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The Prayer of the Order & The Eight Pointed Cross

The Daily Prayer of the Order of Malta

 

Lord Jesus, Thou has seen fit to enlist me

for Thy service amongst the Knights and Dames of St John of Jerusalem.

I humbly entreat Thee through the intercession of the most holy Virgin of Philerme, of St John the Baptist,

Blessed Gerard and all the Saints, to keep me

faithful to the traditions of our Order.

 

Be it mine to practise and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic,

the Roman faith against the enemies of religion;

be it mine to practice charity towards my neighbours,

especially the poor and sick.

 

Give me the strength I need to carry out this my resolve,

forgetful of myself, learning ever from Thy holy Gospel

a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion,

striving ever to promote God’s glory, the world’s peace,

and all that may benefit the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

 

Amen

 

 

 

The Eight Pointed Cross

The eight-pointed Cross which symbolises the Order represents the eight Beatitudes and is thus a visual memento of its spirituality. The brothers of the hospital in Jerusalem wore the cross on their church robes and mantles to honour God and the Holy Cross.

 

The four arms of the cross symbolise the four cardinal virtues.

 

Prudence – Good Judgement

Justice – Fairness

Temperance – Moderation in all things

Fortitude – Courage to stand up for what is right

 

The eight points of the cross symbolise the Beatitudes, the Christian principles blessed by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10).

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle,

for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right,

for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

 

And blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you, falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.

In the 13th century the mantle with the white cross was given to the new Knights with the following words: “This cross was given white to us as a sign of purity, which you must carry in your heart as you wear it externally, without spot or blemish.

The eight points that you see in this are a sign of the eight beatitudes that you must always have in you, and they are: 1) to have spiritual contentment, 2) to live without malice, 3) to weep over your sins, 4) to humble yourself at insults, 5) to love justice, 6) to be merciful, 7) to be sincere and openhearted, 8) to suffer persecution.

All these virtues you must engrave on your heart, for the consolation and preservation of your soul. And for that reason, I command you to wear it openly sewn on your clothing, on the left hand side of the heart and never to abandon it.”

 

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