The Sword is the Word of God!

Depiction of Heaven, Earth, and Hell inside the Holy Savior Cathedral, Iran.

Immaculate Heart of Virgin Mary (pbuh)

For thousands of years swords have been the weapon of choice for mankind, however in Christian scripture the sword is a supernatural substance that is first recorded to have been made by the angels, angels or sons of God (Book of Enoch). The Genesis account says Tubal-Cain made cutting instruments (Genesis 4:22), and the sword has many associations with God Himself.

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."

— Jesus Christ, English Standard Version (Luke 6:27–31) - Sermon on the Mount

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." – Ephesians 6:10-18

"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28).

Geoffroi de Charny's "Book of Chivalry" expounded upon the importance of Christian faith in every area of a knight's life, though still laying stress on the primarily military focus of knighthood.

The miles Christianus allegory (mid-13th century), pictured above shows a knight armed with virtues and facing the vices in mortal combat. The parts of his armour are identified with Christian virtues, thus correlating essential military equipment with the religious values of chivalry: The helmet is spes futuri gaudii (hope of future bliss), the shield (here the shield of the Trinity) is fides (faith), the armour is caritas (charity), the lance is perseverantia (perseverance), the sword is verbum Dei (the word of God), the banner is regni celestis desiderium (desire for the kingdom of heaven), the horse is bona voluntas (good will), the saddle is Christiana religio (Christian religion), the saddlecloth is humilitas (humility), the reins are discretio (discretion), the spurs are disciplina (discipline), the stirrups are propositum boni operis (proposition of good work), and the horse's four hooves are delectatio, consensus, bonum opus, consuetudo (delight, consent, good work, and exercise).

A sword can also be found in Jesus’ words: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)

"Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," (Ephesians 6:17)

In a spiritual way Paul urges us to put on armor of God, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephensians 6:11)

“Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness” (Nephi 1:23)

The Breastplate of righteousness was one of the main pieces of armor that protected the “more vital parts of the body” for Nephite soldiers (Alma 43:38). In one battle, Zarahemnah, the leader of a Lamanite-Zoramite-Amalekite coalition, claimed that the Nephites’ military prowess was simply due to their “cunning” in preparing themselves with “breastplates and … shields,” (Alma 44:9), which no one in Zarahemnah’s army had (Alma 43:21).

The Nephites’ most important advantage was due to their being “inspired by a better cause” (Alma 43:45), for Captain Moroni had “inspired their hearts with … thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage” (v. 48). Like a breastplate, the righteousness of their hearts proved to be the most vital protection against their enemies.

A flaming sword is found in Genesis 3:24. When man had fallen out of fellowship with God because of sin, God expelled him out of the Garden of Eden. To keep the way of the tree of life, He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Angels are described as a flame of fire (Heb. 1:7; cf. II Kings 2:11) and are often seen with a sword drawn in hand (as we shall see), so perhaps this was an angel protecting the tree of life. Historically speaking, the next we see of it is in heaven (Rev. 22:1,2). Eternal life is God’s and God’s only to give (John 14:6).

Archangel Uriel is often identified as a cherub and the angel of repentance represented as being as pitiless as any demon. He "stands at the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword", or as the angel who "watches over thunder and terror". Uriel means "God is my Light" and is known as the regent of the Sun.

The Anglican intercessional prayer to Saint Uriel the Archangel is as follows;

Oh Holy Saint Uriel, intercede for us that our hearts may burn with the fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Assist us in co-operating with the graces of our confirmation that the gifts of the Holy Spirit may bear much fruit in our souls, Obtain for us the grace to use the sword of truth to pare away all that is not in conformity to the most adorable Will of God in our lives, That we may fully participate in the army of the Church. Amen.

Drawing upon medieval ascetic ideals, Knight Geoffroi de Charny presents the life of the knight as a sort of passion of suffering and danger. He claims that the trials associated with the knight’s lifestyle outshine even the harshest penances imposed upon monks, thus making it of greater spiritual worth. Moreover, the knight’s life is full of peril and the possibility of dying any time, any place. Thus, Charny concludes his book by pointing out that awareness of their own mortality forced knights, more than any other sector of society, to be prepared at any moment to meet their Creator.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." - Psalms 23:4 King James Version

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee." - Ezekiel 25:17

In the Christian faith, Jesus Christ (pbuh) is the Lord and the Truth, everything else is this world is Falsehood and Illusions, it is through his word that we can cut through those falsehoods and illusions like a sword...


“He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” (Lk 22:36)

From the Crusader Bible, c. 1240

Can Weapons Be Blessed? Should They?

Yes to both. There are several specific blessings for weapons in the Catholic tradition: swords, body armor, battle crosses, military banners…

Because in fact, weapons have been blessed for centuries in the Roman Catholic tradition. They are, after all, tools of a morally neutral character. Therefore, weapons both can and ought to be put to virtuous use (particularly when that use involves the defense of life and the sacred), and blessings are conferred on them to precisely that end.


This blessing is from the traditional Rituale Romanum (which any priest can use, at any time):

This form may be used by any Priest for the blessing of anything that does not have its own special blessing in the Roman Ritual:

Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.

Let us pray. God, whose word suffices to make all things holy, pour out Thy blessing on this object (these objects); and grant that anyone who uses it (them) with grateful heart and in keeping with Thy law and will, may receive from Thee, its (their) Maker, health in body and protection of soul by calling upon Thy Holy Name; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

It is (they are) sprinkled with holy water.

Pope Alexander III conferring a blessed sword upon Doge Ziani

Because the Church “prays as she believes” (lex orandi, lex credendi), few things can better illustrate the true fighting spirit of Catholicism than the Church’s ancient blessings for various battle implements. Below are some English translations (thanks to NLM’s Gregory DiPippo) of four different blessings in the old Pontificale Romanum, the liturgical book reserved to bishops and abbots that was first standardized by Pope Clement VIII in 1595, though its earliest manuscripts date from the 800s.

The images are taken from a Clementine Pontificale of 1595, along with the main texts of each blessing (sans versicles and complete rubrics). Links to full Latin texts are at bottom, so somebody should go publish an illuminated, Latin-English, hidebound tome of all these blessings for traditional Catholic warriors while they’re working on a booklet for hunters.


Let us pray. May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, descend upon this armor, and upon him that weareth it, that he may defend justice. We ask Thee, Lord God, that Thou protect and defend him, that livest and reignest, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty God, in Whose hand rests full victory, and who gave marvelous strength to David that he might subdue the rebel Goliath, we ask for Thy clemency in this humble prayer, that of Thy great holiness Thou may deign to bless this armor, and grant to Thy servant who desires to wear it, that he may use it freely and victoriously for the protection and defense of Holy Mother the Church, of orphans and widows, against the assaults of enemies visible and invisible. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The armor is sprinkled with holy water.


Let us pray. Deign Thou to bless this sword, we ask Thee, Lord; and with the guard of Thy holiness defend this Thy servant, who at Thy inspiration desires to receive it, and keep him from every harm. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The bishop sprinkles the sword with holy water, then hands it to the person who is to receive it as the latter kneels before him, saying:

Receive this sword, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and may thou use it for thy defense, and that of the Holy Church of God, and to the confounding of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and of the Christian faith: and as far as human frailty shall permit, may thou harm no one with it unjustly. And may He deign to grant this to thee, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, etc.


Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, Who art the blessing of all, and the might of the triumphant, look in mercy upon our humble prayers, and sanctify this banner, that is prepared for the use of war, with a heavenly blessing; that it may be mighty against opposing and rebellious nations, and surrounded by Thy protection, and be terrible to the enemies of the Christian people, the strengthening of them that trust in Thee, and certain confidence of victory. For Thou art God, that puttest an end to wars (Judith 16, 3) and grantest the help of heavenly defense to them that hope in Thee. Through Thy only Son our Lord, etc.

The bishop sprinkles the banner with holy water, then hands it to the person who is to receive it as the latter kneels before him, saying: Receive this banner, sanctified by a heavenly blessing, and may it be terrible to the enemies of the Christian people, and may the Lord give thee grace, that at His name, and to His honor, with it thou may pass in might both safe and sound through the bands of the enemies. He then gives the man the kiss of peace, saying “Peace to thee”; he that has received it kisses the bishop’s hand and departs.


For those who go forth for the help and defense of the Christian Faith, or for the recovery of the Holy Land.

Almighty God, who didst dedicate the sign of the Cross by the precious blood of Thy Son, and who through the same Cross of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, didst will to redeem the world, and through the power of the same venerable Cross delivered the human race from the decree of the ancient enemy; we humbly beseech Thee, that Thou deign with Thy paternal goodness to bless this cross and impart to it the power and grace of heaven; so that whoever shall bear it upon himself as the sign of the Passion and Cross of Thy Only Begotten Son, for the protection of his body and soul, may also be able to receive the protection of Thy blessing. Just as Thou didst bless the rod of Aaron to drive away the faithlessness of the rebels, so also bless Thou this sign with Thy right hand; and against all the wiles of the devil, lay upon it the power of Thy defense, that it may confer upon those who bear it prosperity of salvation in both soul and body, and multiply in them the gifts of the Spirit.

The bishop sprinkles the pectoral cross with holy water, and then says the following prayer over the one who will receive it. Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, who art the true and almighty God, splendor and image of the Father, and life eternal; who proclaimed to Thy disciples, that whoever would come after Thee must deny himself, and taking up his cross, follow Thee; we ask Thy boundless clemency, that Thou protect always and everywhere this Thy servant, who according to Thy word, desireth to deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Thee, and for the salvation of Thy chosen people hasten to fight against our enemies; deliver him from all dangers, and release him from the bond of sin, receive his vow and bring it to the desired effect. Do Thou, o Lord, who art the way, the truth and the life, and the strength of them that hope in Thee, guide well his way, and grant him all success; so that amid the difficulties of this present age, he may be ever directed by Thy aid. Send to him, o Lord, Thy angel Raphael, who was the companion of Tobias on his journey, and delivered his father from bodily blindness; as he cometh and goeth, may he be his defender against all the snares of the enemy, visible and invisible, and drive from him all blindness of both mind and body. He then sits, and lays the cross upon him, saying:

Receive the sign of the Cross, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as a figure of the Cross, the Passion and the death of Christ, for the defense of thy body and soul, that by the grace of the divine goodness, thou may return to thine own safe and reformed when thy journey is completed.


Those prayers alone can put the “militant” in Church Militant.

Little wonder, then, that three of the four were entirely scrapped from the Pontificale by Pope John XXIII in 1961, with the fourth (the blessing of a cross) being edited and revamped for use as a bishop’s pectoral cross blessing. Notice that this was just before the opening of the Second Vatican Council, in anticipation of the more “ecumenical spirit” soon to prevail in the hierarchy. It must be considered the highest impiety and irreverence to simply throw out such beautiful and powerful rites – blessings that have been in use from the days of Charlemagne or even earlier at the whim of one Pope who wished not to offend anyone!

Even so (as one liturgical scholar similarly suggests), given the 1,000+ year patrimony of these ancient and venerable rites, we maintain by normal Catholic principles that these Pontificale blessings can and ought to still be used, even ad hoc by individual bishops who are, after all, the chief liturgists and highest authority within their dioceses. We could certainly still benefit from them, and more of the same.

“May we return from the Altar like lions breathing fire!” – St. John Chrysostom