The Necessary Spirit of the Crusader

May 1, 2014

The Crusaders near the Château du Grand Jardin and the city of Joinville.

The Crusaders near the Château du Grand Jardin and the city of Joinville.

In general, medieval men understood the role of fortitude in maintaining their Christian culture. They had no illusions about their own weaknesses and vices. They understood the need to confront the disorders and evils that will always plague this vale of tears. Calling upon God, the faithful in varying degrees summoned from themselves the strength to confront sin, tragedy, and misfortune and defend the society they loved.

Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam taking possession of the Island of Malta, October 26, 1530. Painting by René Théodore Berthon.

Fra’ Philippe de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, taking possession of the Island of Malta, October 26, 1530. Painting by René Théodore Berthon.

From this mentality logically came those who, by their spirit of self-sacrifice and dedication, took the practice of fortitude to the highest degree. This could be seen in the dedicated spirit of chivalry of the crusader who left everything to face suffering, separation from family, and even imprisonment or death to defend Christendom against the declared enemies of the Faith. We might also cite the members of monastic orders whose love of penance and prayer was such that it made of their lives a true spiritual crusade. Practicing fortitude were those representative figures in society—those bourdon souls—who made the great sacrifice of setting the tone and being role models for all society. Because these key figures practiced fortitude to a high degree, all society was permeated by this virtue, which in turn held up that organic order.

 

 

John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 302-4.

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