Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


We do not often on this Blog publish things which do not come directly from the work of the Order, but we are grateful indeed to a post from our friend Father Zulsdorf, about a young man in the army.

While at first glance this seems to have little directly to do with the life of a modern knight of Malta, in fact the spiritual desire to be daily prepared and armed for battle is something to which we should all strive.

This is a report from a young officer on the front line, who was formerly a seminarian before deciding to join the army. As such, he may perhaps share much with the traditional character of our Order. We shall let him speak for himself. The letter is addressed to Fr Zulsdorf.
"I know you often preach the use of vesting prayers for Mass, and after seeing something today, thought you may appreciate knowing what I witnessed. 
"As a backround, I am a former seminarian who left in good faith. I later felt a calling to, and joined the armed forces becoming a commisioned officer. In my time as a seminarian, I grew an appreciation and facination for the vesting prayers (which the priest says) before Mass, but have never had quite the appreciation as I do now, finishing up my tour in combat. 
"I lead Soldiers as a full time job now, part of my job is leading the recovery of destroyed vehicles and ensuring personnel make it back to safety when things go for the worse. I always say a quick prayer as I put my equipment on, as it is the one physical thing often protecting my life from leaving this world when I am in the open. 
"Past myself however, I have been stuck recently with a sense of amazement as I have witnessed my Soldiers ‘vest’ in their armour before we head into an area we know will be dangerous. Everytime, no matter their beliefs on the divine, or how excited or scared they may actually be, I have noticed every one of them has at least a moment of reflection or invocation, as their myriad of equipment is hastily put on by themselves and their brothers. 
"I know there are many seminarians, Priests, and we can only hope… Bishops that read this site. I myself consider what I do a trifle in regards to what the Priest does as he ascends calvalry in the Divine Liturgy. While accidental when considered to the substance of the Mass, I hope all Priests realise and take the time to meditate on what is happening as they vest in the armour the Church has provided for her Soldier. We need them to build this fundamental block, it will keep them alive and healthy for the Church Militant. 
"End point, I just felt like I was suppose to share this experience with you."
Each of us should begin our day like this, whatever battle-dress our own vocation gives us. The robing prayer of the Order, to be said by every knight as puts on the Order's habit, is one which we may fruitfully say each day with our day clothes:

Clothe me, Lord, with the robe of salvation,
and may I wear the mantle of justice.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

For those of us the Grand Priory of England, it is worth noting that this image of a praying knight is the heraldic crest of the Grand Prior, Fra' Ian Scott of Ardross.

Please also pray for these young men and women at war.

Saint Michael, pray for them and for us.