Happy Fourth of July!
This year I am pausing to think about the virtue of patriotism. Even a cursory look at the news tells us that patriotism can no longer be taken for granted and is sometimes vilified.
Do we have a duty to love our country? Yes. Why?
One way to consider patriotism is found in having a proportionate love of country as the specific community where the Lord has given me life, support, and opportunity. It is no wonder that the Catechism of the Catholic Church touches upon it in paragraphs about the fourth commandment to honor father and mother:
In our brothers and sisters we see the children of our parents; in our cousins, the descendants of our ancestors; in our fellow citizens, the children of our country; in the baptized, the children of our mother the Church; in every human person, a son or daughter of the One who wants to be called “our Father.” CCC 2212.
Human families, parishes, cities, and nations are made up of persons. These communities are an expression of the loving providence of God.
The love and service of one’s country follows from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. CCC 2239
I think sometimes of an account written by a Catholic convert from atheism. Her objections to faith melted the more she contemplated that her love for her family had to be more than just chemical reactions in a highly evolved but meaningless arrangement of matter.
Because we have encountered uncreated love, through created beings, we owe to them a veneration of gratitude and respect. To love our families, parishes, city, and country does not mean that we are blind to faults. It is because we love that we can strive to improve every level of society.
Why do I love America? Because Jesus commanded me to “Love the Lord God with your whole heart, mind and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Enjoy the holiday. God Bless America.