The Moral Magisterium
A wise Italian Professor once told me:
“A man is not a Templar until he is a Templar in his heart.”
Not when he is Knighted, not when he puts on the pure white mantle, but when he understands in his heart that only by living the Templar virtues and making them part of his life has he realized what it truly is to be a Templar. It’s easy to say the words, it’s hard to live the life. It’s not natural to live the life of a Templar. It’s natural to seek revenge, to get mad and yell, to be impatient, to lie to avoid trouble, to live for monetary gain. It’s unnatural and difficult to take the virtues of the Templars to heart and live them out: Honesty, Loyalty, Perseverance, Charity, Humility, Courage, and Honor. When an initiate takes on the white robes of the Order, it is an outward sign of the heart. The Knight is philosophically leaving the worldly things behind and becoming a new and better being because the seed of that is nestled in their heart.
That same Italian Professor told me that the secret to his successful and growing Templar Priory in Italy is the: “Moral Magisterium.” He has written books and created courses to teach what the Moral Magisterium is. So what is this secret? This Italian Professor started me down the path of understanding the Moral Magisterium so let’s go down this path of understanding together. The “Moral Magisterium” is that transformative life changing process that allows us to grow from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It does not happen quickly, but is a slow change that takes practice and effort. The Moral Magisterium calls Templars to live according to a higher morality, a higher ethic, and this personal change allows us to positively affect our world. It makes the Templar virtues real in our lives. Then we live these virtues in our life and affect our sphere of influence.
Each man and woman has a sphere of influence: our families, our friends, neighbors, and the people we work with. As the Templars grow in numbers, they grow in influence and slowly change the world. The Moral Magisterium is contagious, it can’t help but grow and spread as others notice why we are different and live according to a higher call. They see that we live our life with purpose that they don’t have.
Some Templar Orders are like a Ferrari with no engine. They are a good show and flashy. They look great but after the pomp and ceremony, they are empty. It doesn’t take long before someone tries to start the engine and learns that it was all a show. There is nothing there after the knighting and the donning of the white mantle. This is when the Moral Magisterium needs to come in. The Moral Magisterium is when we learn to actually be Templars and take the Templar Virtues to heart so that we can learn to control our behaviors. We must make a choice to live the Moral Magisterium. This is when we become Templars in our heart.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.“
The Moral Magisterium faces us everyday with decisions where we know the easier choice is not the right thing to do. It will be the difficult path littered with obstacles. It will be the hard choices that personally cause us to feel like we have to grit our teeth and die to ourselves. The Moral Magisterium is the road less traveled that Poet Robert Frost so vividly described:
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
So what is key to arriving at the Moral Magisterium in our lives? It is through “sacrifice.” In 1146, Pope Eugenius III granted the Templars the privilege of wearing the Red Cross or Cross Patteé on their mantles as a symbol of their willingness to shed their blood in sacrifice for God. It remains a symbol of our willingness to make sacrifices in our own lives in our service to Jesus Christ. Sacrificing our desires builds character and discipline and unlocks the door to the Moral Magisterium. The road to the Moral Magisterium can not be traversed without making great sacrifices in our lives in holy service to our Lord.
That Italian Professor told me that each of us needs to discover for ourselves how we can apply the Moral Magisterium to our lives.