These three words are traditionally associated with the accolade of knighthood. They represent the transitional point in a rite of passage.
They also reflect a nuance that most people miss. They don’t say: “At this moment YOU ARE a knight.” They tell the acolyte to “BE” a knight. It’s not a reward based on experience and training. It is a serious commitment, a frame of mind that must be lived in order to be real. The recipient is a knight only if he or she truly is one in heart and mind. And that is true every day thereafter.
Of course, this was not how it was seen in medieval times. The accolade was thought of as a ritual that actually transformed a person into someone special, a valued member of the aristocratic warrior class, who was honored accordingly. It was like a sacrament that confers an indelible transformation on its own.
For today’s purposes, however, the nuance carried down by tradition is important. Anyone knighted in modern times, if they are honest, knows that they are the same person before the ceremony as they are after. What they bring to the table is what they get. Certificates or sashes or titles or group membership can be very disappointing if nothing changes on the inside—and only you, yourself, can do that.
“BE THOU KNIGHT!” is something to carry with you for the rest of your life, a reminder that echoes in the background during your every word, action, and decision. It represents the 12 Trusts and your relationship to others and the world you live in. It is not a statement so much as a challenge, which gives today’s knighthood a dynamic much in need.
When you aspire to be a Knight, and work hard to become one, it is the intrinsic beauty of this challenge and the vision it conjures that makes it all worthwhile.