Category Archives: Medieval Times

My Knightly Poem featured on Catholic Truth

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https://catholictruthblog.com/2017/01/25/knight-day-fighting-the-good-fight/

By way of introduction, Catholic Truth is the premier Traditional Catholic Newsletter for Scotland. The “Editor”, founder and publisher of the newsletter is a devoted supporter of my blog, for which I thank her. I recommend everyone read her excellent newsletter.

Special thanks to Editor for publishing my poem. If you have not read my poem, I reproduce it here.

Knight & Day: Fighting the Good Fight!

From Damsel of the Faith (USA) – By email…

I thought the readers of Catholic truth, especially our Catholic men, would enjoy this poem, personally composed by myself. May it inspire you all to keep fighting for the truth of Catholic Tradition.

“Rise up, knight, the Holy Church needs you to fight for her honor against those who would dishonor such a great and glorious Queen.

Faith, Charity, Truth, Valor, Prudence and Fortitude, these are your beatitudes, with the whole armor of God and your feet shod to proclaim the Gospel of Our Lord and God.

Fearless and courageous, with the sword of truth in your hand and the love of Christ in your heart to reach the promised land.

Where art her defenders in her greatest hour, to wrest the forces of evil from those who are in power, for the hour grows late?

Stand out from the rest in your courage and bravery, militancy and hatred for the slavery of Modernism, for then we shall see who is the best.

Fight like you mean it for truth, justice and honor, and for all that is right, with your whole mind, soul and might for this is the hallmark of a true knight.

When the hour grows late and weary you grow, remember who you fight for, namely the Church of the Lord, with all manner of foes inflicting upon her the most bitter of blows to bring her to ruin.

To Rome you must ride with the Holy Angels of God on your side, for Christendom, the Church, in Hoc Signo Vinces, until she arise with the newness of life in her eyes, at her glorious and grand restoration.

Satan encamps around the Church of our Master always inflicting all sorts of disaster, to cause the destruction of souls in the hereafter, always with such gleeful laughter.

And so, Knight of the Church, fight you must for your duty to God is to be militant and brave, for His honor and glory so that souls might be saved.

Rise up, knight. The Church is in need of brave knights who will never give up the fight, to fight till the death even till the very last breath, for the Bride of Christ, the Holy Church.”

Comment:

how many Catholics today, including those raised in the Church prior to Vatican II, remember their obligation to be “Knights” – or “Soldiers of Jesus Christ”? Not many, by my reckoning – what thinkest thou? Or, in all truth, was there ever a time when the laity properly understood their vocation to be Soldiers of Christ – and were encouraged by the clergy to fight the good fight?

With thanks to “Damsel of the Faith” for sending us the above lovely poem.

~Damsel of the Faith

 

“Poem for the Knights of the Church” by the Damsel

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This poem was personally written by myself.  What are your thoughts?

Rise up, knight, the Holy Church needs you
to fight for her honor against those who would
dishonor such a great and glorious Queen.

Faith, Charity, Truth, Valor, Prudence and
Fortitude, these are your beatitudes, with the
whole armor of God and your feet shod to
proclaim the Gospel of Our Lord and God.

Fearless and courageous, with the sword
of truth in your hand and the love of Christ
in your heart to reach the promised land.

Where art her defenders in her greatest
hour, to wrest the forces of evil from those
who are in power, for the hour grows late?

Stand out from the rest in your courage and
bravery, militancy and hatred for the slavery of
Modernism, for then we shall see who is the best.

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Fight like you mean it for truth, justice and honor,
and for all that is right, with your whole mind, soul
and might for this is the hallmark of a true knight.

When the hour grows late and weary you grow,
remember who you fight for, namely the Church
of the Lord, with all manner of foes inflicting upon
her the most bitter of blows to bring her to ruin.

To Rome you must ride with the Holy Angels of God
on your side, for Christendom, the Church, in Hoc
Signo Vinces, until she arise with the newness of
life in her eyes, at her glorious and grand restoration.

Satan encamps around the Church of our Master
always inflicting all sorts of disaster, to cause the
destruction of souls in the hereafter, always with
such gleeful laughter.

And so, Knight of the Church, fight you must for
your duty to God is to be militant and brave, for
His honor and glory so that souls might be saved.

Rise up, knight. The Church is in need of brave
knights who will never give up the fight, to
fight till the death even till the very last breath,
for the Bride of Christ, the Holy Church.”

~Damsel of the Faith

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Beowulf

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/50114

The picture is “Beowulf” by Howard David Johnson. Beowulf, in my opinion, is one of the greatest poems in existence. It is the oldest surviving poem in Old English. The poem teaches us that the battle is ultimately between good and evil, always, both in reality and even folklore. Old literature is valuable to me, for the story it tells, the Christian principles it teaches and the virtues it expounds, such as loyalty, bravery, courage, generosity, brotherly love, valor, militancy and heroism, as the poem, Beowulf, does. This is so truthful yet so very lost. In desperate need to be recovered.

La Belle Dame De Merci

 

“La Belle Dame De Merci” by Sir Frank Dicksee. This beautiful piece hangs on my bedroom wall and is my favorite work of art. The painting is based off of John Keats’ ballard “The Beautiful Lady without Mercy” and portrays a lady leaning in for a kiss from her knight. Chivalry and true love is perfectly represented and expressed in this piece. The colors and artistic appeal make it truly stunning.

La Belle Dame De Merci

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful,a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Last Will and Testament of King Louis XVI

Today marks the Anniversary of the execution of the great and holy, King Louis XVI.  The words of a man completely devoted to the Catholic Church, who died for God and Country, only because he was King:

“In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

To-day, the 25th day of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI King of France, being for more than four months imprisoned with my family in the tower of the Temple at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatsoever, even with my family, since the eleventh instant; moreover, involved in a trial the end of which it is impossible to foresee, on account of the passions of men, and for which one can find neither pretext nor means in any existing law, and having no other witnesses, for my thoughts than God to whom I can address myself, I hereby declare, in His presence, my last wishes and feelings.

I leave my soul to God, my creator; I pray Him to receive it in His mercy, not to judge it according to its merits but according to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ who has offered Himself as a sacrifice to God His Father for us other men, no matter how hardened, and for me first.

I die in communion with our Holy Mother, the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, which holds authority by an uninterrupted succession, from St. Peter, to whom Jesus Christ entrusted it; I believe firmly and I confess all that is contained in the creed and the commandments of God and the Church, the sacraments and the mysteries, those which the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught. I never pretend to set myself up as a judge of the various way of expounding the dogma which rend the church of Jesus Christ, but I agree and will always agree, if God grant me life the decisions which the ecclesiastical superiors of the Holy Catholic Church give and will always give, in conformity with the disciplines which the Church has followed since Jesus Christ.

I pity with all my heart our brothers who may be in error but I do not claim to judge them, and I do not love them less in Christ, as our Christian charity teaches us, and I pray to God to pardon all my sins. I have sought scrupulously to know them, to detest them and to humiliate myself in His presence. Not being able to obtain the ministration of a Catholic priest, I pray God to receive the confession which I feel in having put my name (although this was against my will) to acts which might be contrary to the discipline and the belief of the Catholic church, to which I have always remained sincerely attached. I pray God to receive my firm resolution, if He grants me life, to have the ministrations of a Catholic priest, as soon as I can, in order to confess my sins and to receive the sacrament of penance.

I beg all those whom I might have offended inadvertently (for I do not recall having knowingly offended any one), or those whom I may have given bad examples or scandals, to pardon the evil which they believe I could have done them.

I beseech those who have the kindness to join their prayers to mine, to obtain pardon from God for my sins.

I pardon with all my heart those who made themselves my enemies, without my have given them any cause, and I pray God to pardon them, as well as those who, through false or misunderstood zeal, did me much harm.

I commend to God my wife and my children, my sister, my aunts, my brothers, and all those who are attached to me by ties of blood or by whatever other means. I pray God particularly to cast eyes of compassion upon my wife, my children, and my sister, who suffered with me for so long a time, to sustain them with His mercy if they shall lose me, and as long as they remain in his mortal world.

I commend my children to my wife; I have never doubted her maternal tenderness for them. I enjoin her above all to make them good Christians and honest individuals; to make them view the grandeurs of this world (if they are condemned to experience them) as very dangerous and transient goods, and turn their attention towards the one solid and enduring glory, eternity. I beseech my sister to kindly continue her tenderness for my children and to take the place of a mother, should they have the misfortune of losing theirs.

I beg my wife to forgive all the pain which she suffered for me, and the sorrows which I may have caused her in the course of our union; and she may feel sure that I hold nothing against her, if she has anything with which to reproach herself.

I most warmly enjoin my children that, after what they owe to God, which should come first, they should remain forever united among themselves, submissive and obedient to their mother, and grateful for all the care and trouble which she has taken with them, as well as in memory of me. I beg them to regard my sister as their second mother.

I exhort my son, should he have the misfortune of becoming king, to remember he owes himself wholly to the happiness of his fellow citizens; that he should forget all hates and all grudges, particularly those connected with the misfortunes and sorrows which I am experiencing; that he can make the people happy only by ruling according to laws: but at the same time to remember that a king cannot make himself respected and do the good that is in his heart unless he has the necessary authority, and that otherwise, being tangled up in his activities and not inspiring respect, he is more harmful than useful.

I exhort my son to care for all the persons who are attached to me, as much as his circumstances will allow, to remember that it is a sacred debt which I have contracted towards the children and relatives of those who have perished for me and also those who are wretched for my sake. I know that there are many persons, among those who were near me, who did not conduct themselves towards me as they should have and who have even shown ingratitude, but I pardon them (often in moments of trouble and turmoil one is not master of oneself), and I beg my son that, if he finds an occasion, he should think only of their misfortunes.

I should have wanted here to show my gratitude to those who have given me a true and disinterested affection; if, on the one hand, I was keenly hurt by the ingratitude and disloyalty of those to whom I have always shown kindness, as well as to their relatives and friends, on the other hand I have had the consolation of seeing the affection and voluntary interest which many persons have shown me. I beg them to receive my thanks.

In the situation in which matters still are, I fear to compromise them if I should speak more explicitly, but I especially enjoin my son to seek occasion to recognize them.

I should, nevertheless, consider it a calumny on the nation if I did not openly recommend to my son MM. De Chamilly and Hue, whose genuine attachment for me led them to imprison themselves with me in this sad abode. I also recommend Clery, for whose attentiveness I have nothing but praise ever since he has been with me. Since it is he who has remained with me until the end, I beg the gentlemen of the commune to hand over to him my clothes, my books, my watch, my purse, and all other small effects which have been deposited with the council of the commune.

I pardon again very readily those who guard me, the ill treatment and the vexations which they thought it necessary to impose upon me. I found a few sensitive and compassionate souls among them – may they in their hearts enjoy the tranquillity which their way of thinking gives them.

I beg MM. De Malesherbes, Tronchet and De Seze to receive all my thanks and the expressions of my feelings for all the cares and troubles they took for me.

I finish by declaring before God, and ready to appear before Him, that I do not reproach myself with any of the crimes with which I am charged.

Made in duplicate in the Tower of the Temple, the 25th of December 1792.

LOUIS”

 

The glory of the Catholic Church in the Medieval Times:  The Crusades, Art and Architecture

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As the medieval times marched towards the creation of Western Civilization, the Catholic Church was the driving force behind all that was good at that time such as the Crusades, the wars fought in defense of the Church, as well as the art and architecture of that time which was the crowning glory of society and the Church.  Medieval comes from the latin word, “medium aveum” meaning the Middle Ages. The medieval times were a glorious era in the Church and the history of the world, but many refuse to see it and instead refer to these times as the dark ages.  In demonstrating the truth about the crusades, one should be able to see that they were just wars fought in defense of the Church and the Holy Land.  The medieval times was a major period in classical civilization, as shown through the art and architecture that came forth from that period. The Catholic Church was the driving force behind all of this good.  It was the Catholic Church that influenced men to join the Crusades and it was the Catholic Church that was behind the architectural beauty in the art and architecture of these medieval times.  All of these things existed for the greater glory of God and His Church.  By showing the proof of the good that came forth from the medieval times, one should be able to see that this was not a period of darkness, but of light.  The world that we experience owes a great deal to the medieval times because they contributed much to what is now the modern world.  The Medieval Ages were not the “Dark Ages” as supported by the truth of the Crusades, as well as the art and architecture that came out of the Catholic Church at that time which formed Western Civilization.

The Catholic Crusades were military wars, taken in defense of the Holy Land against rowenathe Moslems, in the name of the Church.  The truth of these battles is to be found with the Church. The Church has always been militant and at all times she has had valiant warriors to defend her. These warriors were knights of Christ and the Church.  “By translating the notion of a “holy warrior” into Christian terms, a succession of medieval popes and churchmen created the crusader, a “knight for Christ.”[1]   The Crusades were called at a time when the infidels i.e. the Mohammadens had taken control of the Holy Land.  There were four principal crusades. The First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095.  The First Crusade, from 1095-1099, established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and provided more lands for the crusaders.  To understand the important connection between the Crusades and the Catholic Church, one would do well to listen to the words of Pope Urban II, calling the crusaders to battle:  “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.”  Thus, the Crusades were Catholic in origin and fought in defense of Christ’s Church.  The Second Crusade, from 1147-1149 was called in response to the capture of Edessa by the Turks.  This Crusade was mostly a failure because only a few thousand crusaders escaped death at Asia Minor.  However, in the interval between the Second and Third Crusade, the two famous military orders were established, namely the Hospitallers and the Templars, whose duty was the care of sick and wounded crusaders, as well as the protection of the Holy Land.  Third Crusade failed in part because it resulted in the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187. This Crusade also marked the beginning of the Teutonic Knights.  “Finally, in failing to regain Jerusalem, the Third Crusade marks the beginning of forty years of almost continuous crusading from Europe.”[2]   The Fourth Crusade resulted in the capture of Constantinople instead of Jerusalem.  Thus, one can see that the objectives of the Crusades was the capture of the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, from the occupation of the Moslems.   Finally, the Crusades gives one a perfect example of the Church Militant in action.  The duty of the Church Militant is to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.  The militant crusaders fought the enemy, which were the Moslems.  Thus, the truth about the Crusades demonstrates that the Crusades were not the hallmark of the Dark Ages, but were rather the wars fought in the name of the Church that saved the Holy Land and Christendom.

[1]  “The Crusades and Medieval Christianity,” Utah State University, 2013, http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&civ/chapters/15crusad.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

[2]  Professor Ellis Lee Knox, “Results of the Third Crusade,” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).

The art of the medieval times was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church because it showed forth the glory of God in all aspects.  The Passion of Christ was a frequent focus of Italian painting and this was done with much emotion.  “…The episodes of the Passion are colored by painful emotions, such as guilt, intense pity, and grief, and artists often worked to make the viewer share these feelings. In this, they supported the work of contemporary theologians, who urged the faithful to identify with Christ in his sufferings that they might also hope to share his exaltation.”[3]   The artists wanted the viewer to meditate upon the event being portrayed in the picture, thus; medieval art provided much good for the Church.  “The climactic moment of the Passion story is the Crucifixion itself. Paintings of the subject were usually intended to foster meditation on Christ’s self-sacrifice, and they thus indicate his sufferings by showing him hanging heavily, with bowed head and bleeding wounds.”[4]   Many of the famous paintings that one can still see today are a cause for meditation upon the event they portray and thus; even art can lift one’s mind and soul to God.  “According to resolutions agreed at the Council of Trent in 1563, the Catholic Church reaffirmed the value of images in Christian devotion and the importance of the emotions in religious experience.”[5]   In addition to the Passion, the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary was another popular theme in religious art.  In Byzantine spirituality, she was central.  “Most images of the Virgin stress her role as Christ’s Mother, showing her standing and holding her son. The manner in which the Virgin holds Christ is very particular. Certain poses developed into “types” that became names of sanctuaries or poetic epithets. Hence, an icon of the Virgin was meant to represent her image and, at the same time, the replica of a famous icon original. For example, the Virgin Hodegetria is a popular representation of the Virgin in which she holds Christ on her left arm and gestures toward him with her right hand, showing that he is the way to salvation.” [6]   In Byzantine art, all manner of symbols were used to represent an aspect of virtue.  The color blue represented the Blessed Virgin.  The white lily was a flower used to represent the purity of Our Lady.  The rose represented Our Lady’s love for God.  The crown represents authority, exultation, triumph and grandeur and was always most fitting to adorn the head of the Queen of Heaven.  Therefore, art played a major role in the medieval times, especially in inspiring a greater love for God and the Church through meditation on the wonders of the Faith shown therein.

[3] Sorabella, Jean. “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm (accessed December 1, 2014).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

The greatest and most beautiful works of art in all of Christendom are found in the architecture, displayed most notably in the famous cathedrals of Europe.  The Gothic architecture flourished during the late middle ages.  The many great cathedrals of Europe attest to this.   Of course, it was the Catholic Church that was behind this architectural beauty that made Christendom so great.  “Gothic architecture and Gothic art are the æsthetic expression of that epoch of European history when paganism had been extinguished, the traditions of classical civilization destroyed, the hordes of barbarian invaders beaten back, or Christianized and assimilated; and when the Catholic Church had established itself not only as the sole spiritual power, supreme and almost unquestioned in authority, but also as the arbiter of the destinies of sovereigns and of peoples.”[7]   Chartres Cathedral is the finest example of the Gothic style of architecture.  Still standing tall and perfectly preserved, it proves the great influence the Catholic Church had over the great wonders of Christendom in the architectural beauty of the greatest churches.  What is most notable about the Gothic style is its tall structure, attained through the development of pointed arches and ribbed vaults.  High towers and arches also emphasize height.  All of this represents the might and glory of God.  The pointed arches reach towards Heaven, which these churches so gloriously represent and are instrumental in lifting one’s mind towards the Heavenly. Another cathedral that stands tall in honor of the Catholic Church is Notre Dame.  It’s the epitome of what Gothic architecture looks like.  One of the first Gothic Cathedrals, it has weathered many storms and today stands as a testament to the indestructible Catholic Faith, which it represents in its beauty, revealed most gloriously in the Gothic style of architecture.  Another popular style of architecture is that of the Romansque architecture.  This architectural style was most notably known for its semi-circular arches, which eventually evolved into the Gothic style of architecture.  This style is known for its thick walls, round arches, large towers, naves and high bell towers.  The churches were built in the shape of a cross which became known as the latin cross.  During this period, the construction work was sponsored by great monastic orders, such as the Cluniac order.  Some well-known churches of the Cluniac order are St. Martin in Tours, St. Sernin in Toulouse, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, all of which have great similarity in plan and design.  Hence, the architecture of the medieval times stands as a testimony to the grandeur of the so-called dark ages and the influence the Catholic Church had over this aspect of civilization.

[7] Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed December 2, 2014).

As proven, the Catholic Church had a major influence over all those crusaders who gave their lives in defense of the Church and all that was beauty in the art and architecture of those times.  Every knight of old who spilt their blood and turned the fields of the Holy Land red will testify to this truth –  the true darkness of their age was their enemy as they fought to civilize the barbarians who had invaded Jerusalem.  It was the Divine Potency that enabled the Templar to carry the cross into battle in defense God and the honor of his homeland.  The art expressed the cause, the architecture the conquest, as the whole drama unfolded throughout the land once trodden underfoot by One shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace.  And thus it was ever meant to be: just war.  The blows of Christ expressed in a human dimension that transcends time and place; the birth pains of an ever approaching cataclysmic Armageddon like conclusion of the passion of the human race, uniting the sufferings of the image He made, to the sufferings of His Christ for the redemption of the world as it groans towards a new day with the former passing away, creating the scars from the wounds formed by the whip in the athletic scourge’s hand; the sword in knight’s clenched fist, the whole Body of Christ must be redeemed, it seems.  What is left of Christendom today is the art and architecture from those so-called dark ages which stands as proof that the influence of the Catholic Church surpassed all times and places and shaped every facet of society, as only it should since the Catholic Church is the ruler of all peoples and nations.

~Damsel of the Faith

Bibliography

 Bréhier, Louis.  “Crusades.” In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm  (accessed September 23, 2014).

Carroll, Anne W.  Christ the King, Lord of History.  Charlotte: Tan Books, 2012.

Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Lucas, Herbert.   “Ecclesiastical Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05257a.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Michuad, Fr. Joseph.  “The History of the Crusades.”  New York: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1900.

Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.

Sorabella, Jean.  “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm  (accessed December 4, 2014).

Knox, Professor Ellis Lee.  “Results of the Third Crusade.” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).