SummaryPatriotism is more than sentiment; it is a Catholic virtue. Jennifer Hansen shares 6 tips in a quick guide of how to serve God through being a good citizen.
Am I the only one who cries in church every time we close Mass with a patriotic song?
There is something very Catholic about honoring our homeland. Here are some ways to foster patriotism in your home.
1. The Saints Who Built Our Nation
Learn about the Catholic history of our great nation. The missionaries, religious, and Catholic citizens of the past deserve our gratitude and respect, for they created the country we have today.
Hospitals, orphanages, schools, universities, and charitable outreach for the poor are just some of the great contributions made by early Catholics, even when Catholicism in the colonies was illegal or at least frowned upon. Our national history owes much to the Catholic Church and her faithful.
These parts of history are forgotten or ignored in most mainstream history books. On top of providing your children with solid Catholic history books, like those published by Seton, make it a point to learn more yourself about Catholic history in the New World.
Visit historic missions and churches. Read about the great saints like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mother Cabrini, and Father Farmer who sacrificed so much to serve others in this new country of ours. Lastly, stand up for and be proud of being an American Catholic.
2. All Gave Some, Some Gave All
Pray for our armed forces, active and veteran, and the repose of the souls of those lost in battle on patriotic holidays. Remind your children that Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day aren’t about parades and barbecues; they are a time to stop and reflect on what has been sacrificed for our freedoms.
Our military has fought for freedom for over 300 years. The rights and privileges that we enjoy were not just handed over to us; they were paid for with the blood of our countrymen. My grandfather served two tours in Vietnam, one tour in Korea, and fought in World War II. Though I never met him, I am so proud that he served his country well as a career serviceman.
My great-uncle, another great man in my family’s history, fought in Japan during WWII. When we pause in silence on Veteran’s Day, cheer for the war veterans in the Memorial Day parade, or join together in patriotic songs on Fourth of July, I think of these great ancestors of mine, along with countless others, including friends and cousins, who have given their lives to keep us safe and free.
As a family, take a few minutes, even if only on the major, national holidays, and thank God for these selfless men and women. Pray also for their families on the homefront who sacrifice much so that we may live in peace.
3. Sing of God and Country
Learn patriotic songs that honor God as the leader and revered Head of our nation. One of my fondest and most vivid memories of primary school is of my music teacher, Mrs. Hubmaster, leading us in rousing patriotic hymns. My Country Tis of Thee, Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, and America the Beautiful are etched in my memory and in my heart because of this dear lady. Yes, we were learning how to sing in unison and on key, but more importantly, we were learning to love our country and praise our LORD.
One thing that Mrs. Hubmaster always taught us was to sing out, no matter how fine-tuned or out-of-tune our voices seemed. When those old familiar tunes start playing, I can’t help but sing with all I have. Don’t be afraid as parents to sing your heart out—and embarrass your children—whenever these songs are sung in your presence.
Our country and our God, who has blessed America so abundantly, are worthy of praise and honor. It is said that singing is praying twice, and our nation needs prayer now more than ever.
4. I’ll Say A Little Prayer for You
When national tragedies strike, big or small, we often feel powerless to help. There is, however, one way that your family can serve our country well, and grow in patriotism—pray! Choose a special devotion or novena that is appropriate for the situation—it could even be the rosary since the Blessed Mother is our patroness—and dedicate time as a family to pray for a resolution of the problem.
By praying for our country, for victims of natural or manmade disaster, and for God’s help in whatever problem is most pressing, you are teaching your children the unselfish and beautiful practice of intercessory prayer. It is a gem that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
5. God Grant Us Mercy, Peace, and Guidance
Pray for our leaders, especially when you don’t agree with their policies. Our country is so divided it seems, but we still owe our leaders respect, and they still need our prayers. In the end, God is the ultimate judge and governor of us all. He is the Author of history.
Praying for our leaders invites God into our land, the land that He blessed, and opens the door for sweeping change within the hearts and souls of those in charge.
Even with prayer and respect, there are times that call for righteous anger when our leaders do not serve us well. Explain to your children why certain laws offend God and are against His Plan for His people. Our laws need to be grounded in moral law to keep us safe, prosperous, and free.
Some laws are not just fiscally irresponsible policy; they are misuse of the treasure God has lent us. They aren’t just infringements on our civil rights; they are laws that go against our God given rights. The framers of our Constitution knew the importance of God’s role in our success and future.
We must continue to push for laws that serve God’s purpose and plan, not just man’s desires.
6. Rock the Vote!
I was very blessed to have known and loved my great-grandmother, Nonnie, for over 15 years. She had so much to share and teach. One thing that she always made a point of teaching us was the importance of voting. She had lived through not being allowed to vote, and so once she had that right, she proudly voted in every election big or small for the rest of her life.
Voting is something that most of us take for granted. However, voting is a civic duty and a privilege not afforded to most of the rest of the world. The right to vote is not a given; it is something that can be taken away.
Unless we make it a point to always vote and stay informed in local, regional, and national politics, we cannot guarantee this very precious privilege will always be available. You have a voice; stand up and use it.
But what about when voting doesn’t make sense or appeal to you? You still have a duty, and must weigh your options carefully. We have one of the most heated presidential campaigns ever going on right now.
There are so many options, but seemingly not enough at the same time. It all comes down to serving God AND Country. You must vote your conscience and stay true to your faith.
Still don’t know whom to vote for? Worried about how the chips, or chads, will fall?
Fall to your knees and pray. Pray silently, pray in groups, pray as a family.
Ultimately, pray the greatest prayer that can be said, “Thy Will be done!” as you enter the voting booth this election day, for He has already won this election!