“The popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked to environmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind … Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’”
~Pope Francis, standing up for the poor and the environment, June 2013
I wish to begin by wishing each of you, my Brothers, your families, your friends and the Greater Community in which we serve, a very Happy New Year.
As I searched for the words I wanted to write, in my first message of the New Year, I found myself procrastinating to get the job done. It seemed my focus was on my personal needs and desires, thus forgetting about the mandate to serve each of you as you have called me to do.
Advent gave us time to prepare for that glorious event celebrating the birth of Jesus. It soon dawned on me what I needed to say as Christmas Eve approached. On that day, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting briefly with a couple of our widows. I also took time to visit a Brother Knight (who is ill) and his wife. These visits and the reactions I received soon gave me the focus I needed.
As the New Year confronts us we must dust ourselves off to refocus what our mission as Knights is to be. Are we to continue helping each of our selected Charities through monetary donations? Or are we to find other ways of reaching out to those Charities when money falls short? What I see is a mix of both areas.
Hard decisions are to be made as approval of our annual operating budget must be reviewed and passed by the general membership in the coming months. The world we live in continues to become more challenging, as we try very hard to accomplish the annual events and fundraisers to support the budget plan. I put a challenge and call out to each of you to help us in this task. Making a phone call, sending an e-mail, or even attending the January/February meetings, with a new idea would be a great gift you could give to our Council, our mandate and most importantly the rewards of your own contribution.
This may also be time for us to re-focus on my goal of last summer. If you recall I wanted to get out as a membership and help those in need within our community by giving of our time. I continue to express the rewards of doing this. Charity is more than raising money; it is getting dirty to help others. Please consider this when you are next called on to drive that person to an appointment, clear a walkway, plant a garden or even just sit and talk with that lonely, ill person. Giving in this way is not an easy venture. I will be the first to attest to that. It requires that we step away from our comfort zone and expose our vulnerability. Remember mostly that this is what God asks of us.
As mentioned by Pope Francis above, we must not allow the money to drive our success in fulfilling our mandate. Let us remember that by doing good deeds, and allowing our voice to be heard, will in fact reap the needed rewards to maintain our goals. Let us all not allow the money to rule. Instead let it be one of the many tools in our ‘repair box’.
Again, I wish each and every one of you and your families a Very Happy New Year!