By Msgr. Joe McGrath
Due to 800 years of suppression and domination by an outside power and the presentation of the history of that period almost exclusively in terms of armed resistance, PATRIOTISM in the Irish mind has been narrowed down to mean engaging in a physical struggle for national freedom. Consequently most of our national commemorations deal exclusively with patriotism at that level.
And it is quite correct that we continue to do so because the freedom we enjoy today is due to the ultimate sacrifices made by those on whose shoulders we stand.
As the years go by and each new generation is further distanced from those events of our recent history, the sense of connectedness is much harder to maintain. Coupled with that , the world now is small place. World values and influences dominate in every culture. Nationalism has been submerged by internationalism. The above definition of Patriotism would have little meaning for present generations.
Dictionaries provide a wider definition of Patriotism…” a feeling of love, devotion and a sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment” (Wikipedia).
To put it simply and practically, we could say that PATRIOTISM IS A COMING TOGETHER OF A PEOPLE FOR THE COMMON GOOD.
Therefore, in light of that understanding, patriotism is as vital today as ever before. To misquote a famous saying “commeth the hour, commeth the people’.
Given the devastating and deadly circumstances created by the Corona Virus, the hour has surely come for us to COME TOGETHER (not physically however!) FOR THE COMMON GOOD. Families, schools, workplaces etc., are communities to which we belong. Each of those groupings are made up of individuals. The success of each depends on the commitment of the individual member.
In the case of C19 this is even more true. Our communities depend totally on the PATRIOTISM of every individual in abiding strictly by the guidelines. We need to sacrifice our own wishes for the common good. Our sacrifices may not be as worthy of national recognition as those who died for freedom but they are no less vital for the safety and survival of those around us.
WE ARE ALL CALLED TO A PRACTICAL PATRIOTISM TODAY