The critical components for our Armor of Virtue are almost assembled. Faith first forged for us a shield. Hope next honed for us a helmet. Now charity – the third and final theological virtue – builds for us a breastplate.
In medieval times, the breastplate served two functions for a knight. The first was bodily protection. The other was the more public function of bearing images that reflected the knight’s social standing, such as the family crest or coat-of-arms. Even before he stepped into battle, a knight’s breastplate conveyed who he was and how he fit into the web of medieval relationships. It was up to the knight to rise or fall in status by his own acts of charity and bravery.