Chivalry, Part Two


Last week, I introduced what I believe to be the perfect surrogate for the word meek: chivalrous.

Chivalry: It's Definition (from www.dictionary.com)

"The sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms; the rules and customs of medieval knighthood; the medieval system or institution of knighthood."

Chivalry: It's Origins

The word chivalry comes from the French word chevalier, which, in it's original use, meant "a warrior on horseback." Originally the word focussed almost solely on armed, military skill and valor. In the 12th and 13th centuries, chivalry (knighthood, warriorship) began to take on other values like loyalty to one's king or leader and one's brothers-in-arms, devotion to God and the Church, and social courtesies (especially toward women). By the 14th century, being a knight no longer meant one had to be in dedicated military service or even male(1). Many orders of knights were founded throughout Europe, especially in Great Britain, and each had its own chivalric code.

Chivalry: It's Values and Character Traits

Provided below is a list of 12 of the most common (and essential) chivalric traits the medieval knights trained to manifest in their lives. After each trait, I've provided a simple articulation of the essential elements of that trait.

Faith: Belief in God and God's great interest in and love for humankind; belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; belief in one's God-inspire ability to fulfill God's will in his (or her) life.

Love: Desire for others to experience the highest good possible; self-emptying devotion to God and others.

Justice: Commitment to truth, equity, and lawfulness; commitment to living according to divine principles.

Judgment: A sound, discerning, properly oriented mind; the ability to "see" clearly.

Wisdom: True skill in handling one's affairs and honoring one's relationships; knowing what's right and then doing it—every time and in every situation.

Temperance: Self-control; not given to moral, physical, or material excesses; the ability to reign in one's cravings and to channel one's desires toward generative ends.

Resolve: Having great tenacity and perseverance; complete devotion to the present moment (because one's life depends on it); devotion to one's calling, personal ethics, and training.

Generosity: Liberality in one's giving of one's self, time, and resources.

Diligence: (Related to Resolve) Constancy in one's efforts to accomplish the task at hand, be it short- or long-term; the persistent and courageous exertion of one's body and mind.

Hope: Humility; a deep knowing and settledness about one's identity as a son (or daughter) of God and his callings in life.

Courtesy: Gentle kindness; genuine deference to others; a quiet and unassuming attitude and demeanor.

Valor: Skill and courage in battle; heroic bravery in facing danger.

Notes:

  1. Chivalry did not just apply to men; it could apply also to women. Women could, just as well as men, display the virtues of valor, service to God, moral courage, and selfless deference to those in need.

 

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