As we approach Veteran’s Day and focus on the virtue of patriotism, I decided to reach out to a former student currently serving in the Navy. This is her personal reflection on the virtue of patriotism and how it shapes her Catholic worldview:
Virtue is an inner disposition toward goodness and enables one to give the best of oneself (CCC 1803). It involves going beyond ourselves to serve another–whether that be God, friends, family, or even a stranger; the virtues aid us in putting their needs ahead of our own. In particular, the virtue of patriotism means that we put the needs of our country first. Our country is our community. Its people are diverse and come from all walks of life; we have a responsibility to love and serve all. In being patriotic, we are not blind to the faults of the nation but rather love our country’s men and women such that we will the good of the nation.
Patriotism means that you can be grateful for all the good things about your home country and can seek to improve it towards the betterment of all. In the United States, we are lucky to have freedom and democracy and all the privileges that come with it; we can be grateful for the work that past generations have put in to make a free nation, and we can support those who work today to make our nation a fair and safe home for all its citizens. Patriotism, simply, is a love for where you live and those you live with–a love of country and our fellow man.
(My views do not represent the views of the Navy or the DoD.)
This month, the Church turns our attention to the holy souls in Purgatory and places before us the meaning of hope: to desire God above all things and trust Him for our salvation. We can pray and sacrifice for those who have gone before us. This act of love is healing for those who mourn and grieve the loss of a loved one, because it gives them something tangible to do. For example, visit the cemetery, offer Masses, pray, or reach out to people who may have recently experienced the passing of a loved one. May we walk through these days of November, lift those whom we love to God’s mercy, and hope that they are dwelling in the household of God.