Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Fourth Degree and the Sword

As a member of the Fourth Degree, do you have a sword?

Do you bother or even think of ever having one?

Have you ever considered the thought of being a member of the Color Corps or being an Honor Guard?

Mostly, members who attain the fourth degree become one just to attain the four degrees.  After the exemplification, they they don't even bother to attend the assembly meetings.  The fact is that there is plenty of unclaimed Fourth Degree Certificates.

First reason:  The member does not appear nor attend in assembly meetings.  He may not even know the name of the assembly where he belongs.

Second reason:  There are Grand Knights who does not even know his own member.  These Grand Knights does not also attend meetings in his own assembly. He does not know who the Faithful Navigator is.  Ask him who is their Faithful Comptroller, and he will ask back "What is a comptroller?"

These members should be invited and accompanied in every assembly meeting.  There is a mistaken notion that all fourth degree members are as old as they think -- white-haired and mostly retired and are not attuned with the times.  They think that all assembly meetings are boring.  That is where they are wrong!

The Fourth Degree serves the Church .... extending financial support to religious, civic, and educational needs of parishioners in the locality. actively supporting the Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP) in coordination with the parish and seminaries.

...providing Honor Guards to local churches for special masses and ceremonies, e.g. Christ the King procession, Holy Thursday Benediction, parish fiesta celebrations, installation of new priests and bishops, etc.

The Fourth Degree serves our country .... promoting patriotism in schools through sponsorship of essay contests, declamations, and oratorical contests with the theme of protection and respect to the Flag and National Patrimony. participating in civic parades and programs that concern public display of patriotism.

...advocating for a peaceful conduct of elections, and protection of ballot.

...participating in national issues such as "Abolition of Death Penalty" and "Anti-Abortion Law" in conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Fourth Degree serves the Order .... being present at wakes and funerals of a deceased member, and presenting a "Resolution of Condolence" to the bereaved family. holding a commemorative mass for deceased members.

...recognizing worthy members for their exemplary deeds.

These are the members of the Fourth Degree who belong to the highest and most prestigious degree within the Knights of Columbus.  They are dedicated to the service of the Church, the Country, and the Order.  If only the Grand Knights would take a little time to invite and accompany the new members, then assemblies would have full of quality members.

A Fourth Degree member should have a sword of his own, whether he is a member of the Color Corps or not.  He does not need to be an Honor Guard.  The sword is not a side arm nor a decoration when worn on the hips.  It symbolizes that the Knight is a soldier of Christ!

"In the past, a knight before going to war or to a crusade, spends the night in a silent vigil in the church and his sword and shield laid down at the foot of the alter."

Only a Fourth Degree member is "privileged" to have a sword.

Holding the sword upwards high up with the point towards heaven -- symbolizes the defense of the True Church -- the Universal, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  It stands for the defense of our Faith -- the True Faith -- the Faith bequeathed to us by our Lord. It also signifies loyalty.

The Honor Guards hold it upwards as a salute and respect to honor our Lord and Master.

When the point is downwards to earth, it symbolizes the "Cross of Christ" -- the "conqueror of death; the giver of life.  That this cross alone is the bulwark of national honor, inspiration of patriotism, guardian of personal worth -- for it was crimsoned with blood of self-sacrifice."

In the olden times, the weapon of a soldier, actually the sword, is used to mark his grave if the soldier died in battle.  In the Knights of Columbus it is more than that, it symbolizes the Honor, the Name, and the integrity of the member Knights.

When the Faithful Captain turns over sword of a fallen brother to his oldest son, you will hear him remind the boy, "Upon your shoulder now rests the protection of your mother and brothers and sisters.  Continue your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as your father has when he was still alive. Keep this sword shining, bright, and untarnished."

Owning a sword is a responsibility.  It is a given privilege.  The holder of the sword has the responsibility to defend his Faith, his Church, his family, and his Honor.  An honorable name, when bequeathed to the children and the generations to come, will always be remembered like a sweet lively tune. It will linger forever.  Let us keep our name and honor bright and untarnished.  NOW IS THE TIME TO OWN A SWORD!

Extracted and edited from the 4D Newsletter, Knights of Columbus District IV, National Capital Region, Ferdinand Magellan Province, Philippines.

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