A TOUR OF DUTY

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Knights' Customs

prayer-makes-time01Introduction

The Knights of the Holy Eucharist is a community of single lay Catholic men who make private promises. They seek to follow Christ more closely through a life lived in community and dedicated to the service of God. The primary focus of this service is the fostering of reverent devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Saint John Paul II states that the Church “draws her life from the Eucharist“. It is the mission of the Knights to spread authentic devotion to Christ really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. They should encourage the Christian faithful to participate in Eucharistic adoration, which by its very nature will increase reverence. All efforts should be made through whatever means are available to promote faith in the Real Presence of our Eucharistic King.

The Knights were founded by Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, P.C.P.A., on July 25, 1998, feast day of St. James. There are many observations to be drawn from the foundation of this new community: The spirit of St. Francis, the “Knight-Errant of Assisi,” became a role model for the new Knights; this spirit was demonstrated by St. Francis’ deep sense of faith, fiery enthusiasm for Christ, and readiness to battle for His kingdom on earth. Mother inspired these men toward the three pillars that were so pronounced in her life: wholehearted devotion to our Eucharistic King, total consecration to our Blessed Mother, and absolute loyalty to our Holy Father.

The Knights are located in Waverly Nebraska, within the dynamic Lincoln Diocese. Here the Knights seek to promote faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord by their vigilant presence each day before our Eucharistic King exposed for adoration. This presence serves not only to increase their personal devotion and witness to their faith, but also to provide protection for Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

 

Called to serve at Masses, Healing Services and Benediction, the Knights give public witness to the profound reverence and devotion befitting such sacred service. They also provide assistance, tours and talks to the many pilgrims who visit the diocese.

Such a ministry also focuses on the Eucharistic evangelization of parishes and organizations. Especially since Vatican II, the Church has called us to evangelization and re-evangelization. It also teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life (LG, n. 11). Therefore, our evangelization endeavors should be Eucharistic. Pope Saint John Paul II declared that by his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (n. 6), he desired to “rekindle Eucharistic ‘amazement’” which was once prevalent in the Church. In a 2010 discourse, Pope Benedict spoke of a “Eucharistic springtime in every parish”. By this and many prophetic graces given to our times, such as Knock and the two pillars vision of St. John Bosco, we see that the Church is directed toward a Eucharistic future. This is how God reveals His will to us.

The Knights should be well trained in serving both the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) and the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo). They should offer assistance to train servers at local parishes.

 

The Evangelical Counsels

 

The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, which flow from and intensify our baptismal call to holiness, serve to bind the Knights together in a common way of life. It is this relationship to God and one another that allows the Knights to embrace the world as their cloister and serves to bind them together in a fraternal relationship and way of life.

The Knights are intent upon living the evangelical counsels according to their state in life. They are exhorted to filially observe the means recommended by the Church for progress in the angelic virtue: custody of the eyes, caution in the use of the mass media, vigilance in conversations with persons of the opposite sex, frequent confession, fleeing occasions of sin, etc.

The Knights do not require their members to renounce all private ownership. However, the spirit of detachment should be cultivated. Material goods should be used responsibly and with the prudence and restraint that befits any sincere follower of the poor and humble Jesus. Our Lord taught detachment from the goods of this world, saying: “So, therefore, none of you can become My disciple if you do not give up all your possessions” (Lk. 14:33). As the masters of the spiritual life teach, this is an interior renunciation; and it constitutes the spirit of poverty and detachment from material goods. Of course, voluntary poverty, when inspired, can be a means to achieve this interior detachment and a great aid to advance along the path of perfection.

The life of poverty in the Franciscan tradition is an important expression of inner conversion. By placing themselves in the condition of poverty, the Knights are better able to discover their powerlessness to save themselves and the richness of God’s mercy and love. They strive, therefore, to be transformed from being totally self-reliant to being totally dependent on God.

In the thought and life of St. Francis, poverty is intimately linked to humility. The Knights seek to be converted from being proud and clever into being little and humble, not aspiring to be over others, but subject to every human creature for the sake of the Lord (cf. 1 Pt. 2:13).

Poverty calls us, in an age of unbridled materialism and consumerism, to focus on putting people and the needs of others, especially the poor; before all else. Poverty impacts not only those material things we may use in our lives, but also any attachment that might result from such use.

Following the example of Jesus Christ, who being rich, became poor to enrich us by His poverty (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9), and imitating Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, the Knights promise to observe poverty. This promotes the liberation of their hearts from attachment to worldly goods, both material and spiritual. It leaves them completely available for the Lord in the service of the Church and all people.

All the baptized are called to the virtue of chastity; that is, an appropriate expression of our gift of sexuality according to our state in life: married, single, religious life, Holy Orders. Consecrated chastity as Franciscan Knights directs our energy and focus to the Lord and to the people of God we are called to serve. Rather than forming exclusive relationships, we open ourselves to be instruments of God’s love to all.

Knights live the evangelical counsel of chastity by striving for purity of heart. This virtue puts the powers of the soul in order, brings the intelligence to its plenitude, gives strength to the will and governs the senses and interior harmony. “Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: Either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy (cf. Sir. 1:22)” (CCC, 2339). Modesty “protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies” (CCC, 2521, 2523). Consecrated celibacy “enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner” (CCC, 2349). This makes possible a communal atmosphere where union with God and devotion to His service have primacy.

For community members, the practice of obedience is pursued through a zealous performance of assigned work obligations, conscientious observance of the community schedule and regulations, and submission to a central authority within the community (the Brother Guardian). Although it will sometimes be necessary to deviate from assigned or scheduled activities, members should make these occasions known to the Brother Guardian. Dispensations should be requested in advance whenever possible. When unexpected circumstances make this impossible, it should be reported to the Brother Guardian at an appropriate time.

Franciscan obedience finds its motive in John’s teaching: “God so loved the world.” Our life of obedience is rooted in our desire and call to do not our will, but God’s will. We place our lives at the service of something greater than ourselves in dedicating our lives to proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. In living out our obedience we humbly assent to the fact that no one person has all the answers, and we listen to the collective wisdom of others and our conscience.

 

Adoration

 

Seeking to foster devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Knights provide an example of reverence and devotion both in serving at the altar and in their daily hours of adoration. Each Knight is asked to spend at least one complete hour before our Eucharistic King each day.

If a Knight is called away from this duty, he should make arrangements for other personnel to replace him.

 

The Knights’ Residence

 

The Knights occupy a residence located on on the grounds of Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House in Waverly, Nebraska and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lincoln. The Knights acknowledge that the buildings are owned by others and that by their living in the buildings, they acquire no rights, title, or interest in and to the land and the buildings. These buildings are provided for their use. Remembering that “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” the Knights are to keep their rooms and all common areas clean and orderly at all times.

 

Free Time

 

(Recreation as “re-creation” of both body and spirit)

The free time allotted by the community schedule allows the Knights time to attend to personal obligations and necessities. It also allows individuals time for a balance of private prayer, reflection, spiritual reading and community recreational activities. Television may be watched only in moderation, with the Guardian’s permission and not to the exclusion of all other forms of recreational activity. All media viewed should be assessed responsibly in keeping with the norms of Christian morality.

The Knights should not absent themselves from the grounds without permission from the Brother Guardian, and all Knights should have returned to their communal residence by 9:30 p.m. (except in the case of community outings). Should occasion arise when necessity or duties require departure from the grounds in the Brother Guardian’s absence, members should leave written notification of their destination and the time anticipated for their return.

 

Personal and Communal Conduct

 

A Knight should be mindful at all times of the obligation he has, as both a Christian and a Knight, to bear witness to the truths of the Gospel.

He should avoid companionship, environments and activities which may confuse or scandalize those who have a right to find in him an example of authentic unworldly Christianity. Always mindful of the primacy of God in his life and his desire to serve Him with freedom and dedication, the Knight should maintain an appropriate and modest reserve in his dealings with others. Knights should, however, strive always to be cheerful and pleasant to all with whom they have contact, radiating the peace and joy that come from following Jesus.

As a means of representing the community, Knights are encouraged to wear their tunic when leaving the property. If Knights must leave the grounds for work-related reasons, they may wear their work uniform; this must be clean and presentable. The work uniform should also be worn when participating in approved sporting and recreational activities.

 

Community Living

 

Life in community provides many opportunities for growth in the Christian virtues. Courteousness and consideration should be exercised at all times, each member fulfilling his share of assigned household tasks conscientiously and in a spirit of fraternal charity. Duties will be allotted at the discretion of the Brother Guardian.

Entrance to the Knights’ residence should be restricted to its members and the priests and visitors scheduled to stay there. Other visitors should be permitted only with the permission of the Brother Guardian. All who come seeking assistance, however, should be treated with warmth and Christian charity.

Members are asked to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol for the duration of their participation in this community. At the discretion of the Brother Guardian, wine and beer may be permitted on solemnities and days of special celebration. However, consumption must be limited to a moderate amount. Knights are also asked to keep their communal residence and private accommodations clean, neat and orderly.

 

Asceticism

 

The Knights strive to maintain a wholesome asceticism in their communal living. This includes simplicity in their meals, entertainment, and fasting on Fridays according to the laws of the Church (two small meals, which combined do not equal one full meal, and one full meal). On days of fasting, there is to be no snacking between meals and the consumption of sweets, sodas, etc., is not permitted. Although rest is permitted during free time, it should not be resorted to without real necessity.

 

Days of Retreat

 

Each Knight is to set aside one day a month as a day of retreat and reflection. This day should be used to assess one’s spiritual progress and to rededicate oneself to the pursuit of holiness. Days of retreat should be spent in prayer, reflection, and spiritual reading. Knights remain on the grounds during their days of retreat, but may leave the property with permission from the Brother Guardian.

 

Hospitality

 

As part of their ministry of service, the Knights offer hospitality to many visiting priests, religious, and other approved guests, who travel to the Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House. The Knights are asked to receive these men as they would Jesus Himself, sharing with them their fraternal life, encouragement and support. Although offering hospitality may often prevent an exact observance of scheduled activities, this should not be seen as an infringement, but rather as a privileged opportunity to serve Our Lord in His ministers.

 

Family Visits

 

The Knights are allotted two weeks of vacation time each year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). New members are allowed a one-week vacation after the completion of six full months during the first year. During this time they may travel to see relatives or make pilgrimages to holy sites. Their conduct while away from home should be consistent with their behavior while in the residence and always bear fitting witness to Christ and His Church.

Since a Knight of the Holy Eucharist has chosen to give himself to Christ more fully, he is called to sacrifice many of the legitimate goods that others enjoy. In order to maintain closer bonds with his community, times spent with family and friends outside of the scheduled vacation time should be rare and at the discretion of the Brother Guardian.

 

The Apostolic Life of a Knight

 

A Knight seeks to manifest his love for Jesus not only in the faithful fulfillment of his daily responsibilities but also, when opportunity arises, by performing works of charity not specifically prescribed. In his free time he may choose to bring comfort and companionship to the sick or the elderly or assist the poor and underprivileged with whom he has contact.

Even in the midst of his daily occupations, he will have many opportunities to evangelize, to comfort, to lend a willing ear to the needs of the numerous visitors who travel to Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House or to other individuals whose paths he might cross. He should strive to be always sensitive to the opportunities for furthering the Kingdom of God that Divine Providence will present to him unexpectedly each day.

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