“The man bowed his head and worshipped the LORD ,and said,“Blessed be the LORD. ’” -Genesis 24:26-27
In the middle ages, a Knight was the symbol of righteousness and manliness. Knighthood was the pinnacle achievement for those of common birth, and the only opportunity they would ever have to obtain an official title and a place in the royal court. They were to exemplify grace, justice, and charity for the people.
The nobles looked to the Knights as fearless protectors of the realm – the last line of defense and honorable generals on the battlefield. But Knights were not just symbols of virility and strength. They were also called on to exemplify morality, self-denial, and Christianity. Knights were to live a nearly monastic life, replete with prayer, reflection, and training.
The ceremony for knighthood consisted of at least ten hours of Eucharistic adoration – during which the Knight would kneel or stand the entire time. It was the ultimate example of self-denial: The Knight’s vigil represented his willingness to sacrifice his life for his God and his King.
As Men and Fathers, our own tradition of Eucharistic Adoration should draw upon this Knightly example. Adoration is not our opportunity for self-indulgence. We, as men, do not seek “just a few moments of peace and quiet” nor do we come to see what else Christ can do for us. Instead, we come to be Christ-like. To show that, like the Knight, we are willing and able to sacrifice ourselves for our God and our Family. For us, Eucharistic Adoration is an experience of discipline, self-denial, and humility: an opportunity to learn to give of ourselves from the One who gave all. As Saint Francis of Assisi proclaimed:
"What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation"
As Knights, Protectors, examples of Faith, Class, and Manliness, our call is to lay down our lives for those we love, to sacrifice so that others might have more. Our time in front of the Blessed Sacrament reminds us of this ancient and holy calling and strengthens us to continue our quest. As Men, we Adore the Blessed Sacrament, not to see what else we can take, but to imagine what else we can give.