The following is a commentary by Dr. Plinio Correa De Olivera.
In our day, the sword has been surpassed as a weapon of war by far more potent arms. The modern soldier nowadays does not sharpen his sword for battle. Inadequate to defend its bearer against modern lethal weaponry, the sword has been eliminated from twentieth-century arsenals.
Although no longer used in combat, the sword retains such symbolic value that one cannot imagine an officer at a solemn event without it.
Consider, too, that in those countries with academies of letters that use uniforms, the academicians wear swords on special occasions.
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but a distinguished scholar’s peers present him with a majestic sword instead of a pen during the scholar’s honor induction. Furthermore, some diplomats still use swords on formal occasions.
Why does the sword retain such power as a symbol despite its obsolescence as a weapon? It does so because the sword preserves its heroiclegacy as a badge of chivalry and guardian of human dignity. For this reason, a sword is exquisitely crafted with only the very best materials.
It may be embellished with gold, silver and precious gems, but the richest adornment the bearer of ardent faith bestows to any sword is a sacred relic of the bearer’s favorite saint in the sword’s pommel.
During the Middle Ages, the sword assumed legendary proportions it did not possess in antiquity. The people of the Middle Ages regarded the sword with a certain profundity, esteeming it as a symbol of man’s God-given nobility.
When a king is crowned, he always wears a sword. In any solemn ceremony that has not been stripped of all elevation and pomp by the levelers of modern egalitarianism, a sword is used.
What would give a son deeper satisfaction: to say, “My father left me his Cadillac” or “My father left me his sword”? Inheriting a profitable business may enrich one’s purse, but far richer is the soul of the son who can say, “My father left me the sword with which he defended Christian civilization. He died a hero in battle, leaving me only the sword he wielded for Christ.” Such a sword should be kept in a chapel, for that is the home most befitting a relic.
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