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The Knighthood of Chivalry-Now

The image of a knight is very strong in Western culture.

We see him as a medieval warrior who exemplifies certain ideals, fearless, confident, a civilizing presence emerging from darkness, glorified by romantic tales. He is adorned by various types of armor, wielding sword and shield, lance or cudgel. He rides to adventure on a trusted warhorse to fearlessly challenge evil wherever he finds it, liberate the oppressed, protect those in need, and uphold the rights of women.

The knight is more than the stuff of legend, myth and romance. Even now, his presence in history, imperfect though it was, continues to provide moral inspiration. His image stirs the hearts with a desire for justice, even as the world contradicts all he stands for.

The inspiration we feel comes not so much from the knight's image, but from within ourselves, the noble quality that depicts human nature at its finest. All we need do is claim it as our own.

The attainment of knighthood therefore speaks of transformation, the kind that only comes from a strong commitment to what is just and good. Chivalry, as a life ethic, reflects the highest aspirations of what it means to be human. We are less for the want of it, despite whatever "good life" we enjoy that ebbs and flows without moral direction.

The knight's image reveals that our destiny, if we choose to grasp it, is to advocate for the values that create a better world for all — not just for some. It is knowing that any lesser vision ends upcontributing to strife.

The knight's strength comes from the moral conviction of certain high principles. Living those principles brings them to life, elevating what it means to be an authentic person.

In a very real sense, the image of a knight, reflecting courtesy and fairness, strength adorned with purpose, dependability and dedication to all that is good, defines the highest potential of humanity. Here we find the essence of noble ideals, despite our fallibility. Indeed, it is this contest between ideals and fallibility, always at leaning toward the former, that shapes our final concept.

How does this image translate for today's world? What can we glean from the legacy of knighthood for our everyday lives? More succinctly, from our perspective, what does it mean to be a Knight of Chivalry-Now?

First and foremost, the Knight must be a proponent of today's chivalry. His personal commitment must be total and inviolate — not just a momentary grasp of ego, a façade without depth or substance. It is, and must be, a matter of soul, of personal authenticity.

A true Knight of Chivalry-Now must earns the claim to knighthood every day. Not in the form of fantasy, or empty wish fulfillment, or a single good deed. That would make it meaningless. Think of Knighthood as a second birth. It comes into being through the pangs of labor and careful nurturing, physically, intellectually, spiritually. It can be likened to the making of a fine sword, hammered into shape by life itself, fired by adversity, tempered by self-control. It encompasses growth and maturity of spirit, a willingness to learn by confronting truth with bold commitment.

If being a Knight is to be real, it cannot be a passing fad or honorarium. No halfway measures, doing only what is comfortable or convenient. One cannot be half a knight, or indulge in it part-time. It is real as manifested in one's life, or it is just an act.

Knighthood means something because it demands nobility of heart, a personal transformation that transcends circumstances of birth and the idiocy of pride. We bow to no one, but humbly submit ourselves to Truth and the Mystery that sustains it.

In short, we accept the responsibility of our own lives by taking it to the highest level in thought, word and deed.

Knighthood is as challenging as life itself, when life is taken seriously. It confronts the vicissitudes that come from everyday living. It struggles to rectify tragedy. It lives. It strives. It carries the blessing and burden of self-knowledge. It weeps for the innocent and pities the guilty, who once were innocent as well.

It longs for a better world enough to work for it, and fight when necessary. It carries an inner vision of the sublime, and never sacrifices hope.

Knighthood is an ideal, but its attainment stops far short of perfection. No one is perfect. It is the effort of striving to improve ourselves that true nobility is born.

Chivalry-Now has reinstituted Knighthood under the banner of its code, the 12 Trusts. It recognizes that each person's life is the quest from which we either grow, become complacent, or are crushed. To be a Knight includes the following:

  • Today's iteration of a Knight is first of all being a person in the fullest sense of the word. An open-minded thinker, a searcher for truth living the adventure of a never-ending quest.
  • The Knight upholds certain admirable principles, often encapsulated by a code of ethics, such as the 12 Trusts.
  • The Knight holds sacred the vision of a better world to which he or she contributes daily. Knights are citizens of that better world, or emissaries, and live accordingly.
  • At this point in time, Today's Knight is one of the first fruits of the Chivalry-Now movement, an advocate for our principles, who leads others not through dictate but through example. He or she, as much as they are faithful, are official members of a Round Table that circles the earth.

Our aim is to produce a sufficient number of Knights to represent Chivalry-Now and carry its principles back into a culture in dire need of them, thereby replacing what was lost.

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