Giving Thanks by Giving Back

David “Reggie” R Vasquez, Visions Chairman

November is a month traditionally reserved for honoring saints, remembering our departed, and giving thanks for all we have and are.

In keeping with our theme of giving thanks by giving back, it is good to keep in mind the words of Albert Schweitzer: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Just what is it we are grateful for? Who has inspired us to have a spirit of giving? How can we possibly give thanks and give back?

            A sense of gratitude can be described by another quote:

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” ― Thomas Merton

            The strange thing about gratitude, giving, and receiving, is that sometimes our prayers and thoughts seem to be unanswered. As related in the blessings of unanswered prayers, which came out around the time of the Civil War and the founding of our Order, sometimes we are blessed in unexpected ways. The saying goes:

I asked for strength that I might achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I had asked for, but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

            Membership in the Knights of Columbus is for many an answer to unspoken prayers. Someone kindled that spark in us to join and to participate. And despite our misunderstandings, our misgivings, and lack of knowledge, the Knights of Columbus helps us give back to our families, society, our country, and our domestic Church. Through our principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism we have the awesome power and motivation to spark in others the spirit of giving. We, through our charities and programs, show grateful recognition to God and country for all that has been given us and in turn we give back.  And, we can and do ask other faithful Catholics to join us this month and every month, so that many others can see and experience the goodness of God in our works and lives. Let’s be thankful there are many more potential Knights to further our acts of charity; and let’s ask them to join us. Let’s remember our obligation to invite all practicing Catholic gentlemen and their families. They will be grateful as well.

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