Last Sunday, I was initiated into the Knights of Columbus, for particular reasons, I cannot disclose exactly how the ceremony went and what not, but I thought it was pretty cool! And the other Knights, who were older men, were glad that I joined their ranks. In the end, I got a Pin and a Rosary, heh, a fifth Rosary. But What they told me was rather interesting, they said, if I remembered correctly, that the Rosary is our Shield and the Prayers are our Sword, against Evil.
Shield and Sword… Hmmm…
Shield… Defense, Defend, Structure, Support, Pillar, Strength, Fortitude, Security, Secure, Home, Castle, Family.
Sword… Attack, Advance, Forward, Formation, Form, Skill, Discipline, Master, Teacher, Friend, Honor, Brother, Brotherhood.
Shield and Sword. An object of defense, and an object of offense, or rather, protection and advancement, To protect yourself against the evils of this world, while advancing in it all the while. This reminds me of the passage, “Be not overcome of Evil but overcome Evil with Good” Romans 12:21, I’m reminded of this because I think it reflects it, but not exactly perfectly, the Shield and Sword, at least not without some sort of explanation.
To not “be overcame with Evil”, one must protect oneself externally and internally: Externally, by staying fit, eating right, not smoking or drinking, excessively, and so on; maintaining the body in it’s optimum state and all of the actions tied to it, therein. Internally, is where the Mind and the Soul lie. Watching the thoughts and emotions, trying to make sure that there is a good sense of morality and ethics, of solid belief, be they religious or otherwise. This is how you defend yourself, how you shield yourself from being overcome by Evil. By making sure your Shield: what you stand for, what makes you happy, smile, feel safe, stay strong and focused, is ready to withstand everything that’s going to make you question your beliefs, second-guess yourself, hurt or alter your bonds with those that you care about, all the while, staying flexible enough to adapt to new situations.
To “overcome Evil with Good” is far harder to accomplish. Because the Evils of this world have begun their barrage against you, the moment you’re aware of it, and most definitely when you’re not. To fight back is to make particular decisions in circumstances of varying degrees of difficulty from, “Pfft, this is easy.” to “So what do I cut off first? My arm or my leg?” To fight back the Evils, there are several Swords to use…. errr, methods:
1) Mirror Sword: By being the example for others to see, using your actions and words as a means of reflecting yourself against the Evils, also like a Spiked Shield, what you stand for and represent, is shown by your personal choices.
2) Soldier Sword: By joining a cause, or an organization, becoming a part of it, and using their morals and beliefs to do good in this world. Often times, those who excel at this, are recognized and often times honored, and their personal beliefs reflect that of the cause/organization, but it’s ultimately who they represent that is benefited from their actions.
3) Crusader Sword: Much like a Mirror Sword, one is using personal stances to advance in this world, but the wielder of the Crusader Sword, goes further and above and beyond than what is asked of him/her. The wielder can be anyone from the mother who raises 2 kids to become successful in life, all without being able to read to someone who has done the world a great service by finding the cure for an illness that plagues the world.
This is all I can come up with at the moment, but still, each of us uses one or more of these swords and methods to ward off Evil. However it’s sad to say, that most times people just find balance between just enough Evil and just enough Good in their lives, “A little evil to do some good” so to speak. And I often think that such a thing would wind up leaving regrets, because the ‘good’ is no longer pure, it’s tainted, acquired through less-than-reputable means, and this will eventually lead to the kind of ‘good’ that’s represented in ‘Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing.’
So now all that’s left is to decide and answer how strong is my Shield and what Sword am I using to advance with? Am I even advancing at all against the Evils of this world? Evil comes in many forms and has many weapons at it’s disposal, some of them can even look like a good thing to this world, but as I have learned long ago, the Devil’s greatest form isn’t red with horns, no, it’s the form of the most beautiful angel, with a voice like silk.
“Each Man stands in the Light of his own Sword, ready to do what a Hero can.” – Elizabeth Barret Browning.