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

ERASMUS'S 22 RULES FOR THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHT

The teaching of the Traditions of Holy Mother Church are ever new in each successive age.  So we do well to look back to those who have taught us in the past.

The excellent Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia in an article on the perennial doctrine of the Church in the case of morals reminds us of Erasmus's book Enchiridion militis Christiani or The Manual of a Christian Knight. (click the Latin title for a scan PDF copy.)

The Archbishop (here) quotes C S Lewis, describing Christianity as a “fighting religion.” In an article which should be both pleasing and approachable to a British readership, he appeals to us in the modern world to stand up for our duties to society, the family and the Church.
Desiderius Erasmus, by Holbein
Here are Erasmus's TWENTY-TWO RULES FOR THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHT:


Rule 1: Deepen and increase your faith.
Rule 2: Act on your faith; make it a living witness to others.
Rule 3: Analyze and understand your fears; don’t be ruled by them.
Rule 4: Make Jesus Christ the only guide and the only goal of your life.
Rule 5: Turn away from material things; don’t be owned by them.
Rule 6: Train your mind to distinguish the true nature of good and evil.
Rule 7: Never let any failure or setback turn you away from God.
Rule 8: Face temptation guided by God, not by worry or excuses.
Rule 9: Always be ready for attacks from those who fear the Gospel and resent the good.
Rule 10: Always be prepared for temptation. And do what you can to avoid it.
Rule 11: Be alert to two special dangers: moral cowardice and personal pride.
Rule 12: Face your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Rule 13: Treat each battle as if it were your last.
Rule 14: A life of virtue has no room for vice; the little vices we tolerate become the most deadly.
Rule 15: Every important decision has alternatives; think them through clearly and honestly in the light of what’s right.
Rule 16: Never, ever give up or give in on any matter of moral substance.
Rule 17: Always have a plan of action. Battles are often won or lost before they begin.
Rule 18: Always think through, in advance, the consequences of your choices and actions.
Rule 19: Do nothing — in public or private — that the people you love would not hold in esteem.
Rule 20: Virtue is its own reward; it needs no applause.
Rule 21: Life is demanding and brief; make it count.
Rule 22: Admit and repent your wrongs, never lose hope, encourage your brothers, and then begin again.
These rules are good counsel for all members so the Order, but it should be remembered that Erasmus was writing for men, and for young men actively involved in the world.  Women will have different priorities, and differing roles in society.  To end with a quote from Archbishop Chaput's letter which need repeating over and over again in our topsy-turvy age:
Maleness, brothers, is a matter of biology. It just happens. Manhood must be learned and earned and taught. That’s our task. So my prayer for all of us today is that God will plant the seed of a new knighthood in our hearts — and make us the kind of “new men” our families, our Church, our nation, and our world need.
Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us
Blessed Gerard, pray for us.
All martyrs and confessors of our Order, pray for us.