Category Archives: Culture

A Thomistic perspective in honoring the Fatherland


Independence Day Declaration of Independence.jpg

St Thomas Aquinas didn’t have a theological opinion on America’s Independence for obvious reasons, but he did have at least two thoughts on the virtue of the fatherland and a Catholic’s perspective in honoring one’s homeland. He sets in clear terms the proper order of our praise for our origins. Aquinas wrote:

“The virtue of
piety helps us pay worship not only to one’s father but also to one’s
fatherland” (II-II, Q. 102, a3).

And in another place he said, “Our existence and guidance in life come
primarily from God, secondarily from our parents and our native country. 
Religion gives expression to the faith, hope and charity which fundamentally
unite us to God; in the same way loyalty expresses the love we have for our
parents and native country” (II-II, Q101, a2). 

Flag Day

US flag2.jpgFlag Day is celebrated every June 14, in commemoration of the June 14, 1777 authorization by Congress making the “stars and stripes” a national symbol for the United States of America. Congress said: “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” The national observance of flag day came with President Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 proclamation establishing the day. In 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress naming June 14 as “National Flag Day.” More info can be found here.

My Knights of Columbus Council (Fr McGiveny Council 10705, New Haven, CT) and 4th Degree Assembly sold US flags over the weekend at Church. So, I am proud to say that a US flag is flying happily in front of my parents’ house. You may know that the 4th Degree of the KofC was the last of the four degrees instituted by the KofC, not known by Fr McGivney, but entirely consistent with the mission of the KofC. For more info on the 4th Degree, see this website.

There is a great human interest and patriotic story in today’s New Haven Register on a gesture of patriotism and empathy for our nation and for our soldiers serving abroad. I am happy that the context for this admiration for freedom and the flag which symbolizes our God-given freedom is Our Lady of Pompeii Church (East Haven, CT), my family’s parish church. Also, we have in the story an example of how young people can reach out to others. The Colombian Squires bring together faith and action in a fitting way.
Today is also a wonderful day to think of Father Michael Morris, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and professor of history at St Joseph’s Seminary who has a high love for flags, especially the US flag. He’s got a beautiful one flying in his office.

Where are you?

Creation of Eve Michelangelo2.jpg

The
very first question that God asks man in the Bible is, where are you?  “The Lord called to the man, and
said to him, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)  It is not a question that demands sophisticated answers nor
are there multiple answers to this question. Rather, it is a question of concern from a loving
father and the only demand placed upon this question is that one answers
truthfully, even if the truth exposes something to us that highlights our selfishness
and our need for God.

Before God asked Adam this question Adam had committed a
sin by disobeying God’s commandment and ate from the tree God had forbidden him
to eat from. Adam had forgotten
about God’s love and choose to place his own will and desires over the will and
desires of God. Now Adam, ashamed
and afraid (which is always the fruit of sin) tries to hide from God because he
realizes something dramatic has occurred in his relationship with the Lord. The Lord simply asks him, Adam, where
are you?

This question, as old as the Bible itself, God continues to ask us
today. Throughout our lives,
throughout each day, and often several times a day, God is continually asking
us, “My son or my daughter, where are you?  In other words, where is your heart right now?  Is it tired, frustrated, angry?  Is it overwhelmed by the demands of
life?  Is it engrossed in selfish
activities?  Is it immersed in lust,
pride, envy, jealousy, etc?  Is it
distracted by the things of this world?

When the Lord asks us this question it
is an invitation from him to turn our eyes away from the many distractions we
often promote and to turn our eyes once again towards Him. It is our Father, gentle tapping us on
the shoulder and calling us back to Him. 
Rather than living in future events, or reliving past wounds over and
over again it is an invitation to experience God in the present moment, the
only place where we can be guaranteed to encounter God.

Brother Jeremiah Myriam
Shryock, CFR, a Fourth Year Seminary Student Saint Joseph’s Seminary-Dunwoodie,
Yonkers, NY. Brother Jeremiah was ordained a deacon on May 29, 2010 with three
other Franciscan Friars of the Renewal by the Most Reverend Manual Cruz, an
auxiliary bishop of Newark. A poem of Brother Jeremiah’s, “After Eden,”  
was published here.

Memorial Day

SoldiersPrayer.jpgLet us pray for the women and men who gave their lives for freedom in the United States of America

We pray.

Almighty and ever-living God, on this day we remember the sacrifices made for us by those who were willing to give their lives to ensure that our own would be spent in freedom. Let us never forget to pray, not only for the dead, but also for those still living and working in the cause of freedom around the world.

As we celebrate and enjoy this time, give comfort and grace to those men and women who have sacrificed so much for our sake. Saint Martin, Saint George and Saint Joan of Arc: pray for the protection of our soldiers in their efforts, and bring them home safely at the end of their duties wherever home may be. Amen.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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