Earlier in October, Sir Knight Art and I were honored with the opportunity to welcome the heads of all of the York Rite Bodies including our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Cortland Rule at the Grand York Rite Reception out in Chelsea. It was a great time of fellowship and celebration and I once again look forward to the ensuing grand year.Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 has been quite active as well and with the help of Detroit Commandery No. 1 and their fantastic ritual work we have two new Knights of Malta awaiting the Order of the Temple.
We have yet to plan dates for the Order of the Temple but Detroit Commandery has once again opened their home to us and offered their assistance in the Knighting of these Brothers and at our stated conclave on the 19th I’m sure we’ll be discussing the details. In addition given all the degree work that has been going on over the past few months we now have 4 new members of the Ann Arbor York Rite as a whole, and our next stated will also be a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself to these new Companions and show them the hospitality and brotherly love that comes with fellowship among us.
Another attribute you’d hope to find amongst us is chivalry, and that’s the very subject I’d like to discuss in this letter. Chivalry has always been a subject near and dear to my heart. It never ceases to spark my interest or influence my actions, without it I wouldn’t be the man I am today, and it’s my interest in it that first caught the attention of the woman who would become my wife dramatically improving my life and changing my fate forever.
Chivalry in its most basic sense began as the rules of conduct seen suitable for mounted combat and eventually knighthood. As time went on it grew more complex with countless manuals detailing the responsibilities of the chivalrous, and while no one particular set of guidelines ever became the standard certain duties were always inculcated: Duty to others, duty, to God, and duty to women. These duties quickly become the core knightly virtues and with the popularization of the concept of decidedly Christian Knighthood they became the ultimate way a Knight could serve his LORD and Savior.
So why the continued interest in the antiquated ideals of long dead warriors? Because they’re still needed. Rev. Charles Kingsley said “Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.” And I can certainly say I agree with it. I still try to practice chivalry because just as all swords have not yet been beat into ploughshares man does not yet by default serve his neighbor, his God, or women as he should and chivalry is a standard still to be strived for, and still broadly unmet.
But on the other side of the coin we cannot take the subject too literally or thoughtlessly. Chivalry may have been the code of the Knights of old but the world has changed and we must change with it. If we even look back to the roots of our magnanimous order, the definition of Knight was quick to change from a man actively engaged in combat to a man who who served the order valorously in any capacity, allowing for both operative and, say speculative knights. As they changed what made a man a knight so have we and so must we continue in order to best serve the LORD in our ever changing world. As Kenelm Henry Digby put it so poetically, “Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world.” So should we all be filled with that spirit and never shy from heroic actions or being an active part in the sublimity of the intellectual and moral world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short discussion on chivalry and stand willing to help welcome our new members with open arms at our home at Calvary United Methodist Church at 6:30pm on Monday the 19th. We have much to discuss much to plan, hope to see you all there, and if we don’t have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander