The Virtue of Courage
“Fear lives in the head, and courage lives in the heart. The job is to get from one to the other. In between is the lump in the throat.”
-Louise Penny, The Long Way Home
The Greek word in the Scriptures translated “courage” and “good cheer” means “boldness” and “confidence.” In the Bible, courage is the opposite of fear. When Jesus invites us to fear not, to be of good cheer, and to have courage, he is always speaking against fear, which is the opposite of courage.
Templar André de Montbard (5 Nov 1097—17 Jan 1156) was an uncle to Saint Bernard de Clairvaux. Like the first Grand Master Hugues de Payens, he was a vassal of Hugues I, Count of Champagne. André entered the Order in 1119 and went to Palestine, where he quickly rose to the rank of seneschal, deputy and second-in-command to the Grand Master.
Perhaps Andre and the first Templars responded to God’s calling in order to assuage the fear felt by pilgrims to the Holy Land. To fulfill their mission, the first Templars had to swallow the lump in their throats and face into their vulnerability as only nine men guarding the entire pilgrim road from Jaffa to Jerusalem. They had to make the counter-intuitive move from head to heart, pursuing a senseless mission that instilled a sense of courage in their charges.
Maya Angelou says, "Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage." Courage grows, as do all virtues, through repetition – through risking yourself in what may seem foolish to others, by spending yourself for the sake of others, and for the Christian especially in imitating the generous self-offering of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).