The Virtue of Faith
Faith is an abiding love of God that is knitted into our bones and marrow, that gives us hope when all seems lost and beyond reason, and that truly is a mystery and a gift of God’s grace. It is this kind of faith through which the Poor Knights of Christ as a religious order, a sacred means through which to express our Christian faith and vocation, was birthed.
For modern Templars, what makes us different from other NGOs and organizations is that faith binds us together despite all human divisions in the world. It is faith that moves us to give thanks to God by serving others, and even giving our lives so others may have life. However, like a garden, faith needs to be attended to, as many of our Benedictine fathers and mothers have taught.
John Calvin, who quotes Bernard of Clairvaux more than any other Church Father, early on wrote for his confirmation students The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life. In style and spirit, this book is much like other classics of the Christian faith, like Augustine of Hippo's Confessions, St. Benedict’s Rule, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, or Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes resonate with the Templar’s Benedictine roots, including obedience or listening to God, humility, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today. What makes the Golden Booklet unique and a classic devotional is in how John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balance of mind (knowledge), heart (compassion), and hand (mission) rooted in thanksgiving to God. The book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life shaped by Word and Sacraments (i.e. our baptismal identity and vows, and our union in Christ together which not even death can cause separation).
As we celebrate 900 years of the Knights Templar, let us recommit ourselves to spiritual disciplines, remembering our Benedictine roots so our common faith together may be strengthened. May we also give thanks to God by uniting our hearts and minds in Christ and show thanksgiving to God through the work of our hands.
For the life that you have given,
for the love in Christ made known,
with these fruits of time and labor,
with these gifts that are your own:
here we offer, Lord, our praises;
heart and mind and strength we bring;
give us grace to love and serve you,
living what we pray and sing. Amen.
* * From the Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, “For the Life That You Have Given.” This hymn was commissioned in 1987 by Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, where it continues to be used every Sunday as the offertory response.
The Virtue of Faith