Hello Brother Knights,
Well, this has been a tumultuous early autumn already. Our Pope made some statements in his new biography film that left some people shocked and others rejoicing. The elections in the US have done similar things, both here and in the US. COVID’s second wave is hitting us much harder than the first, also leaving many of us shocked and creating division and anger. There seems to be a lot that is happening that is tearing us apart from each other. I don’t really want to focus on any of those things in this letter. There is so much more in any one of these than I can address in a few paragraphs, but I do want us to keep all this division and stress in the back of our minds as I proceed.
Our goal, to quote a famous current-day evangelist, is to become the “best versions of ourselves”. Matthew Kelly has been using this talking point for many years now. So, how do we become the best version of ourselves. In a retreat (virtual) I attended this week, Matthew gave us some advice I like and wish to share with you. First of all, we need to recognize the world we are living in. The big trends currently happening in our lives (like some examples I gave in the first paragraph) are soul destroying. We are dehumanizing each other (think of how you or your friends have spoken about “the other” in any of those scenarios I mentioned above) We need to re-humanize history, our past, our present and our future.
Jesus is the expert with all the guidance we need. It’s written in those four books we call Gospels. We need to remember that we are all Human beings. Not so different from each other. We all have our hopes and dreams. But what are your dreams. How were they formed? What will happen to them? Many of us have already stopped dreaming and are merely existing day-to-day. To regain our hope, our dreams, we need to face our past, our present and our future openly.
Our past needs healing. There isn’t even one person reading this who doesn’t have some hurt or pain from the past that still needs to be healed. We need to remember to make a distinction between want we did in the past and who we were/are. I can look back on many incidents in my past and feel regret over my decisions. There are two ways I can look back on these. Shame or Guilt. They may sound similar, but they are not at all the same. If I look back on some incident and feel shame, I am experiencing what St. Thomas Aquinas called a soul-destroying useless emotion. We are essentially some mistake we did with who we are. That’s shame. Guilt, on the other hand is the acceptance of the wrongs we did. It allows us to recognize where we need to improve without the attached feelings that we are Bad.
Our present is in trouble too. We need to re-engage our present, fully experience the moment. Today, it seems one of the points we are often proud of is how ‘busy’ we are. We have so much to do, we cannot even stop to enjoy the day. Ye shall know them by their fruits. The Fruits of busy is Stressed, Burned out, Feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Tell me, if you had a friend who made you feel all those things would you consider them a true friend? “Busy” is not our friend either. Slow down. Spend time in prayer, pray the rosary, read scriptures, read a good book, or just silently meditate. Actually, that last option is one of the least used prayer methods but also one of the most important ones. Saying the rosary can be a bit like that, in that we repeat the same prayer over and over, as a form of centering prayer. I use it as a meditative prayer itself, allowing me to focus my reflections on specific moments in Christ’s life (Mysteries).
Finally, our future. We need to dream again. We need to realize that With God, we can do lots of things that by our-selves seem impossible. How can we dream? When you dream, don’t prejudge them. Don’t discount them before they even got formed. Like, “I want to go to see Rome”, followed by “Ya but I’ll never be able to afford it or I’m too busy”. Let’s dream, let’s write down all our dreams. It’s amazing how just writing them down can make them seem possible.
Let’s all dream of a future where we get to live life to the fullest, in Christ, with God and with all our family and neighbors together as fellow dreamers. Dream on Brothers and Sisters. Keep that list of dreams and watch. You’ll be amazed at how many of them you will actually be able to reach.