Chevalier Fidèle

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THE POOR-FELLOW SOLDIERS OF CHRIST

May 2018


Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...


Opening tasks and steps


  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over


  • Closer your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read


  • Consider finding one small regular act of giving either daily or weekly and one large, single act of giving for the month to enact.


  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion


Quote


"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."                                          Winston Churchill




1 Corinthians 13: 9-13


For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Devotion


On Christmas Day 1119 Hugh du Payns and his companions took their vows in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, calling themselves the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ.1 From then until the end in 1307 the Templars were successful in their purposes. 


While individually they eschewed wealth in all its forms the order as a whole prospered greatly to enable its members to further their holy calling. They did so well, that ultimately it became their downfall some would say due to King Phillip's unwillingness to pay back the monies he owed the order.


When the order fell, it did so to a lie. False accusations were leveled at the leadership, and many of the brothers; claiming devil worship, satanic rites, and worse. This provided the gossamer-thin veil of legitimacy King Phillip needed to order the arrest of the Templar leadership, and seizure of all their assets, world-wide.


Why did they want to divest themselves of worldly wealth? The answer is simple. They wanted to be a monastic order, to grow closer to God and they believed this sacrifice would help them do that. Hugh and his fellow knights wanted more than anything else to be close to God, and they believed entering a monastic order would help them atone for the sins they had committed both before coming to Jerusalem and after.


Baldwin the II had other ideas. Baldwin knew how dangerous the roads were in his kingdom. He also knew how dangerous it was to defend those roads. He saw battle-hardened men who knew what it was to fight, how to fight, and how to be victorious; and he had a better purpose than shuttering those skills behind monastery walls.


Today, those of us who call ourselves Christians, study scripture, look at the past, and try to discern the path God has for us strive mightily to come to grips with our future. What should we do? How should we go about doing it? What is God's path for our lives? These are not questions asked lightly or without resolve behind them to take up the answers when discovered.


In Hugh's day, he pledged his sword to an earthly liege, an earthly king. Hugh walked a path given to him by his lord, whom he believed to be a godly man. Today, we who are members of this resurgent most holy order pledge ourselves to that same cause, not to earthly kings, but to One who sits on a Heavenly throne. Our commands come now not through the voices of men placed in authority over us, but from Holy Scripture, that same Holy Scripture Hugh du Payns read in his day.


In Hugh's day he strapped on worldly armor of steel and leather to execute his duties. For us as Christians and Templars we pick up our armor and put it on not with buckles and straps but with pen and paper, for when we done our armor and take up our sword it is when we open our Bibles, take our notes, study scripture, and wield the sword that is the word of God. Our orders come from a Heavenly Lord who has conquered all, sits at the right hand of God, and sends His intentions to us through His Holy Spirit.


When Hugh met the enemy it was with steel in both armor and weapon, steel you could feel and touch. When he rode into battle dust choked his throat, sweat soaked his clothing, and blood stained the ground. Today, we still ride out amidst the dust of the world, with sweat on our brow, and occasionally brothers and sisters in Christ bleed just as they did in the days of yore. 


However, our weapons have changed. No longer do we swing steel in the name of God. Now, we speak the word that is the sword of God boldly in truth. Before, the steel of armor, helm, and shield defended the body from harm. Today, we speak hope into the lives of those afflicted to defend them against the onslaughts of evil. 


Before, the knights of old fought, lived, and died on an earthly battlefield. Today, we still fight, and live or die but our battlefield is one of spirit, not flesh and blood; and the stakes are just as high, no less than all eternity.


Hugh tended to real-world weapons and armor to defend both his faith and his life. We have armor and weapons too, but when we lay a sharpening stone to our sword it is when we open the pages of our favorite Bible, pick up our pen, and begin taking notes concerning how we go about presenting a better way to those we meet on their pilgrim road. 


We fight back the evil one when we speak hope into someone else's life, when we give though we have to do without. The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ gave all because they knew the stakes. That is our legacy as Templars and as Christians. If we wish to honor the sacrifices that went before, then we can do no less now. It is the path we have chosen.


Closing Statement


God changes hearts and minds while we change ourselves. The simple act of giving is not so the recipient can have what we offer. The act of giving alters the giver on a fundamental level to become more like Christ, who gave all for all of us. The knights of old gave up everything to pursue their calling so they would be without the distractions of wealth and could focus on training to fight, and fight well. 


Our giving should help us to center our minds and hearts not on what was given, but why. We give so that we may free ourselves from the internal need to covet and hold onto material things in this world. This frees us up to focus more on the spiritual battle, which we focus on by study His word and His ways. There is no better place for our energy to be spent than delving into the word of God as contained in the Bible, with a heart toward sharpening our spiritual sword and walk closer with Him.


Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory


End Notes


  1. Michael Haag, The Templars the History and the Myth HarperCollins 2008; p.96


Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrew
Georgia





The View From the Backs of Giants

April 2018


Greeting-Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...



Opening tasks and steps


  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over.

  • Contemplate all the little things that make your life easier that did not exist one thousand years ago.

  • Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read.

  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion.


Romans 7:15-25 King James Version (KJV)


15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.


Quote


"Improvise, adapt, and overcome!"

Gunnery Sergeant Highway (Clint Eastwood), Movie Heartbreak Ridge


Devotion


We stand on the shoulders of giants. We have over two thousand years of written examination of scripture, commentary by church fathers, and sermons from some of the greatest motivators of all time. We have insight from men and women who spent their entire lives behind the walls of monasteries and convents doing almost nothing besides contemplating the thought behind God's words in scripture. Yet we sit back with a problem in our lives and ask, "How am I going to overcome this?" Why?


Nine hundred years ago, the year 1118, several knights took vows before a man of God. They weren't perfect men; they were just resolute. People needed help, and these knights were going to do everything they could to help them in the name of God. 


They set about documenting rules, ways of behaving, and methods of operating in a world they found utterly hostile to both their bodies and their spirits. Yet this hostility did not deter them from the goals they set about accomplishing: protecting people seeking God's holy city, Jerusalem.


From those humble beginnings, these few men grew into thousands of knights with thousands more in the sergeants at arms corps and tens of thousands of support personnel affiliated with them. The Knights Templar grew into the single most powerful, land-rich, money-rich, influential group in the world at that time. All this worldly success came from the humble beginnings of a few men resolved to do good.


These men weren't perfect men. They weren't paragons of virtue. We know this because they have rules for disciplining a brother who forgot or broke his vows. No, not perfect by a long shot, just certain. They were absolutely, positively, without a doubt certain they were on the path God had prepared for them beforehand. and they were not going to let anyone or anything get in their way of walking that path. Period.


Today, we stand on the backs of giants. It is true and is worth repeating that our Templar forbears were hampered by many inconveniences such as no electric lighting, no central heating and air, and no indoor plumbing to name a few. 


If you spend any time at all contemplating what life was like around 1118, the list of “needs” they did without, which we now take for granted, would be too long to include here. Suffice to say, there are many conveniences we see as necessities for which they did completely without...and still managed to follow God.


Giants. We have all their writings. We have all their thoughts. We have all their contemplations preserved for us to build upon. We have books written by men who never met each other, who lived on opposite sides of the globe around the same time, and we can read them as though we had those to people in the room right there with us. 


On top of that, we have the essays and contemplations of church greats who have come well before us who have already done a wealth of work for us. We have all this vast knowledge and scholarship laid before us by those who have come before, and still we say "I don't know how." What we really mean is, "I can't be bothered to..."


Scripture has the answer for anything that comes up in life. It does. We stand here today able to go on the internet, type in a few descriptive words, and we can almost instantly see what has been written by those who went before us on any topic. 


With a few clicks we can then have those books we desire purchased, and delivered to where we live, all without leaving the house...and then those books sit on a table and gather dust mocking our problems with their unopened solutions because we can't be bothered...


Closing Statement


The question here isn't what is holding us back. The question here is why are we letting anything hold us back? We have an historical example of men overcoming adversity to accomplish what God gave them. Our first step has to be overcoming ourselves or we become a hollow witness, a false balance, and a hypocritical example. 


We don't have to choose this path. Paul himself in today's passage laments his own weaknesses to avoid what he knows to be right and to avoid what he knows to be wrong. 


This goal is not about our being perfect. It is about our being honest within ourselves and identifying those circumstances that must change for us to grow closer to God and then creating a plan to change them. 


Yes, we stand on the backs of giants who have had these same problems before. Some of them overcame those problems and documented how they managed it. Others fell to them, and also documented how they succumbed. 


We simply need to discover what worked in the past and replicate that while discovering what didn't work and avoid that. We battle within ourselves to walk His path that molds us into a better example of His love,rather than walking our own path or our own love. 


He is the light. We are not. We are but reflections of His light. It behooves us to make sure that mirror is polished as brightly as we can polish so His light can shine through us to illuminate the path of another and protect their journey to seek God as our ancestors did. 


To do otherwise is to leave smudges on the surface that might cause another to stumble and lose their way. Who wants to carry the burden of that before the judgment seat?


Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia






The Climb

March


Romans 6:19-23 King James Version (KJV)

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Stumble and fall but get back up

Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks below as you are easily able to before moving on...


Opening tasks

  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer for.

  • Think of or write down one of God's commands to which you do well in adhering and one to which you fail in adhering.

  • Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read.

  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion.


Quote

"Don't treat people the way they treat you. Treat people the way God treats you." Dave Willis, pastor, author, speaker


Devotion

You are not broken. You are not worthless. You are not useless. Fallen? Yes, but forgiven if you follow Christ. Meek? We should be, but that does not mean we are not bold when we walk.

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia






That which is old has become new again

February 


Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 


Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on... 


Opening tasks and steps 

o Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over 

o Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read 

o Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion 



“The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.” 

Honore de Balzac


Scripture


Psalm 111King James Version (KJV)

111 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.

They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.

He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Public Domain


Devotion


In 1119 AD a small group of knights discovered its purpose from God when they banded together to protect the pilgrim road. Their specific oath, according to Malcolm Barber's The New Knighthood was, "they should maintain, as far as they could, the roads and highways against the ambushes of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of pilgrims"1. Note that oath does not specify Christian pilgrims, just pilgrims. Contemplate the impact of that omission for a moment.


The heritage of our order is such that if you were found on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem in need of help, you were provided with help. That particular section of road was very dangerous. In one section it traversed through a deep wadi, or canyon, with sheer cliff-walls, a perfect place for an ambush as was the case more times than could be counted (see image of St. George's Monestary).


Our Templar brothers of old set regular patrols over this road. They rode out of the safety of their positions into the night to ensure others were not beset by evil men bent on spilling their blood for whatever they carried. 


The Templar knights were not paid for this service. They did not brag nor take glory in it. They simply saw it as their duty from God and set about their service in workman-like fashion to make sure it was accomplished as well as they could accomplish it.


Theirs was a physical fight, a tangible battle with an enemy easily identified set before them. Their arms and armor were likewise things of this world they could touch, feel, and see. This made their duty in some ways easier and in some ways harder than the modern-day knight or dame's task. 


They could see the rust on blade or helm, the rips in cloth, and the tears in leather. They could easily identify places where their tools were deficient and attend to those deficiencies. Failure to maintain the tools of one's trade at this time was often the difference between life and death. 


A failure of one's weapon or armor in battle at a critical moment would most likely be the last thing a warrior saw.


However, for us, our arms and armor are usually not tangible as were our predecessors’. We fight with spirit, with faith, with words. Our battles are no longer fought on a physical road, placing real enemies swinging swords or aiming axes at us. 


For us, our weapons are the spoken word coming from a right-thinking heart filled with ideas derived from the study of words written over two thousand years ago. Ideas and words are ever so much harder to maintain than simply brushing off some rust until the metal underneath shines or sewing up a torn piece of cloth. 


We must sharpen our whit through constant study, police our comportment with vigilant attention to behavior, and mend the tears in our spirit with solace from comrades. 


We must attend to these “weapons” on ourselves and our brethren and sistern. 


Further, our adversary not only doesn't appear before us in tangible form, but also many times he even looks just like us, like our fellow brothers and sisters. We have to be astute in our observations, discerning the right from the wrong, or we may injure one of our own instead of attacking the evil that wells up from below.


To be sure our predecessors risked their lives every day, but that was the physical life. Since our battles are those of the spirit, we risk a far greater prize; life eternal. If we get this wrong, ever-lasting souls weigh in the balance. 


For us, if we are to engage in this battle at all, we are duty-bound to not only fight well, but fight rightly and justly. To do that we must make sure our foundation is built upon firm and solid rock, and begins rightly, for if we do not we risk our arms and armor, our weapons having been poorly maintained, they will fail us at a critical moment in battle. That just will not do.

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia