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Updating the code of chivalry: You shall wage war on the infidels without truce and without mercy

The Vigil exhibited 1884 by John Pettie 1839-1893

John Pettie | Public Domain

Arthur Herlin - Fr. Jean-Pascal Duloisy - published on 11/04/21

An exorcist reminds us that "when you stand before a human being, you are also facing the powers of darkness that surround him."

What does a modern-day knight look like? To answer this thorny question, Aleteia has revived an ancient code of chivalry from the 12th century. These rules dictated the conduct of knights who wished to cultivate holy virtues and awaken the noblest feelings in themselves. At first glance, such a code may seem outdated or inappropriate for the modern age. But is it really? Aleteia has asked priests to revisit and update for us the precepts of this code—something from which our modern society could gain great inspiration. Together let’s foster a new spirit of chivalry! 

This week, Fr. Jean-Pascal Duloisy, the exorcist for the Ile-de-France region, focuses on an essential rule of knighthood: to tirelessly fight non-belief. Far from preaching a new crusade, the fight is above all that of faith and Love.

You will wage a war against the infidels without truce and without mercy

Knight, know before all else that when you stand before a human being, you are also facing the powers of darkness that surround him. It is not the human being that you are required to confront, but the dark forces that interfere.

“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

(Eph 6:12)

You will “wage war on the infidels without truce and without mercy,” yes, by serving them in their vocation as human beings created in the image of God, and infinitely loved. You will thus love every person according to God’s plan of love for them. Since human beings are created in the image of God, every person, including non-Christians, is made for Jesus Christ, so we must serve the plan that is already intrinsically present in them.

Who wants to destroy this plan? The devil. Who is jealous of this plan? The devil. So we don’t fight with physical weapons, which don’t hurt the devil, but with faith! The first weapon of faith is prayer. As Padre Pio said so well:

Prayer is the best weapon we possess: it is the key to God’s heart. Pray even when you don’t feel like it. He who prays much is saved, he who prays little is in danger, he who does not pray is damned. What counts and is rewarded is your will, not the feeling.

So, fight motivated by the good will that drives out all inner fear and make yourself vulnerable through your witness to the holy name of Jesus, at the risk of ridicule and even at the risk of your life. St. Paul is a model of someone who fights a spiritual war without truce and without mercy. Any modern knight should try to draw inspiration from him.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

(Rom 1:16)

A knight of Christ will not blush when proclaiming Christ, is not afraid of being beaten, will not protect his cheek from blows but will make himself vulnerable and go to the heart of the battle, as close as possible to the adversary.

So, engage with non-believers; don’t run away from them. “By the love you have for one another, you will be my disciples.” A knight will therefore enter the fray with the weapons of faith. At no time should he falter in his proclamation. As a priest, I bless all those I meet on the street, and I wish them well.

Our precept therefore takes this form: You shall wage a war without truce or mercy, you shall not tire of loving and blessing them. You shall not be discouraged in your benevolence towards them. This is a work of mercy; the works of mercy are, indeed, a knight’s arsenal. It is with them that he wage battle:

The seven spiritual works of mercy:

Comforting the sorrowful

Forgiving injuries

Bearing wrongs patiently

Praying for the living and the dead

Counseling the doubtful

Instructing the ignorant

Admonishing sinners

The seven corporal works of mercy:

Feeding the hungry

GIving drink to the thirsty

Sheltering the homeless

Visiting the sick

Visiting prisoners

Burying the dead

Giving alms to the poor

The devil spends his time making us believe that it’s difficult to go to Heaven. A knight must prove him wrong! He must make the sign of the cross daily, slowly, out of love. He must accept to be loved by Jesus and trace the sign of His love on himself. A knight must also pray to the Holy Spirit:

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. 

Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. 

Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. 

I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me

and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. 

Let me only know Your Will.

(Cardinal Mercier)

Read more articles in this series on a modern code of chivalry:

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