A trial and a blessing

Hello Brother Knights.

Well, March is here, and we have come full circle on COVID-19. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but it’s still a long tunnel. This year has been both a trial and a blessing. Everybody knows the trials this year has presented, isolation at home, loss of security, missing friends and family, tired of seeing the inside walls or our own little homes. But there is also great blessing in our trials. We have seen people rally to help others all over the place. We have established a new live-stream capability at our masses. This will help many shut-ins to still attend mass, long after we stop needing to isolate because of COVID. Baptisms and Funerals can now be attended by far away relatives and friends who otherwise could not be here with us.

Our Council 9652, has risen to the challenge and we have not missed a meeting this year but we did have to switch quickly to doing our meetings virtually. Our on-line zoom meetings have been a lot of fun and a great relief from the monotony of staring at our own four walls. It has been so good to see the faces of friends, brother knights, fellow social-distancers. We have shared many a laugh and gotten serious work done too. I am blessed to be a member of such a good council. Our meetings are still at the usual times, Last Tuesday of the month is our Planning meeting, where we set the agenda and work through the details for the coming general meeting, the first Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are at 7:00 pm on the respective Tuesdays and both can be found on Zoom using the Meeting ID: 948 3988 0913 and Passcode: 834615. If you don’t have a computer, tablet or smart-phone, you can call into the meeting using 1 613 209 3054. Then, you can type in the same Meeting ID and passcode and you will be able to join into our discussions, our work and our fun.

This lent, have you made it to confession? I know that sometimes it may feel like a chore and there are times when I shy away from confession, particularly when I have something to confess that I’m particularly not proud of. I have been able to attend about once a month for the past while and It has been such a relief each time I do. This past confession, Fr Shawn caught me off guard. I was leading up to confession a certain sin and I said something like “I’m feeling pretty bummed right now…”. He interrupted me and said (with a humorous tone in his voice). “You know that’s a sin too!” Great! I had not even started my confessions and I had already ‘fessed up to another sin I didn’t even realize was one. Fr. Shawn explained that despair means we are not trusting in the Lord. It means we don’t have faith in those moments. We read about Abraham in the readings on the Second Sunday of Lent. Abraham must have had some internal misgivings when he led his only son Isaac to the high mountain because he had been told to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. What kind of thoughts went through his head? Yet, despite the almost inevitable misgivings about the mission, he headed out with his son, made the altar and was fully prepared to carry it out, Knowing that somehow, God would make it right. Are we so sure that God can make things right for us? Are we willing to have faith in the Lord that will sustain us in our times of doubt and fears. This year has certainly put that kind of faith to the test for me. Yet, I know God is here with me now. I know he will be there for you all too.

God bless everyone and Good spring (Lent).

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

God is with you

Dear Brother Knights,

We are rapidly approaching the end of the calendar year and what a year it has been. There are so many ways in which we are hoping next year will be a better one. Let’s make sure that it is better spiritually for us as well as all the other ways we want 2021 to be better. The Lord loves us and wants us to love him as well. As we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

With that love and grace from God in our hearts, we can do anything. We are tasked with becoming the ‘movers and shakers’ in our world. We often think that the only things that get done are initiated by the “big impersonal governments” or by those un-named “They”, who do things. It’s the small little actions of the world that make the biggest changed in our world. Saint Theresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Theresa) didn’t start out as some high-powered person with all the right contacts. She was a member of the Sisters of Loreta, in Ireland and was quite happy in her life there. It was on one of her missionary trips that she first heard the call to ministry to the poor. And, like we heard of Mary at the annunciation, she said yes to God’s call. That yes, made all the difference.

Are you ready to say “Yes” to God? He may not be calling you to give your life to the poor like St Mother Theresa but until you say Yes, you won’t know, will you? Most of us can say “Yes” to god every day in little things that don’t turn out to be global news, but which can make a huge difference to individuals around us. Does your spouse need your attention? Is a co-worker feeling a need? Does a parishioner feel alone or distant from God and others? When you are presented with these situations, that may be God giving you an opportunity to say “Yes” to a need He is presenting to you. Don’t be afraid. God is with you. He is waiting for you, just as we are waiting for him in this season of advent.

On another note, I want to bring a few things to your attention.

There will be a new format for our meetings going forward. We will discuss this and implement the new format in the new year. There are not too many big changes, but I’ll go over them in January with the members.

This month, instead of an executive meeting on the last Tuesday of the month, we will have a Zoom social. Join us on Zoom or by phone, Tuesday, December 29 at 7:00 pm for a gathering of friends and family (all are welcome). Do you have a talent you want to share? Can you sing a song? Can you tell a story? Are you good at jokes? Let me know and I’ll make sure you get your moment to share your talent with the rest of us. So, rosin up that bow, tune that guitar, warm up your singing voice (or your story-telling voice), dig out those dancing shoes. Let’s all share in the joy of the Season of Christmas this year virtually.

I will send the link next week by email to all the knights so you don’t have to type in all those letters and numbers. Or you can just open up zoom, click “Join a meeting” and enter the meeting id and passcode.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Let’s all dream

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.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Questions, Blessings and Awe

Dear Brother Knights,

This has been a difficult few months for us all. There have been so many adjustments and changes to our lives as a result of COVID-19. We certainly would never have believed it if someone had told us last September that we would have spent half the next year in our own houses. As we begin to peek out from hiding, we are encountering a rise in the number of cases that threatens to drive us back into our cubbies. What are we to make of all this? We did try a few ways to get together. We had some of our meetings by zoom to continue to encounter each other, at least visually and eventually graduated to hybrid meeting whereby some people came to my back yard (with social distancing) and others joined by zoom. It was largely a success in that we were able to meet but Still there were quite a few people shy at coming out in public again. And, I don’t blame them for their concern.

In all this, How does God fit in? What are we to make of all this death and disease? Has God abandoned us? Is this a plague from God for having sinned (and boy have we sinned as a people), or at least, a message from God telling us to “Straighten up” and get our act together? A recent survey by Chicago School of Divinity suggested that 1/3 of Catholics believe that and nearly half of Evangelicals.

It’s a common question we have been asking in one form or another for millenia. It’s the question of Suffering. Natural suffering has confounded us since the dawn of time. Why is it here? Why are we as a people facing this tribulation? In Numbers, Chapter 21, we read of the case of the Israelites griping against the Lord and suddenly they find they are being invaded by serpents, who bite them and they die. At God’s instruction Moses fashioned a bronze Serpent and put it on a staff.

Symbol of Healing

Anyone who was bitten would look on it and live. We still use that same symbol in our medical profession as a symbol of healing.

So, God does allow us to encounter suffering. He may even will it when we are not following His way. But, is this what is happening now? Unfortunately, we may never know ourselves. In the generations to come, revelation may indeed show our descendants that we were being punished but I believe this Suffering is not the hand of God, that he is not killing his people for being sinners. I believe it’s up to us to use this opportunity God has given to us to change ourselves and to come to recognise the ways we have been living that are unhealthy, both physically and spiritually.

For example, we are now looking at how our stores and our church is being cleaned fastidiously to prevent the spread of the contagion. How we are all keeping watch over where we put our hands and how long it’s been since we last sanitized or washed them. We are wearing masks to protect others (evidence shows that’s the biggest effect, the protection of others from us, not the protection of us from others.) We are recognising ways that we may never be the same again and hopefully we will be a safer and healthier society for it.

We are also seeing dramatic changes to our spiritual lives as well. Now, here is our biggest opportunity to see a positive outcome. Many are longing for the Eucharist, Treasuring the hope of being able to return to Church and receive Holy Communion once again. Yet, how many of us took it for granted and for how many years? How many of us took Mass for granted, and for that matter God? Suddenly, we are confronted with the realization that these things are not mundane, to be just expected. No longer can we just ‘show up’ on Sunday and get our fix for the week. We must seek out ways to gather in the Lord, seek out the means to attend confession and to participate in Mass.

Many of us have been able to attend online. Thanks to the super efforts of a few dedicated people, we have been able to feel some of that togetherness in the chat alongside the video screen. How I loved to see the Baker wish me a blessed Sunday or see prayers we had sent in by chat actually being pronounced on the altar! The few times I have been blessed to actually attend Mass these past 6 months left me with a profound sense of relief and awe at receiving the Eucharist. That first time, after Cynthia and I had sung for one of the virtual masses, Father Amato, told us we could come to the altar and carefully slide one host off the patten and take it. It was awe inspiring. I was almost in tears of joy. How many times in the past have we felt so truly grateful for the ability to receive? To pray with others? To listen to the homilist in person? There are so many blessings I have been taking for granted for so long. I think it will be an equally long time before I ever do again. How about you?

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Moving Beyond

Dear Brother Knights,

I seem to have caused quite the controversy among some of our brothers when I penned a letter to our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pointing out this his politicizing of our order is not a good thing. I ask forgiveness for inadvertently dragging you all into this fracas, especially those of you who support Mr. Anderson’s (and Trump’s) actions and who clearly did not appreciate my letter. I wish to move beyond this controversy and not bring it up again.

This month, I have been struck with the readings of the day. Now, in Ordinary time, we have seen a change in tone from the last few weeks of the Easter season, which coincided so much with our early days of lock-down. We are getting used to this new normal and things like standing 2 m behind someone, stepping back so someone else can pass without brushing too closely and wearing a mask in public. The readings have shifted as well. They are reflecting things we can relate to our every-day, normal lives.

On Sunday 28 June, we saw a Jesus telling us “Whoever loves his Father or Mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me… Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.” Paul tells us “We who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.”

Those readings sound hard and confusing. How do I not love my own family? Does this mean I should forsake them and turn only to God? When I was baptized, was I then to avoid all things that seem to give life to me, food, drink, friends, And only accept suffering and death? Not in my reading of things.

The psalm refrain says “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”. We do have to die to ourselves and our own selfish natures. We do need to give up relying exclusively on the comforts of home, family, life itself so we can rely instead on Jesus’s love and support. By relying on Jesus, we can still love our families, but now our love will be strengthened by Christ’s love with us. Our now unselfish love will be more fulfilling, more rich than what we could give without Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell us not to love our Mother or Father or son or daughter. He told us to love him first. Then we could love others much more powerfully than we could otherwise.

If we are truly loving Jesus, then our love will not be one that seeks return. We will not be loving only those who might return that love to us. We will not be showing love solely for our own benefit. We will be more like the Centurion in Saturday’s (Gospel MT 8:8), who said those famous words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed”. My favorite line in the whole of the liturgy of the Mass is based on that quote.

We are to act and live as if we are unworthy. And, without Jesus, we are unworthy. Through loving Him, we are raised up to become worthy to enter Heaven, worthy to enter into the Life of Jesus himself. We are to show the faith of the leper, who approached Jesus and said “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean” (MT 8:2).

When we go to confession next time, we need to think… What ways do I seek to further my own glory? What ways do I only love those who will show me love? What ways do I not humble myself and accept the Graces of God first? Our daily lives are filled with moments where we will need to choose. Will we choose to follow God’s will? Or, will we choose to do what we want?

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

ABC. How easy is that?

Sunday 19th April was Divine Mercy Sunday, a day to celebrate, instituted by Pope Saint John Paul II. Sister (Saint) Faustina of Poland was inspired by God to deliver the message of divine mercy to us all and was also inspired to paint the, now famous image of Divine Mercy I have included here. The message of Divine Mercy is quite simple and three-fold:

• Ask for his Mercy
• Be merciful to others
• Completely trust in Him.

ABC. How easy is that? That last one is perhaps the hardest for us to implement, especially in this time of COVID-19 self-isolation. We are all feeling cooped up and perhaps even imprisoned in our own homes. How can what we are going through be related to divine mercy? Shouldn’t God, if he was showing us mercy have eliminated this coronavirus before it started killing so many people? Why is he letting us all suffer like this?

Those are tough questions and I think we need to go back to history to see how these kinds of queries played out before. In the early days of St. Faustina, there was not even an actual country called Poland. It had been wiped off the face of the earth in the 19th century, as it had also been erased in the 18th century for a while as well. St. Faustina watched several poor attempts at independence rise and get crushed. She saw a new Poland rise from the ashes of WWI, only to become the first country consumed by Hitler in WWII. Yet, It was this poor, 3rd grade educated woman from war-torn Poland whom God inspired to write about his Divine Mercies and who painted this image of Christ’s heart pouring out blood and water in a showering of Mercy.

We may be going through tough times but it’s in these tough times when we most often come to recognize that we cannot manage on our own but that we need to rely on God’s mercy. “Jesus, I Trust in You”. Those words are the hardest ones to put into action sometimes. Now, more than ever, we need to do just that, trust in Jesus.

Part of the divine mercies comes through our own actions, inspired by God. How are we doing at following the inspiration Our Lord offers to us? The Knights of Columbus are offering some suggestions in their “Leave no neighbour behind” campaign (http://kofc.org). We need to refocus our efforts these days to making sure that our brother Knights, families, and neighbors are all taken care of. There is so much uncertainty and potentially so much need now, because of our unprecedented situation. Our Council has been forced to suspend or outright cancel most of the remaining activities we were planning for the coming year. The Golf tournament is cancelled, Steak bbq, all meetings and any gatherings of our brothers for meetings or otherwise are on hold for the foreseeable future. We, as a council, have decided to continue to offer our support to the St. Vincent de Paul society for their outreach program of feeding the poor and the homeless. But even that is now in peril. The Golf tournament was to be our big fund-raising even this year and it was to be done on their behalf as our charity partners for this year. Their expenses have not disappeared as a result of self-isolation, it may have increased in fact but their revenue has not gone up as fund-raising possibilities have dried up. We are encouraging our brother knights to offer individual support to St. Vincent de Paul (http://www.svdpkingston.com/) in place of the monies we might otherwise have donated to things like the golf tourney. They need our support. Additionally, as is proposed in the Knights Leave no Neighbor Behind campaign, we should be looking out for our neighbors. Some of us may be in need of help, others are able to offer that help. Either way, let us know. If you know a neighbor who needs help but you are unable to directly support them, let us know. Perhaps we can help. If you’re fit and healthy, let us know. We can use your help.

Cheers and May God, in his infinite mercy, bless you all.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Note: The image above is a representation of the first image of Merciful Jesus painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski in co-operation with Sister Faustina in 1934.

A new Lenten question

Brother Knights,

We are at the beginning of the Lenten season and the traditional question we ask and are asked is “What are you giving up for Lent?” Lent is the season of preparation for Easter, when we, by our actions and prayers, come to realize how much grace and love God pours out on us. So, to help prepare us, we often ‘give up’ something, chocolate, TV, Music, meat on Fridays. These are all good things and they can help us prepare for the glorious resurrection feast when we celebrate with abundance.

The contrast is striking if we observe the fasting and penance of Lent faithfully. But, I think James has a point I would like to highlight.

James 4:24,26 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And in the same way, … For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.:

James is telling us that we need more than simply saying “I believe” if we expect to be saved. We need to demonstrate our faith by our works.

James 4:16 I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

I propose a new Lenten question. “What are you going to do extra to draw closer to God?” What new task can you take up this Lent by which you may show your faith? Not just show but grow. For by working in faith, we can in fact increase in faith as well. Saying “I believe” is good but doing something because “I believe” will strengthen our own commitment to that faith and allow us to grow in faith as our lives become steeped in Christ in our prayers and in our actions as well.

So, what can we do extra that will help us grow in our faith?

We could take up a new study. I have chosen to do some more learning on the meaning behind our Catholic Faith. I want to be able to explain our faith to others who challenge and question my almost daily in my life and work outside the church. I want to be able to encourage others to come to the faith or to come back to our faith, who may have left for one or another reason. I want to learn more about what it means to be Catholic. I have chosen a book “Salvation: What every Catholic should Know” by Michael Patrick Barber. I am looking forward to learning more about my own faith.

There are many other resources for learning something new this Season. The web site/ministry service Dynamic Catholic is offering a daily video reflection you can have delivered to your inbox every morning. It is a wonderful way to take a few minutes each day and grow in your prayer life.

We are Knights of Columbus. We can become more involved in our own council, parish and community. There are lots of opportunities to put in some ‘action’ that will enhance our faith. The Knights are a great group of guys who are deeply faithful and spiritual. Working with my Brother Knights over the years has afforded me many opportunities to grow in faith and to experience God’s love through these men. I am a better Husband, a better Christian, a better man, because I am doing work with these men. Come see what you can do. Come to Demonstrate your faith, as James Challenges us all, with our works.

I pray you all find a way to grow in your own faith and show to the world the strength of God’s Love for you and for all of us with your works. I pray you have a faith-full Lent so that you can rise with Christ in a Glorious Easter season to come.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Happy New Year!

Fellow Brother Knights. I wish you all a Happy New Year! OK, check that…. I really mean to say, “I’ll be praying for you all this New Year that you will become closer to God and that His blessings flow abundantly to you”. I’ll leave the ‘wishes’ for fairy tales and Disney movies. The Second reading we heard in Mass today was from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. It tells us that we have heard of God’s grace through revelation. Paul takes it as his personal responsibility to pass that knowledge on to others, the Church in Ephesus in particular but in general to the whole world. We too now know that all peoples (the gentiles too) are “coheirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus”. That means we too have to go spread the word to others, both in our words and actions.

The Church has taken that role onto itself over the centuries largely as a consequence of history. In times of mass conversions, where whole countries were ‘converted’, the citizens often didn’t have much actual knowledge of the religion they were following. They were simply following it because everyone else did too. Only the educated and knowledgeable people actually had the time and expertise to study and know what they were believing in. As a result, it was often up to the Church to re-educate the faithful on the true practice of Catholicism. Many times, incorrect teachings had to be weeded out. Many of those incorrect teachings came from outside the Church and influenced how people believed within the Church. Many heresies had to be weeded out over time. Today is no different.

I believe that one of today’s greatest heresies is the belief that the “Church” will maintain our faith for us, that we have only to attend mass weekly (if that often) and all will go well. Unfortunately, that is wishful thinking again and holds no more water than Cinderella expecting some woman she never met before to give her a chance to go to the ball. To be a Christian, and a Catholic, we need to practice. I remind you that I have al-ready told you that thinking that we only need to go to church once a week is wishful thinking. It will not, in and of itself, save us. In fact, I believe this is the root of what is amounting to the greatest crisis our church has faced in a very long time. Our parent’s generation were likely the last generation that could just count on the Church to do these things for us. People had limited access to the greater world and competing messages from other sources didn’t influence us the way we are not inundated with information from all sides. They just knew that their kids would be taught ‘the faith’ and that they would follow the ways of the Church. Yet, maybe not even then… In my family, I’m the only one who still is practicing. My parents were deeply religious and very faith filled, yet I’m the only one left. My brothers, one by one, bought into the idea, I think, that they only needed to ‘go to church’ and then that became old and they stopped.

I think the Devil’s greatest ploy to destroy our faith it to make us believe that we don’t have to do anything. That the Church will do it all for us. Our Parish, unfortunately, is declining because of this belief. We still have a very active parish and a very active Knights of Columbus council, but both the parish and the Knights are in essentially a holding pattern. By that, I mean that we are merely doing the same things with the same people over and over again. But those people all have a limit. Their ability to keep on doing what they do is not infinite. As one member steps down from their duties, few step up to replace them. Our numbers of active members are dropping rapidly now, as some of the members get older and can no longer participate as they once did. In our parish, we see many gray heads in the pews but fewer and fewer children and young families. We cannot maintain this holding pattern any longer. We need to step up and realize that our full participation in the faith life of our parish and our Knights of Columbus council is absolutely necessary if we expect to be able to reap the rewards of their continued works. Please, brother knights, especially if you are thinking you don’t have anything to contribute or if you are thinking there’s somebody already doing ‘that’. I bet a lot of those “somebodies” would gladly welcome the help or even would welcome having someone else take over. We need you all to participate fully in our council to keep it functioning. We need you all to help bring new young members into the fold so they can eventually take over from us. To put it bluntly, We need your help. We cannot just maintain. We must grow.

I hope you can make greater participation in your Church, your KofC Council, your faith life in general the first and most important New Year’s resolution this year. I pray you all have a great and faith-filled new year and that you all find deep and lasting joy in actively participating in our Church, Parish and Council.

In Christ,
Grand Knight Michael

Be vigilant! Be prepared! The Lord is coming, when you least expect it!

If you have been keeping up with the daily readings, you will notice a common theme that keeps cropping up. Be vigilant! Be prepared! The Lord is coming, when you least expect it! We get these readings each year at this time of year as we approach the end of the Liturgical Calendar, we get into “End Times” readings. Are you ready for the coming of Christ in your life? In Paul’s letter to the Romans, 7:19 “For I for I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing”. This is my constant fight. Daily, I find that I have failed yet again to live a perfect life, as Christ wants us to live. Daily, I find myself lacking in my own abilities to be that perfect Christian, despite my desire to be perfect. Jesus challenges us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matt 5:48 all the while he knows that we cannot live up to that perfection by ourselves. We are not ready to receive Christ into our lives.

Christ within us can strengthen us through the Holy Spirit to live that perfect life but only if we allow ourselves to be led by him. Are you willing to allow Christ into your life? It may cost you something that is precious to you at the moment. Perhaps it will cost you an hour a day of time you would otherwise dedicate to watching TV or looking at your Cell phone. Perhaps it means you allow yourself to be led to volunteer your time and energy in places you would not otherwise have considered. I think first, it means admitting to ourselves that we are not doing a very good job of being perfect when we rely only on ourselves. Our relationships suffer, our work can suffer, our own self image and emotions can suffer when we allow our fleshly urges to guide us.

We are approaching the end of the year now and we need to remember that to rely on God, we first must stop trying to rely on ourselves. But, Here’s the thing. God has given us the greatest gift of all. He gave us the freedom to choose. We have the freedom to decide to go it alone, all by ourselves, but we also have the freedom to choose to empty our-selves of our emotionally charged, selfish motivations and allow Him to enter us and guide us. I know that each of us can offer up a prayer now to promise God our hearts and lives. Many Christians do this regularly. An Ignatian practice involves a nightly examen. A daily stock-taking of our lives, before we have forgotten what happened that day. Each night, before we’re too sleepy, we need to take a few minutes to do our nightly examen. The Jesuits do their examen twice a day, at noon and again at night. I have found over the months of doing these that I often cannot even recall what I did that morning so I understand how twice daily might be a good idea but at least once, as a part of your nightly preparations before heading off to bed (not after you get into bed because by then you will be too sleepy to complete it) you might consider performing an examen. Here is a brief outline of how to do a nightly examen.

  • Ponder God’s presence in your life right there and then. Let the day’s events pass through your mind, both the good and the bad.
  • Take time to count all the various blessings you received through the day. Did the sun shine? Did someone smile at you? Did you eat well today? Did you have success in any of your endeavors, at work or at home? Make sure you bask in the awareness of all that God did for you today.
  • Go back through your day again, this time recalling all the times when you did not accept the graces God was offering. When did you choose to follow your fleshly desires rather than doing His will? When did you not smile at someone and say “Hi!”. Did you speak poorly of someone? Did you lust after someone or something, even if only in your heart? Did you waste time watching a screen (big or small) when you could have been doing something productive?
  • Now, resolve and ask the Lord to help you with your resolution to not do the same sins again tomorrow. Ask the Lord to let you make a perfect contrition and give you the graces you will need to be better tomorrow.
  • Finally, end your time in joy and hope, recognizing that God will continue to bless you with his presence, his Grace and will continuously be offering to guide you out of your sin and into a loving relationship with Him and others, if you allow him to.
  • God bless and sleep well, knowing you are once again justified in your relationship with God.

    Once you have become familiar with doing a nightly examen, you will also become more aware of why you need to partake in the sacrament of reconciliation, something which was instituted by Christ himself Matt 16:19 “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The Church has this sacrament so that we can partake and hear those words “Go in peace, your sins are forgiven”. This wonderful gift of knowing Christ himself, through the priest has spoken forgiveness to us is something we should partake in joyfully on a regular basis. The church wants us to partake at least twice a year but recommends we do it monthly. When is the last time you went to ‘confession’? For me, it was a few weeks now and I am feeling the need to go once again. The Pope goes every week to his confessor. If he needs to go weekly, then clearly, you and I, sinners, need to go at least that often too.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Welcome Brothers to a new season

Welcome Brothers to a new season. Summer is unofficially over with the coming of Labor Day weekend, School is starting, the nights are getting cooler and we are looking at a the Autumn racing towards us. There are many things in life that signal a change in our routines, birth of a new child, death of a family member, a new age-related ache we just noticed. How many of us recognize when God is calling us to a new life? How many of us are able to see God in our day-to-day events, in the people we meet, in our own family? As most of you know, Cynthia and I have three Children, Matthew, Sean and Amy and each of them is embarking on a new life, starting now. Matt just left, heading back to Western university to finish up his Degree, Sean, who just finished this spring is hoping for a call back on one of the applications he has submitted for a new job and Amy is heading off to start Grade 12. Wow, I distinctly remember being the young couple in the parish with a 20 month-old Matthew and a brand-new baby (Sean). Now, I’m just past my 62nd Birthday and all pretenses at being a young man, given my many aches and pains, are gone.

OK God, No Fair! I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t ready! I clearly missed that one. What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to behave? In the Sunday Gospel for 22nd Sunday (Sept. 1), we read a few things about how we should be living. In the First reading, Sirac 3:17 I read “My child, conduct your affairs with humility”. In the psalm (ps: 68), I read “The Father of orphans and the defender of widows is God”. The second reading tells us to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven and finally, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us that we should place ourselves last so that our Master can honour us.

So, When I look on my life as it stands now, How do I live those things? I see quite a few places where I still have a ways to go to live up to those guidelines. I really do like being recognized and I do find myself doing things in the hopes that others will see how much work I put in, or what a good person I am. I need to remember that I am a good person only as God enables it, and God can only enable me to be good if I cooperate with him, if I conduct myself with humility and not seek the glory and recognition of others. As a Knight of Columbus, I need to seek ways to help in the good works we do for the sake of the Body of Christ. With Christ guiding my gaze, I can more confidently step out to accomplish all he asks. If I forget Christ I may also be forgetting the graces He can bestow on me when I cooperate with him.

A good friend brought to my attention a prayer for humility. You can find it on the EWTN website at
I suggest you look up the prayer and repeat it often.

Here are a select few lines. Wherever I cut a few lines out, I replaced them with an ellipsis (…).

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, O Jesus.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight