Monday, November 9, 2009

For Our Citizenship Is In Heaven...

What a depressing weekend. Between our congress selling out America's freedom to a madman Muslim extremist killing thirteen people on a military base and wounding 30 others - I was discouraged in a big way.

I headed for Mass yesterday morning, grateful for the opportunity to worship God, who I knew could handle all of my emotions. The Epistle from St. Paul to the Philippians was perfect and immediately shifted my perspective to a Kingdom-focused one:

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, {that they are} enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is {their} appetite, and {whose} glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long {to see,} my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in {the cause of} the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil. 3:17-21, 4:1-3 NASB)

As soon as I heard the word "citizenship," I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I cannot put into words how much I love my country. My great-grandparents on my mother's side came from Italy "on da boat" to make the United States their new home. They were so proud to be citizens and quickly found jobs as migrant workers, picking vegetables. My great-grandfather eventually started his own produce company, which still is in existence today, servicing many of Cincinnati's finer restaurants.

My husband can trace his family's lineage all the way back to John Adams. We both are filled with admiration and a strong sense of responsibility when we think of what our country's founding fathers accomplished. We also wonder if indeed we are in the midst of a "refounding" of our country and what part we play. So for me to recognize that my country's citizenship is not the only one I should be thinking about (let alone the most important) was a welcome wake-up call for me.

We are witnessing evil multiplying itself at an alarming rate. But instead of being alarmed, as heaven's citizens we know it has been foretold. Our free, peaceful nation has been an anomaly in the history of the world, not the norm. The world hated Christ when He came because He exposed the darkness. It is no different for His followers.

Today I read an excellent post by The Anchoress on the fabulous site, First Things. In The Shadow of the Jackboot is an excellent reminder to not be discouraged. In fact, the times that we now live in are providing profound opportunities to grow stronger in our faith, relying more than ever upon God's grace.

The post also links to our Holy Father's address at the Opening of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. It is beautifully comforting. Enjoy and remember.

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