Ignatian Chivalric Heart

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History is the proof that the chivalric spirit, a passion flower that has blossomed from the blood of the supreme Hero, produces men of Catholic and heroic heart.

Firstly, a Catholic heart. For the man whose heart is chivalric is a man whose heart resounds with all that is Catholic: Nihil Catholicum alienum est mihi (Nothing that is Catholic is foreign to me). The joys, the pains, the hopes and the fears of Catholicism are his; deep in his heart he carries them all; they are more dear to him than self.

Hence he is a universal man, as much African as European as Asian as of the Americas, for wherever the Church is, or can be, there his affections go.

But not only is he a universal man with regard to race and landmass, but also vis-à-vis time. For his spirit vibrates in unison with the Catholics of every age and indeed, with our revered Jewish forefathers who prepared the way for Christ.

If there are certain episodes in the history of the Church that resonate more deeply in the heart of the chivalrous Catholic they are those when the Church has been more deeply afflicted, in peril, and in need of valiant defenders; when all seemed almost lost; when it would have called for uncommon courage to swim against the current. For the Ignatian this is the spirit of a son of the ancient Lion of Antioch, St. Ignatius, and of the warrior-priest of the Catholic Reformation.

Thus, if he had lived in the age of the Machabees, heroic defenders of the Covenant in the face of the persecution of the powerful Antiochus, he would have answered the call of Judas Maccabeus and taken up arms to defend the divinely revealed truths; and he hopes that, by God’s grace, he would have stood beside the seven brothers who one after the other accepted death rather than betrayal.

If he had lived at the time of the First Christians, he would have confessed the Faith before his interrogators, regardless of the Coliseum.

At the time of St Athanasius he would have followed him into exile to protect the purity of the Faith from the Arian heresy.

In the Dark Ages, he would have enlisted with the bands of missionaries surrounding Patrick, Augustine of Canterbury, Boniface, Cyril and Methodius.

At the time of the Crusades he would have gladly gone with St. King Louis and the Crusaders to defend the Christians being massacred and to liberate the Holy Land.

When Christendom was being destroyed, he would have worked with Saints Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius to teach, explain, defend the faith of the multitudes; and he would have embarked with Francis Xavier to the Orient.

At the time of the French Revolution, he would have refused to sign the oath of obedience to the bloodthirsty revolutionary regime and on his heart would have placed the emblem of the Catholics of the Vendée, the Sacred Heart.

In the hour of danger for Christendom, he would have sailed with the Christian fleet to Lepanto; defended the walls of La Valletta; accompanied Friar Marco da Aviano to the Battle of Vienna; in the twentieth century he would have fought alongside the Cristeros.