Saturday, June 27, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, I've been pondering what it means to be a good citizen lately. Obviously, we belong--precendently and ultimately, as Neuhaus says--to the heavenly city. Eternity is a very long, um, NON-time; all our earthly joys and duties are nothing in that final perspective. No matter his country, his loyalites, his failures, every citizen of an earthly kingdom will in the end leave and be relieved of that kingdom.


Our final destination, the eternal city, also provides the very reasons we have for our loyalty to and service of our earthly city. Most of us reading around here agree that our own lives have a purpose and the circumstances in which we were born--our family, our nation--are given and ordained to be our place in which we will live out our own particular choice for or against the city of God.

Longing for heaven will express itself in concern for, and perhaps even love of, our place in history--for our family and nation--as gifts.

"And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." (Jeremiah 29:7)

So, I would add to the quote from Neuhaus yesterday that we must be able to account for the good and just present in our nation but also be willing to pray, suffer, and strive for its welfare. Nauhaus would agree, I'm sure. For him, true service and love can only come about through knowledge, especially of "the constituting moment and subsequent history of [America]." Origins and final end are everything--they are the roadmap to peace for this city.

Here's where the labor comes in: history and constitutional law are tricky. But it helps to keep the basic questions in mind. Who were the founders? What did they say (read their actual documents with a clear mind)? What were the early sins of the nation? How were they extirpated? What were its triumphs? How were they preserved? A poet, who I can't find in a quick Google search, once said the greatness of America was its ability to sorrow over its sins. That's not far off.

Onward to more vacationing! The mind must take these thoughts in little sips.

1 comment:

Kris R said...

Hello, Philosopher Mom. I just found your blog and enjoy your writings and your perspective very much. I was wondering where you were going to go with your comments on being a good citizen (in America). You quoted someone who said: the greatness of America was its ability to sorrow over its sins. That reminds me of de Tocqueville's summary of what he found in America in the 19th century. After seeing so many Christian churches in the country, even out in the wilderness, and after observing the Christian character of the American people he said, "America is great because America is good." I'm struggling now with admitting that in so many ways, the American culture is no longer "good" and with the fact that this allows a certain faction to take over our nation and change even its political structure. I generally take a long, historical view of things, so now I wonder, as a Catholic, how will I feel about doing my civic duties in our future world? Perhaps like the early Christians did in the Roman Empire. It is interesting that in your second posting on this subject you put the focus on the City of God, our final destination. Kris R