Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a Damsel in distress. She was trapped in a world where she thought she couldn’t be free. One day, as she sat waiting for freedom she noticed a flash of light in the distance. Could it be? No, surely not. As the flash came closer she began to see more clearly, there it was, the freedom she had always wanted…Her Knight had arrived!
Yep, the Knight in shining armour. Chivalry at its finest! Saving the Damsel in distress and being the champion, the hero of the day. But is that really Chivalry?
As the flash came closer she began to see more clearly, there it was, the freedom she had always wanted…Her Knight had arrived!
Let’s take a look at what Chivalry actually is:
The code of chivalry is, at its heart, simply a handbook for good conduct. But chivalry was not a mandate from the powerful to the downtrodden, nor a directive from the chosen unto the masses. It was a set of limitations which the strong and mighty placed upon themselves with the realization that setting a good example sends a message which is far more powerful than any words on paper.
Chivalry is a call to true masculinity; it is a call to action and self-sacrificial love.
Chivalry is not just about opening doors, not just being courteous, it is so much more. By focusing less on the misconceptions that men are merely “slaves” to women or that men do not give women the independence they so desire, we can begin to see the truth and beauty behind what it means to be chivalrous. Chivalry is a call to true masculinity; it is a call to action and self-sacrificial love. It means to set a good example; to be a role model. It means being the greatest version of yourself. This does not mean to seek power or leadership for your own sake, for it is a call to something far greater than that. It demands that every moment is lived and seen for what it is: an opportunity to be the best you can be, with every moment lived as an opportunity to give love, demonstrate strength in self-restraint and to offer hope by way of example. We are all called to a greater purpose and dignity. By living our lives to the fullest, it will inspire others to do the same.
Chivalry is not just about opening doors, not just being courteous, it is so much more.
Today, as in every age, the world needs the strength of true and chivalrous men! Our culture places so many superficial values on all of us – men and women alike. There is so much pressure to be, to act, to look, to think in a particular way based on what is deemed to be “perfection” and the ideal man or woman. This is why we need men who have the courage to go against the grain. Willing to demonstrate and cultivate their respect for women in light of the gospel and true Christian ideals despite the conflicting values and images shoved upon them by the predominate culture in which we live and are formed. So too, for women, we need to encourage and support men in rediscovering their high call and purpose by firstly understanding our own.
God has placed the desire for greatness deep into the hearts of men and women. Chivalry is a code of conduct that stemmed from this shared desire, and at its core, is a key that will unlock the door to a rediscovery of the inherent dignity, beauty and complementarity that exists between men and women.
**Young people of the Archdiocese are organising a Chivalry Ball this coming August. If you are interested to know more about it click here.