Strength and resolve. What does this mean to us as Knights? Certainly strength is represented in many aspects of life. Athletics is one arena. Clearly strength of body is one type of strength. I admire those who have worked to gain physical strength and skills, and can consistently demonstrate those attributes in a sport setting. However, it will be the athletes themselves who tell you without strength of spirit, physical strength alone will not get them through any competition. We can point to many athletes who have been on the top of their game at one point, then in a short period of time lost their “edge” through controversy or some type of personal tragedy. Their physical skills have not changed, but their mental strength gets diverted.
The other day I heard a story about a young lady, I believe in high school, who was an up and coming track star. I think her name was Heather. In the state semi-final of her senior year she set a state record in the event she was running. I think it was a 1600 meter event. In the state meet she was poised to take the gold. Coming down to the last straightaway there was one girl ahead of her. That girl collapsed, leaving an open field for the win for Heather. However, instead of taking the win Heather stopped and amid disbelief from the crowd helped the collapsed girl to her feet. As the crowd watched they began to cheer ever louder as Heather helped the young lady cross the finish line. Under the rules of this competition Heather would have been disqualified for aiding another runner in the race, however the officials in this race made an exception and placed the collapsed girl in 14th, and Heather in 15th. As Heather was helping the girl cross the line she made sure the other girl crossed before her since she was ahead of her fair and square before she collapsed. Heather’s comment after the race, “it was far more satisifyingfor me to help her across the line, than for me to cross the line in victory after she collapsed.” This, gentlemen is strength of spirit.
Last month I was fortunate enough to attend the ordination of our then Deacon Jacob Meyers and one of his classmates, then Deacon Ben Muhlenkamp. Through our work as Knights we have come to know many of the seminarians at the Josephinum. We see them as regular guys who have answered God’s call to serve His flock. Needless to say, in today’s America this calling is at a minimum misunderstood. The ordination and Fr. Jacob’s first Mass was one of the most moving experiences I have had. I could write many pages just about the events of those two days, but for now I will leave you with a couple of the most significant thoughts I came away with. Father Jacob is one of the happiest people I know. I could honestly say I had never seen him without a smile in the short time we have known him. When he enters a room he brings a joy and it naturally rubs off on everyone in the place. Even through the solemnity of the ordination the joy in his heart was evident in the look on his face. It was that way until just moments before the first time he would deliver the consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If ever a priest had a “game face” it was then on Father Jacob. We could see without question that Father Jacob fully understood the gravity of what he was about to do. He understood, not just for himself, but what the consecration means to us who receive it and even to those who do not believe. It is bringing the living Christ to everyone on earth, fulfilling God’s promise that He is with us always and He will not abandon us. In that moment everything I have learned about the Eucharist, everything I know about the Church rushed through my mind. In a split second Fr. Jacob’s demeanor and actions culminated in me, my Faith. What a beautiful gift that is.
Throughout the ordination I couldn’t help but feel that these two young men had a real good idea of what they would be facing as priests in today’s world. It is not an easy calling, even in America, but especially in these days when much of the Church is under attack. Since the Church has in one form or another been under attack since its inception this is not hard for them to understand. It is another thing entirely to willingly put oneself in the midst of battle. Our clergy and religious daily face battles in many forms. From human to institutional to spiritual, they are challenged continually. Those who have answered God’s call selflessly face these battles for us the body of the Church with and through God. For them, this is a life-long endeavor. This, gentlemen takes real strength. Strength in personal spirit and strength through the Holy Spirit. Please pray for our clergy and religious and a special intention for those newly ordained.
Pat Rosmarin, Lecturer