The Virtue of Honor
What does honor mean? What does honor look like? It seems that the word “honor” is creeping out of our vocabulary and our lives. Seldom do we hear about the topic let alone spot a living example who models for us the charism of honor.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, our Order’s patron saint, speaks often about the Christian honoring God and consequently in honoring our blessed Lord, we live to honor one another, for Christ deigns to live in the hearts and lives of His faithful people everywhere. So, to return to my original questions, I pose to you this answer, which I take from various sermons of St. Bernard: Seek to be humbled, serve with humility; learn not to be proud; honor Christ instead of seeking honor; it is a great good to seek God for the soul knows no greater blessing; do not fear admitting your fault, but seek repentance and your will find forgiveness; and, it is indeed a great and marvelous thing to be the servant of Christ.
These are but a few snippets from St. Bernard’s writings which point us toward the path of living with honor, by living first and foremost for Christ. Honor then requires from us the discipline that we put God first. Yet, we know how difficult it is to live by a code of honor. Our sins, shortcomings, defects of character, in essence lure us away from all that is noble and honorable within us. But take heart, my fellow Knights and Dames, God already knows this about us and nonetheless He loves us all the more. It is in knowing that sacred love in the deepest parts of our lives that urges us to keep the honorable chivalric oath we all have sworn. St. Bernard says, nothing is impossible to believers, nothing difficult to lovers, nothing hard to the meek, nothing arduous to the humble for to them grace lends it aid, and devotion gentles every command to the obedient person. These words of St. Bernard are offered for the spiritual sustenance and assistance of a Templar in keeping their sacred oath.
Honor, then, looks like a Knight or Dame who with their last ounce of strength gives of themselves wholly and completely to God and the work of His Kingdom through their thoughts, prayers and deeds, while humbly proclaiming from the depth of their heart: non nobis, Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam!
The Virtue of Honor