Avoiding the chaos on Super Tuesday, I went down to the election commission at the courthouse annex in Murphy, NC, and voted early. Fortunately, this is not one of the counties in North Carolina which has trouble in sending out ballots to active Military personnel and citizens overseas; their votes count. I made sure to ask if these early votes here in the county are counted, as it were, instead of just being thrown into the box for use only upon court adjudication after a contested election. They’re counted in an ongoing fashion, I was told, so that they are the first votes in a continuum. Great!
I think voting is important, so I put up the “I Voted Today!” red-white-and-blue sticker given the election commission to those who vote just after voting on the back window of Sassy the Subaru. Just because the sticker has a USA flag motif doesn’t make this a partisan move on the part of the election commission. And although I am an official representative on a local level of a mainstream church, and retain the right to express my private political opinions in the public square, I don’t have anything partisan displayed anywhere, not on my person, not on my vehicle, not at the rectory, well, unless the USA flag, the Vatican flag at the rectory, and some USMC pride on Sassy the Subaru are partisan. They shouldn’t be.
You can’t be too patriotic. Either you’re patriotic or you’re not. It’s a virtue. “For God and Country” – Pro Deo et Patria, or, as my license plate reads: [4G0D4ALL]. If you’re exaggerated either way (and you can be, either way) it’s no longer about the family of one’s fatherland, so to speak, respecting others, helping others, but instead it’s all just about yourself at the cost of others, at the cost of one’s patria, one’s fatherland. Thus, we have a suspect bomber guy, now assisting with interrogations, as it should be.
Ironically, the best way to be a good citizen of one’s patria, fatherland, here on earth is to know that we are all in exile upon this earth, away as we are from our heavenly homeland, where Jesus will bring us face to face with our dearest Heavenly Father.
We call to mind something written waaaay back in the day, some say the first century, some say later, the letter to Diognetus (here with chapters 5 and 6):
CHAPTER 5 — 5:1 For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. 5:2 For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practise an extraordinary kind of life. 5:3 Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are. 5:4 But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. 5:5 They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. 5:6 They marry like all other men and they beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring. 5:7 They have their meals in common, but not their wives. 5:8 They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they live not after the flesh. 5:9 Their existence is on earth, but their
citizenship is in heaven. 5:10 They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives. 5:11 They love all men, and they are persecuted by all. 5:12 They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. 5:13 They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. 5:14 They are dishonoured, and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. 5:15 They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. 5:16 Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life. 5:17 War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility.
CHAPTER 6 — 6:1 In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world. 6:2 The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the divers cities of the world. 6:3 The soul hath its abode in the body, and yet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode in the world, and yet they are not of the world. 6:4 The soul which is invisible is guarded in the body which is visible: so Christians are recognised as being in the world, and yet their religion remaineth
invisible. 6:5 The flesh hateth the soul and wageth war with it, though it receiveth no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hateth Christians, though it receiveth no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures. 6:6 The soul loveth the flesh which hateth it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them. 6:7 The soul is enclosed in the body, and yet itself holdeth the body together; so Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they themselves hold the world together. 6:8 The soul though itself immortal dwelleth in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amidst perishable things, while they look for the imperishability which is in the heavens. 6:9 The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. 6:10 So great is the office for which God hathappointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.
2 responses to “Too patriotic? Voting early! Bombs? Letter to Diognetus (5-6).”
Yes, this is something good to read…especially as we watch the people coming up from Mexico…ay yi yi…Please God, let no one be killed when they get to the US border. I can’t even imagine and I am so lazy I don’t want to even think about it because I don’t think it will be good.
On another note, the guy arrested for mailing suspicious clocks or whatever definitely had more than 8 bumper stickers on his vehicle. I was told to watch out for anyone who had more than 8 bumper stickers : /
Thanks for the Letter to Diognetus.
Thank you, too, Father. I enjoy reading that letter. My memory is not what it used to be, so I often refer back to it after having a conversation that touches upon Christians living in the world – thinking to myself “this is what I should have conveyed.”
Just as there is a vocation to single life outside of Holy Orders, whereby such persons may tread in circles that might not tolerate the presence of consecrated Religious, and thereby bring along Christ (where two or three are gathered in My name…), there, also, are writings outside of Holy Scripture that may serve to lead one to the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
The letter to Diognetus, IMO, is one such writing. Bringing its contents into a conversation would serve well, I think, where Scripture is received by some like hot coals on the head.