that the lessons taught have remained basically the same. I want you to take a moment and recall your First Degree ceremony. During the ceremony as it is today the Deputy Grand Knight would instruct you that our order is based on four principles – Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. That these four principles are based on precepts taught to us by God through the ministry and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He goes on to explain that the principle of charity is the foundation upon which chivalry and subsequently the primary principle upon which our order is based.
I have always been intrigued with the meanings of words. I have learned that within a language the meanings can change over time. And I have learned that the concept behind one word may not be directly translatable into another language. We have the word “snow” in English. We know it as that white fluffy precipitation that falls on extremely cold days usually in December and January. The Inuit language has more than 20 words for snow; each one describing a specific kind of snow. We have one word – “Love” to describe several different relationships between human beings – the Greeks at the time of Christ had at least four. I bring this up because the word St. Paul used and what has sometimes been translated as “love” in his first letter to the Corinthians, “There are three things that last, faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love,” can also be translated as “charity.”
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He speaks of this same kind of love in the story of the Good Samaritan. And he tells us, just as he told his disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” To “Love thy neighbor” means to have charity toward your neighbor. The Deputy Grand Knight tells us that “Charity does not always mean gifts of money.” The community within which our order was founded was generally poor. He goes on to explain that:
Charity is the kind word that brings relief to a troubled soul.
It is a moment of your time to share with one in distress.
It is a helping hand for one in need.
It is a word of sympathy and It is the kind word to bring solace to the weary and down trodden.
It is the ennobling virtue in the exercise of which lies the essence of true knighthood in our Order.
As a council we do a great job when it comes to the principle of charity. But can we do better in our personal lives? Being a Knight is not just belonging to the Order, and paying your dues, a true Knight puts the principles of our Order into practice in his personal life, his journey toward his ultimate reward.