For Chaplains

The Hands That Fight Indifference

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Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development

 

In his 2015 message for Lent, Pope Francis invites all of us, including our brother Knights, to participate in overcoming the problem of global indifference. As an international order, our brothers should be proud of the countless works of mercy they perform and contribute to spiritually and financially. Oftentimes, as the pope indicates, the “hands” of our brothers serve as the gate of the Church between God and the world. Those same hands are “rejected, crushed and wounded” in the acts of mercy they perform. 

One cannot read the newspaper and not think of the efforts of our brother Knights and their families. The Christians persecuted in the Middle East, our brothers facing war in Ukraine, those in the Philippines and Haiti still recovering from natural disasters, those courageously fighting for conscience rights and religious freedom, the many Knights serving in the armed forces — none are forgotten by our Order. As chaplains, can we encourage our councils to engage in spiritual, financial and hands-on support of these global efforts? Can we help every council commit to new ways of locally supporting athletes, and the families of athletes, heading to the Special Olympics in Los Angeles this summer? Can we also do our part to find new ways to overcome the tragedy of 22 suicides a day among our veterans? Can we identify and support veterans making the military pilgrimage for peace and healing to Lourdes, France, this May?  This is how the Knights of Columbus forms “part of that communion in which indifference is conquered by love.”

Pope Francis entrusts us chaplains with a “formation of the heart” for our brothers: “Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God … which realizes its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.” The curriculum for this formation, Pope Francis reminds us, is found in the examples and the continued prayers of the saints, who “have triumphed once and for all over indifference, hardeness of heart, and hatred.” This month we can recall St. Joseph, “the just man” and protector of the Church; Venerable Michael McGivney, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan; as well as the 10th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II, who forgave his assassin and poured out his life for the Church to the end. May these three “Fathers” serve as models to accompany our brother Knights on their pilgrim way. May we inspire our brother Knights so that every Knights of Columbus council stands out as an “island of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference.”

 

Vivat Jesus!

 

Fr. Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development
FrJon.Kalisch@kofc.org
(203) 752-4115