by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The problem is, for you to have the spirit of chivalry you need to be fully imbued with the sublimity of what you do, and to love this sublimity. If you do not do that, you will not have the true spirit of the knight.
You may say: “If we see ourselves in this light, we will become proud.”
No you won’t. You won’t because he who loves true sublimity, not the sublimity of his person, but the sublimity of his [fighting] vocation – and here is the question – the sublimity of that for which he was made, for which he was called, of what he has to do; he who was invited to this by grace and says yes, elevates himself instead of falling into pride.
It would be pride for him to imagine, “Look how formidable I have become! I am now a boss in this or that!” Then he falls into pride. But this is not chivalry.
Chivalry is for man to think, “I am a knight of God and of the Virgin and am here facing the adversaries, I’m in the battle.” This is chivalry.
It was much easier for a knight of the Middle Ages to become proud than for you. Because a man all decked up in armor, riding a horse in the street with everyone looking and finding it beautiful, would be like a man today riding around in a Rolls Royce or something of the sort. A great horse with a beautiful armor was the equivalent to a Rolls Royce today, but with much more elevation than even a Rolls Royce today. Well, while that man was still moving about in Christian lands, he would feel the object of general admiration, and so it was very easy for him to become proud.
Today you almost run the opposite risk: that of losing your combativeness for not having the courage to look at the sublimity of your [fighting] vocation and be conscious of your dignity, walking with your heads high knowing that others will mock and despise you, etc. This is what we must do.
Well, so in order for you to acquire the spirit of chivalry you need to acquire more and more the notion of the marvel that you are carrying out.
(Excerpt from a Tea, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1989 – Nobility.org translation)