General Grand Chaplain
Greetings in the name of Our Lord my Companions!
I have recently had the honor of assisting several of our Companions in their transition from this life to the next. And, as I have done so I have paused and taken time to reflect upon what is the common thread that weaves throughout these lives that connects them, distinguishes them, makes them unique, makes them special, and very much makes them special to me. That thread is one we too often overlook, choosing instead to look at their contributions, their accomplishments, and their involvements, the outward and more easily seen layers of who they were. That thread to which I refer is their Character.
Each of these Companions had a unique and special Character, one that was refined, strong, patient, kind, and at the core very spiritual. It reflected their relationship with their God and His influence on who they were as men. It was the essence of their interaction with others in that it was evident in everything they did, every word they spoke and every gesture they made. They listened to and learned from their God how to be true shepherds and servants, and how to lead through example.
I am reminded of a poem by David Bates, “Speak Gently”:
Speak gently! It is better far
To rule by love, than fear
Speak gently let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here!
Speak gently! Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship’s accents flow;
Affection’s voice is kind.
Speak gently to the child!
His love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild:
It may not long remain.
Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear
Pass through this life as best they may,
‘T is full of anxious care!
Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!
Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!
Speak gently to the erring – know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!
Speak gently! He who gave his life
To bend man’s stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, “Peace, be still.”
Speak gently! ‘t is a little thing
Dropped in the heart’s deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring
Eternity shall tell.
My companions, I leave you with a challenge: take a look at your Character. Does it reflect your true self and your true relationship with your God? I pray it does, and that you work to nourish it every hour of every day. Take a breath, pause a moment, then go forth and “Speak gently!”
Grace and Peace