The Knights of Divine Mercy apostolate seeks to awaken in men the eager desire for a knight’s true calling: The quest for holiness and a restoration of the sacred.
The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the primary goal of the Christian re-conquest of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. So great was the pope’s speech in Clermont, France on that day that the crowd was inspired to cry out: “It is the will of God!” “It is the will of God!” (Deus Vult!, Deus Vult!). This became the battle cry as brave and noble knights sought to recover that holy ground.
In our intensely secularized modern world, the need to reclaim the surrendered ground of the sacred has never been greater. Nearly a century ago, Pope Urban II stressed the need to “reclaim the sacred” … today Pope John Paul II, in his January 6, 2000 Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, calls all of us to put aside all fear and pursue daring apostolic goals which are rooted deeply in prayer. Pope John Paul II’s clarion call is for a return to our first priority, The Universal Call to Holiness: “All Christian faithful … are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”
The Knights of Divine Mercy respond wholeheartedly with … “DEUS VULT!” (It is the will of God!)
Yes, there is a need to recover a sense of the sacred in our Church and in our world, but this endeavor cannot be accomplished without, first, attending to the great quest of seeking our own personal holiness. Without this as our priority, all efforts to reclaim the sacred are empty.
Therefore, knights are not content to live what Pope John Paul II calls a “life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethics and a shallow religiosity” (Novo Millenio Ineunte, 31). Genuine knights come to see that the primary purpose of their lives is to seek holiness: “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes 4:3), and “You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)
“The time has come,” writes our Holy Father, “to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction. It is also clear however that the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ‘training in holiness’, adapted to people’s needs.” (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 31)
Pope John Paul II goes onto write: “This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer … Yes, dear brothers and sisters, our Christian communities must become genuine ‘schools of prayer,’ where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly ‘falls in love’”. (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 32, 33)
Because the Eucharistic Sacrifice “is the summit and the source of all Christian worship and life,” (Code of Canon Law, Canon 897) members of the Knights of Divine Mercy order their own lives above all to the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours and the sacraments—the primary sources of life and grace within the Church. The Sacrament of Penance plays an especially prominent role in their lives as a rich source of grace, particularly for those approaching the Eucharist.
Finally, the Knights of Divine Mercy feel that the call to holiness is addressed to all people in all ages. It is a radical call to, not only follow Christ in His teachings but also to follow His example—to “be holy as [He] is holy.” They answer this call and seek personal sanctity by imitating Christ in radical opposition to the values of this world. They wish to reclaim the sacred in the Church, in the world and in their own lives in pursuit not only of their own sanctification, but also the salvation and sanctification of all. They desire to be faithful to the call they have received from God to “Reclaim the Sacred” and seek to nurture a continuing renewal of the Christian life as fed by the mysteries of the liturgical patrimony of the Church.