The four principles of the Knights of Columbus are Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. While Charity and Patriotism can be demonstrated by dictate, Unity and Fraternity must be developed as a group by the participation of the individual members. When it comes to unity and fraternity there are varying degrees – from the most basic level of being a group of dues-paying members, all the way up to being a truly unified band of brothers that coalesce to accomplish great things. But how does a group go from one to the other? The answer is quite simple – shared objectives and shared experiences; and the more of each that are shared, the stronger the bonds.
(Much can be said in regards to shared objectives and experiences by virtue of our Catholic faith, but since our Father created us as both spiritual and corporeal beings, I am specifically addressing our corporeal state.)
To be clear, while the simple answer is more shared objectives and experiences, that’s not to say that there aren’t nuances involved. For instance, shared objectives requires that the objectives be clearly defined and the path to achievement clearly delineated. Likewise, with shared experiences, variables such as personalities, individual strengths and weaknesses, and different levels of commitment come into play. However, even if the objectives are somewhat general, we find ourselves on the same, broad path. Likewise, as we have more shared experiences, we learn about each others strengths and shortcomings (as well as our own!); and as we learn about those strengths and shortcomings, we learn how to capitalize and compensate as a group and rely on each other to accomplish goals. From that we develop greater unity and fraternity – and stronger bonds of brotherhood.