Dawn Eden has written an essay for Headline Bistro about Father Daniel A. Lord, S.J.(1888-1955) and his witness to the value of suffering—a valuable contribution, especially in the light of all the horrific suffering in Haiti.
From Dawn I have learned about a wonderful little book written by Father Lord, Christ Jesus our King: A Eucharistic Prayer Book, a kind of handbook for “The Knights and handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament.” This Eucharistic association was founded by Father Edmund Lester, S.J. in 1914 to encourage young men receive communion at least weekly in order to lead a life modeled on Christ according to the highest ideals of chivalry. In 1917 the association was extended to women.
The little book of Father Lord deserves much attention and will get it here in time. (I already have an unfulfilled blogging commitment.) For now I reproduce part of a chapter entitled “Jesus Christ the Perfect Knight”:
Knighthood is not something won on the battelfield and awarded the accolade of the broadsword’s dubbing the armored shoulder. It is not a matter of gold spurs and splendid trapping.
A knight may wear coveralls and ride an ancient coupe. Knighthood may be as modern as the evening’s newspaper, as prosaic as a paycheck handed to a wife by her husband, as far from battle as the teller’s window in an uptown bank, as unknown to history or poetry as a single rose placed at the bedside of a new mother.
Every Knight, whatever his age occupation, or costume, has certain easily distinguishable characteristics:
A knight is dedicated to the slaying of the dragon of evil.
A knight is an individualist fighting, not in the serried ranks of a disciplined army, but alone.
A knight hates injustice and battles the unjust, loves innocence and protects human needs.
A knight may be harsh with the strong; he is gentle with the weak.
A knight knows that he is on a level with those who are better armed and with those who need the arms he carries.
A knight’s honor is high; he would rather lose a battle than win it by trickery, dishonesty or lies.
Above all a knight respects and honors women for their virginity, their motherhood, their meaning to the human race, their purpose for life today and in the future.
A knight has high courage that never admits that a cause is lost.
A knight’s ideal is to do all thing well.
Christ the Supreme Knight
Never in His life did Jesus wear armor.
Never did He wield a sword. He did not break the bruised reed or extinguish the smoking flax.
He spoke the endless call to peace—through he knew that in the end He would bring for His followers, not peace, but the sword.
Yet His whole life conformed to our standards of truest knighthood.
Alone and far in advance of all others, Jesus is the true knight without fear or reproach, His own knightly practice was the standard for His followers. He challenged them to be perfect as His heavenly Father was perfect, to match His simple formula, which He lived out—to do the things that pleased His Father.