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Our Dual Citizenship: Weekly Message for 10-30-2018
Dear Digital Pilgrims, pax Christi:
As election day looms, many of us are thinking more than usual about the condition of our society and our world. Yet, before election day we will be celebrating two very other-worldly feast days: the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1st, and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.
Those liturgical celebrations remind us that we are citizens of two worlds: this fallen world, which will sooner or later come to an end, and the Kingdom of Christ, which “will have no end,” as we pray every Sunday in the Creed.
Citizens of Heaven
This dual citizenship requires a lot from us. On the one hand, this fallen world – along with the spiritual forces behind it – tirelessly tries to monopolize our attention and convince us that the meaning of life consists of making our private little heaven on earth (which is impossible, by the way). Resisting the deceptions and temptations with which this fallen world assails us is not easy. Our Retreat Guide dedicated to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, Fire of Mercy, can be a boost of energy in that regard. Even if you have already seen it, watching it again can be a real spiritual refresher.
Citizens of Earth
On the other hand, the Church has always made it clear that our heavenly citizenship should also make us better citizens of earthly society. Yes, we must resist worldliness to avoid the damage (possibly eternal) that it can do to our souls, but at the same time we must be fully engaged – each of us according to opportunities and possibilities – in building up a healthy local, national, and global community. How are we supposed to do that?
A whole branch of theology called Catholic Social Teaching is dedicated to identifying principles and practices that can guide us in that worthy endeavor. Introducing you to the authentic meaning of those principles – like the common good, human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity – is the goal of our latest online course: Spirituality and Society. If you haven’t explored that course yet, please do. It’s something close to my heart, something I have been teaching for a while now, and something I strongly believe is a necessary prerequisite for returning to a civil and intelligent debate about current social and political realities.
With election day looming, let’s not neglect either one of our citizenships. Let’s continue to be faithful pilgrims, but pilgrims who leave the land they pass through better than they found it.
Fr John Bartunek, LC, SThD