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The Future of America's Greatness Depends on Us

By John Horvat II

 

I am proud to be an American. This natural and wholesome emotion is born of patriotism and love for my country. Thus, I desire and pray that America will always be great. But what does it mean for America to be great? 

Contrary to the prevailing conventional wisdom, I do not believe America has lost its greatness. However, like everyone, I realize that this greatness is seriously threatened by the course we have set for ourselves. Its survival hinges on the decisions that we will now make.
American Soldiers

The key question before us is determining what we mean by greatness. There are those who associate greatness with bigness, power, or quantity. Thus, America is great because of her vast size, massive economic production or unmatched military might. These can truly be characteristics of great nations but they are not what make a nation great.

There are others who believe the foundation of our greatness is based on the many opportunities to enjoy life in America. They point to our American way of life in which people are encouraged to enjoy life to its fullest. Still others interpret greatness as the freedom to do whatever one pleases. All these goals often reflect legitimate self-interest, but do not necessarily confer greatness upon a nation.

If our greatness is measured by money, pleasure or self-aggrandizement, then our striving for greatness, no matter how vigorous, will inevitably fall short. For the greatness of nations is not found in things, quantities or delights, but in the character of its people.

Indeed, true greatness—that which endures the test of time—is born of a willingness to go beyond the common and ordinary. It calls us to excel, to take heroic action and to serve causes that take us beyond ourselves. It asks us to resist the temptation to sink into soft mediocrity.

America is great because there have always been, and still are, those who are willing to take up the challenges of going beyond the easy and comfortable. As long as such Americans may be found at all levels in society, we will continue to be great.

And so I believe America is great because there still exists dedicated fathers and loving mothers who sacrifice together to give their children strong character and instill in them the difference between right and wrong.

That quintessentially American can-do attitude still exists, propelling society to strive toward excellence. Scratch the surface of the towns and cities across our nation, and one will find those Americans who overcome obstacles, take risks and set our standards high.

Happy FamilyAmerica will be great as long as there are those generous self-sacrificing Americans who step up to the plate, assume responsibility and become leaders in their communities, businesses and institutions.

As long as honor holds a place in our hearts, we will produce heroes with the courage to fight for what we know to be true and right. We will even have those who will make the sublime sacrifice of offering their lives for their country.

America will be great as long as we strive to be truly good. True goodness means placing God in the center of society, holding to His commandments as the rule of life and defending this higher law in the public square. We can be great—and expect God’s blessing—only if we remain faithful to a God that is almighty and great.

Such Americans are what makes the nation great. For them words like courage, honor, justice and duty still resonate in their hearts. They still hold dear their ties to God and His law. They grieve over the course the nation has taken.

However, the number of these Americans is fast dwindling as everything is being swept away by the frenetic intemperance of a society that thrives on instant gratification and spectacle. They are replaced by gaggles of shallow people, devoid of honor and character, who seek only to turn life into a huge carnival of fun and delights.

In these perilous times, many caricatures of greatness appear. The rule of honor is usurped by the rule of money. Greatness comes to signify vulgar displays of wealth, pleasure and power. A “great” person is one who does whatever it takes to keep the grand party going. Tragically, it can even mean severing our link with God when it obstructs the easy pursuit of whatever.

I ardently yearn for America to be great, but if that greatness be not true, and comes at the price of virtue, duty and honor, I prefer that we as a people say “no.” And if our “no" brings upon us the fury of those who promise the false greatness of the world, then so be it. For in that act of collectively saying “no,” America will have achieved a true greatness.

The questions that need to be addressed today are not those of taxes, jobs, economy or benefits. Although they are all important issues, they can more easily be resolved when sanity returns to the nation. We now enter a critical time when we must choose the path of true greatness over false, honor over money, God over the world. If we ardently desire a return to order, then we must be convinced that America can only be great if she is good and Godly. What will decide America’s future will be what has always decide her future—the character of her people.

 


This article originally appeared on tfp.org
And as seen on americanthinker.com 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 17, 2021

People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they lo...

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January 17

 

People hate the truth
for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth.
They love truth when it shines warmly upon them
and hate it
when it rebukes them.

St. Augustine of Hippo


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony’s parents died before he was twenty leaving him in...

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St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony was born in 251 in the village of Koman, south of Memphis in Egypt. Anthony’s well-to-do parents died before he was twenty leaving him in charge of a younger sister, and the owner of a considerable estate.

In 272, wishing to leave all to follow Christ, after securing his sister’s support and upbringing, he distributed his holdings among the poor, and retired to a life of solitude. He lived a life of penance, sleeping on a rush mat on the bare floor, eating and drinking bread and water. The devil was allowed to attack him grievously, on one occasion subjecting him to a beating that left him for dead, only to be saved by friends.  Anthony emerged victorious from all these trials.

At the age of thirty-five, the holy hermit moved from his solitude in the vicinity of his native village, to a location across the eastern branch of the river Nile where he made his abode in some ruins on the summit of a mountain. There he lived for twenty years, rarely seeing any man except one who brought him bread every so often.

St. Athanasius, his friend and first biographer, speaks of Anthony as not only spending his time in prayer and meditation but also in making mats. He also gardened.

At fifty-four, being sought out by men who wanted to follow his way of life, Anthony founded his first monastery in Fayum in a series of scattered caves, which he visited occasionally.

In 311 as religious persecution again broke out under Emperor Maximinus, Anthony left his solitude to give courage to the martyrs in Alexandria. When the persecution abated, he returned to his previous solitude. He later founded another community of monks near the Nile called Pispir, though he continued to live on his mountain.

Years later, at the request of the bishops, Anthony again journeyed to Alexandria to confute the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ. All ran to hear the holy hermit, and even pagans, struck by the dignity of his character, flocked around him. Heathen teachers and philosophers often sought him out, and were astounded at his meekness and wisdom.

Anthony died at age 101 surrounded by his spiritual sons in his hermitage on Mount Kolsim. His last words were, “Farewell, my children, Anthony is departing and will no longer be with you.” Thus saying, he stretched out his feet and calmly ceased to breathe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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