Who Are the Knights of the Holy Eucharist?
A survey from the Pew Research Center found that 70.6% of Americans identify themselves as Christian and 22.8% of the population are unaffiliated with religion entirely.
While America is still a majority Christian nation, the religion has been in decline in the U.S. for quite some time now. However, you can still find pockets of people who put their relationship with something higher than them above earthly concerns.
One such group is known as the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, which is an active-contemplative Franciscan community.
Are you interested in learning more about this order? Let’s take a deep dive into who they are, what they believe, and how they live.
Who Are the Knights of the Holy Eucharist?
In 1998, Mother Angelica founded the Franciscan Brothers of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, who are dedicated to adoring Jesus. This order was founded on the feast of St. James.
Based in Nebraska, this order exists to serve the Church as well as the wider community. They believe that what ultimately matters is that all men and women achieve eternal salvation.
It is their goal to show people how beautiful and fulfilling a fully-lived Christian life can be. The men of this order pross to the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience while living a consecrated life in community. It is their hope that the example of their habits and lives will inspire others to strive for holiness and see beyond our physical, earthly existence.
The Knights strive to be like St. Francis in the pursuit of being instruments of reform and renewal. They hope to help others experience the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.
What Are the Eight Pillars of the Nights?
There are eight pillars on which the Knights of the Holy Eucharist live their lives. These are:
- Eucharistic: Devotion to the Eucharistic King
- Marian: Devotion to the Blessed Mother
- Ecclesial: Loyalty to the church and the supreme pontiff
- Franciscan: The Franciscan tradition, spirituality, and heritage
- Fraternity: A life of fraternity and community
- Prayer: A spiritual life of prayer and adoration
- Work: Life of service and work
- Apostolate: An apostolic life of eucharist evangelization
Let’s take a closer look at what each of these pillars really means.
The word Eucharist means “to show favor” and “thanksgiving.” To the Knights and Catholics as a whole, the Eucharist is the blood, body, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.
It is believed that Jesus Christ is personally present in the Holy Eucharist, as well as the entire Holy Trinity.
The Knights believe that the Eucharist “is the God-food of the God-Man,” meaning that this makes them empowered by God to do what is supernaturally possible but humanly impossible. It is their goal to transform each individual as well as the whole of the world so that they can have eternal salvation.
The self-sacrificial love of Jesus Christ is considered the heart and soul of the Eucharist. This pillar means that the Knights have whole-hearted devotion to the Eucharist King (Jesus).
This pillar refers to a genuine devotion to the Virgin Mary (the Blessed Mother.) Mary is an example that the Knight’s strive to live by in their consecrated lives. Jesus is considered to be the “Word made flesh,” and Mary received, gave birth, and adored Him.
St. Francis of Assisi, who we’ll discuss under the Franciscan pillar, was known to have an inexpressible and unspeakable affection for Mary.
Because of the necessity of being genuinely devoted to Mary, the Knights need to be familiar with the spiritual writings of St. Louis de Montfort. In his writings, he lays out a short, easy, and secure path which men can follow to reach a union with God and Jesus.
The Knights are loyal to the Catholic Church and see themselves as branches off of the stem of the Church. It is therefore a pillar of their beliefs that the authority of the Church is respected humbly.
Members are allowed to be ordained if they so choose. This is in imitation of the model of the Church. St. Francis was ordained a deacon, as he had a great respect and love for the priesthood.
St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic deacon, friar, preacher, and mystic. Born around 1181, he was canonized in 1228, which was a little under two years after his death.
The Knights describe St. Francis as a man who had a chivalrous heart. He loved without reservation when he loved. He felt seized by the call of God at one point in his life and decided to entrust himself to God alone and got rid of all of his possessions.
St. Francis is the principle patron of the Knights. The spirit and example of St. Francis is what animates the community and they use him as their model.
The Knights have a special devotion to the Passion of the Lord and the Stations of the Cross in accordance with Franciscan tradition. They are called both as individual men and as a community to live in penance and asceticism. It is believed that living a life of penance helps to foster readiness to give oneself generously in body, heart, and mind.
They encourage a wholesome spirit of asceticism. Self-denial, self-importance, jealousy, envy, and rivalry all work against what is possible in communal living.
Through a life of asceticism, they hope to be freed from all that holds them back from living fully in the truth.
The Knights live together as one family and as brothers. They are united by their devotion to Jesus Christ and they use their talents and personalities in order to serve fraternal life.
In their community, they support each other through prayer, honest communication, mutual encouragement, and sacrificial service.
While this is a fraternal community, this doesn’t mean your individual relationship with God gets lost among the crowd. Follow this link to learn more about how the Knights of the Holy Eucharist encourage individual spirituality.
Another pillar of the Knights is prayer. Prayer is considered the foundation of these men’s life and apostolate. They see prayer as “drinking from the wellspring of grace.”
Work and service is a part of the daily lives of the Knights. They do so in order to better imitate Christ, which means they also partake in manual labor.
It is important to them that work is balanced with prayer and is not seen as a replacement for prayer. They do believe, though, that work can be a form of contemplation and a prayer.
The Knights of the Holy Eucharist rotate their duties in the traditional work that is necessary for communal life to function. They also do work for the schools and parishes of the Church, as well as their other ministries and institutions. They may also serve other religious communities.
This eighth pillar refers to living “an apostolic life of eucharist evangelization and apostolate.” The mission of Christ as they see it leaves them very concerned about the conversion of sinners and unbelievers. They believe that the foundation of any apostolate is prayer.
How to Become a Knight
There are a number of requirements in order to become a Knight of the Holy Eucharist. A young man should:
- Have no legal responsibilities
- Be a single Catholic that is in good standing
- Have stability both physically and mentally
- Have graduated high school
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30
- Have a desire to serve rather than to be served
- Be able to perform strenuous manual labor
To live a consecrated life is rewarding and joyful, but also quite challenging. The way in which these men try to serve both the Church and the community as a whole is through:
- Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament
- Apostolic works, such as assisting the poor, giving spiritual talks, online evangelizing, and training alter servers
The Knights live a life that consists of work, prayer, and free time. This is a fraternal community in which everyone treats each other as a brother.
One of the most important duties of the Knights is to serve Holy Mass in both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass.)
The Knights of the Holy Eucharist: Is God Calling?
God can make himself known in our lives in a multitude of different ways. For some individuals, this might mean dedicating their lives to the service of a higher power in the form of joining a fraternal community such as the Knights of the Holy Eucharist.
Whether or not living a life in service of God in this way is right for you, it is uplifting to know that there are individuals willing to give up earthly distractions for a greater purpose. It is through the example of people who live principled lives that we can also better ourselves.
Did you find this article about the Knights of the Holy Eucharist interesting? If so, be sure to take a look at the rest of our blog for more fascinating articles!