In this month of attention to flags, freedom, fireworks and fun, it may be appropriate to focus on the virtue of patriotism to broaden its meaning. We can read Johnny Cash’s words: “I’m mighty proud of the ragged old flag” or think proudly of the inscription on our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free…” but do we, can we, extend our feeling of patriotism and love of our country to every other country’s citizens? Patriotism is not simply some mere feeling; it is an integral part of the logic of who we are as persons.
Pope Francis, in Fratelli Tutti, points out our tendency to limit our experience of patriotism as nationalism “but that, as human persons, we need to open our hearts to the entire world! The real worth of a country, of my country, is measured by ‘its ability to think not simply as a country but also as part of the larger human family’” (141).
Likewise, Chiara Lubic of the Focalore community, asks the question: “What would the world be if not only individuals, but whole races and nationalities, practiced the ‘Golden Rule’ in this form: “Love the other’s country as you love your own…”?
Really? Love the other’s country as I love my own? Would we be planning for war to the number of trillions of dollars and thousands of deaths on either side of our ammunition and lost buildings, treasures, and land?
Renée Domeier, OSB
Photo: Provided by Pexels.com