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The Transformation That Evangelizes

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

   

Pope Francis pointedly begins his message for Lent 2016 with the invocation of the Blessed Mother as “the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized.” Our Holy Father reminds us that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the fruitfulness which leads to evangelization — the generosity, faithfulness and compassionate goodness which have roots in the domestic church of marriage and family relationships.

In order to empower our brother Knights to better evangelize, let us assist them in seizing “the privileged moment” of Lent and help them “celebrate and experience God’s mercy,” as Pope Francis writes. This begins with a prayerful listening of God’s prophetic word as a firsthand account of the Lord’s personal act of mercy in each of our lives. The invitation to return to the Lord and soften our hardened hearts occurs each time we encounter the Divine Mercy, who offers everyone “a new chance to look at himself, convert and believe.” Our Holy Father reminds us that slavery to sin often uses wealth and power to mask our true poverty: the proud illusion of relying on our own sense of omnipotence, and being bound to the ideologies of technoscience and consumerism.

It is imperative that each council give priority to the spiritual transformation of its members this Lent. Every council should strive to participate in some spiritual day of formation, a retreat or a parish mission. The supreme chaplain has asked that every brother Knight recommit to his weekly duty of Sunday Mass with his family. Can we also encourage every brother Knight to go to confession this Lenten season with his family? Chaplains and councils can do this by participating in the Vatican’s 24 Hours for the Lord initiative, which will occur March 4-5.

A useful resource for spiritual reflection is the apostolic exhortation Into the Breach, by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. The document, which is available at intothebreach.net, highlights three major rifts: the interior breach in every man’s spiritual and personal life, the breach of the devil attacking one’s family and parish community, and the breach in society and culture. Reading and discussing Into the Breach with our brother Knights, and then prayerfully reflecting on its call to respond, could make for a very fruitful Lent.

Vivat Jesus!

 

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