United States of America in 2021

The bedrock of American identity, then, is the reality of a Creator. Stripped or forgetful of this, we are no longer America, and the dream thereof transmogrifies into a confusion of competing desires.

(Image: Luke Stackpoole/Unsplash.com)

Author’s note: This essay is a response to Carl E. Olson’s January 6, 2021 CWR editorial titled “Who are we, really, as Americans?”

New Tribalism

There is much confusion in America today, and our citizens need to get back to basics before we reach a point of no return. Institutional forces have muddied American cultural to the point that clarity and common sense seem like artifacts from a bygone age. One approach to clearing up the confusion is to stop and ponder the most basic principles of the nation’s founding. The United States was intended to be a country where individuals, not institutions, define our culture: rule by the People and for the People. Far too often over the last several decades this equation has been flipped on its head. Institutions—political, educational, legal—have come to consider themselves as the progenitors of culture rather than its protectors. This backward approach has led us to the cliff’s edge. It’s not too late to back away. We don’t have to jump into the abyss.

America (as elsewhere) has been embroiled in a culture war for the better part of a century. It is tearing our nation apart. People now adopt political identities—Woke, Deplorable, Globalist, Nationalist, Progressive, Conservative (to name several among many)—to the detriment of both individuality and reason. These group identities demarcate boundaries in the guise of e plurbis unum, “out of many, one,” in which many individuals are absorbed by this or that group. Instead of bringing people together, these boundaries pit groups against one another in New Tribalism. Identity groups based on race, gender, and political affiliation masquerade as individuals lacking common ground.

In this brave new world, the “one” springing from the “many,” the common ground envisioned by the Founders, has been fenced off into fiefdoms of intolerance. Here reason gives way to sophistry where the worst argument can appear to be the best and the best the worst. Micro-aggressions lead to gargantuan grievances. Forces of elitism gather under the banner of “Equity and Diversity” in our government, high-tech corporations (and others), and public education. In this dizzying display of irony, tolerance has become intolerable.

Common ground

Rather than promoting a forum for public discourse where all voices can be heard, we draw battle lines based on the likes of superficial differences of skin color or ethnicity. The result has been riots and censorship. Good citizens from all walks watch in horror as our cities burn, our Capitol is breached, our people die, and hate flourishes. “What went wrong?” is the question first and foremost on many a mind. It is the wrong question. To understand how we got to this point, we must look back to where the American experiment began and ascertain not what the Founders got wrong but what they got right.

To know where we are going, we must know where we have been. In the current climate, where history is under attack by those who would re-write it to gain power, when statues are destroyed and churches are burned, the map to the past leads to the City of Despair, not Utopia. The sins of our history have been placed under the microscope. The remainder of our past has been cast aside. Guilt burns through collective consciousness of America like the sun through an ant pinned under a magnifying glass. Many are mesmerized by the evils that men do. Captivated by the wicked, we forsake the good. I am reminded of Dante’s deepest circle of hell, where Satan’s stronghold has been designed to keep God out rather than the Prince of Lies inside.

If everyone takes a deep breath and pulls back, most Americans should be able to agree that our country was founded upon the concept of liberty and religious freedom. Freedom is our common ground. It is the foundation of the Common Good. Liberty—along with life and the pursuit of happiness—doesn’t belong to and isn’t the product of an institution. It does not belong to and is not created by politicians, professors, lawyers, or any other profession. It is the inalienable right of every citizen of the United States. Recognizing this fact is the genius of the Founders. Implementing it where there was and is a stew of competing political and ideological interests is easier said than done. Nevertheless, overall, a cursory glance at the history will reveal that the overall thrust behind the American story, despite bloody and shameful chapters, has been a striving for liberty.

Once more, however, as was the case with Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement, we find ourselves at a defining moment. How much are we willing to sacrifice for freedom? In the Revolutionary War, patriots refused to submit to the British Crown and so risked everything. In the Civil War, it was decided, at a great cost of American lives, that slavery is antithetical to liberty; the two cannot co-exist. Americans furthered the cause for equal justice during the Civil Rights Movement, and there they made significant gains.

Today, we are faced with a new challenge, equally as urgent as those movements that came before it. The cause is the same but the battleground is unfamiliar. Some, as always, who clamor for freedom, have ulterior motives. Others are now confused as to what the terms “freedom” and “liberty” actually mean. In a culture delirious from the poison of relativism, “freedom” can mean anything to anybody. Competing definitions are equal and none rise to the level of truth. This is the field of the enemy. The home-field advantage has been stolen by an invading force.

If we are to regain the advantage and continue the slow march towards liberty, it will be necessary to make a crucial distinction between the phrases to be free and the freedom to act. To be free from oppression is one thing. To act as a free individual is another. Both are necessary. One divorced from the other is like a one-sided coin, an absurdity. Nevertheless, each side of the coin must remain distinguishable from the other, both a heads and tails—two sides—are necessary for the existence of the coin.

Ideally, each American must be free from oppression to take a stance on being. To be free from oppression, however, is not enough. One must then act upon that freedom. They must act by taking a stand on being. One can choose to be a lawyer, a teacher, a politician, a pilot, a priest, or a ballerina. The ideal is for each citizen to have the freedom to take whatever stand on being he or she ascertains is best. For the initial act of taking a stand to remain viable, the individual must continue to act upon their freedom with one essential caveat: these actions must contribute positively to the Common Good. Liberty is a dynamic process, not a static idea wrapped up in a narrative of identity politics. In order to flourish, freedom must be enacted by citizens who understand that civic virtue begins with an acknowledgment of our common ground. The common ground is what we call America.

I propose a question: no matter your ethnicity, religion, politics, gender, or anything else, how does your individual identity help to fertilize our common ground? The soil is almost exhausted, and there is no time for it lie fallow. Invasive weeds from foreign political philosophies will flourish if we do not tend to the field.

Unity through singularity

The Declaration of Independence is a foundational document to American Identity. All parties, whether individual or group, must agree on this point if they are to be American. It is prudent to pause and reflect on the opening words:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Contained within this short passage is the essence of the American Dream. We are one people. Among these people are individuals with certain unalienable rights. This is unity through singularity. These rights come not from institutions, political groups, or even individuals. They are endowed by the Creator of the Laws of Nature, the Creator of all things seen and unseen.

I am a practical Catholic man. In America, this is well and good. It is also well and good to be Protestant. Or Hindu. Or Muslim. Religious freedom is a core component of the American founding. Each must choose (so long as that choice contributes to the Common Good). Religious freedom is the burden of both liberty and of the soul, of the nation and of the individual. The bedrock of American identity, then, is the reality of a Creator. Stripped or forgetful of this, we are no longer America, and the dream thereof transmogrifies into a confusion of competing desires.

The American Dream is not to be found in wealth, fame, or power. It is the dream that all humans may have an equal share of liberty to pursue a life of happiness that contributes to the Common Good. We are one people. As Jesus made clear, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Promoting unity over division requires that all Americans understand that the American Dream has never been a reality, as this is the nature of dreams. America will never be the City of God. In a fallen world, utopias do not and cannot exist. Nevertheless, each one of us, alone and together, must strive to reach the ideal of liberty and justice for all. Those who surrender to weariness, despair, or selfish desire betray their fellow citizens. If too many succumb, the American Dream is gone, and may God have mercy on our souls.


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About Jack Gist 13 Articles
Jack Gist is a professional writer and teacher who has published essays, poetry, and fiction in journals such as Catholic World Report, Crisis, Galway Review, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review, Academic Questions, St. Austin Review, and many other national and international venues. He can be reached at Revival Writing.

36 Comments

  1. Brilliant. Superb. As crass as we are, America is the current bulwark of Western Civilization and I see no satisfactory replacement as against China or the burgeoning population of Islam. We are the indispensable agent which stared down collectivism and mind numbing religious repression. What happens if the decline continues? If I knew what award to nominate this essay for I would do so. Keep it coming Jack Gist.

    • That’s the problem Mr Rufous, we use language like…-
      against China and a burgeoning population of Islam. The “we” must and should have been, and now is more than about America. The balance and reality is now coming to past. COVID-19 has thought us that we are all connected as one humanity. Only through a different set of lens – a more global one, can we hope to begin setting in a new dawn. It’s never us against anybody. Respectfully. Thank You.

  2. Gradually, as we moved from a nation of subsistence farming, to farming and manufacturing, the government has resorted to taxation just as the King used to demand.

    Taxation that by no means covers the spending on steroids.

    The article mentions being a lawyer, a profession that is over aspired to, in my estimation. We need more skilled people in the middle of the economy.

  3. There was no common ground for slavery , the answer was a civil war. Abortion seems to be the same issue in many ways. Just look around and you can see plainly that “ skin color and ethnicity “ do not , I repeat do not separate us. How can we as a nation overcome this problem? I would love to read an article on that topic, even by a highbrow “ humanities professor “.

    • We overcome the problem by adhering to our faith in God. This was addressed in the article and it is clear in that light it is pro-life.

      • To JG, I do agree that faith in Jesus Christ is our strength, but that pro life values is self evident? Tell that to the 51 % of Catholics that voted for a soon to be president that is ok with the killing of unborn.

          • JG , Please read 2 Corinthians 3. 16:18 the very definition of self evident is that one need not explain a truth. The truth is not transmitted by osmosis or telepathy, it come thru the Gospel.

  4. All well and good, but you fail to address the fundamental issue. In the phrase “all men are created equal”, there is the difficulty of establishing an agreed upon definition of “all men”. One side wants to exclude the unborn, the other does not. And there is no sustainable middle ground. Either an unborn baby is equal in the eyes of God to you and I or it is not.
    The “common good” in the eyes of some of us must include the unborn. There is an irreconcilable disagreement over what constitutes human life and who deserves protection.

    • All men, it should be clear, means all human beings. Faith in God is clearly pro-life. It is not necessary, in my view, to spell out the self-evident.

  5. Considering the recent violence in the Capital, I believe it is time for an examination of conscience in America. Are the “things” that specific groups want worth risking your life for? Are they worth the drastic difference in the two major political parties? The acceptance of certain human actions over the past 30 years is now showing its result. Is this the kind of America what we want? Is it the kind of America many gave their life for in the past and are giving their life for now? America needs God, we need reverence and to know there is is a Higher Power than
    t our own personal whims. VP Elect Ms Harris, can you hear me?

  6. Well said. Our country is in a very difficult spot right now, from years and years of moral ignorance, relativism, racism, suppression of faith, and abortion going unchecked, and I cannot honestly say I am confident that we will pull out of it intact. Not only the people of this nation but the people of other nations are watching (either as our allies, who hope that we will fulfill our own values and hold true to our agreements, or as our enemies, who look for openings of weakness they can exploit). May God protect us all.

  7. God is the very bedrock of the Founding Fathers belief in human rights, freedom, what had made America great. What it was. Evident in Jefferson’s Declaration. And as Gist holds our identity. Liberty and freedom, technically are best understood as Liberum Arbitrium, the freedom to decide between good and evil. The scale has tipped toward evil. Hatred for Pres Trump, immense and relentless, refusing any semblance of truth and justice was not for his erratic narcissist behavior, rather what he stood for and was seemingly impossible in process of implementing. A reversal from the sea trend toward moral chaos. Yes, Gist is correct on Tribalism. Although the tribes while confused within often at odds were adamant in their unity against Trump. And are now united in erasing any possibility of a return to the charisma and values of Christianity. Gay rights activists, abortion advocates, Left leaning high tech communications giants, news media, socialist humanists, New Age Christians. Catholic Christians, members of the USCCB, ordinary Catholic clergy, laity are adapting to the Vatican’s turn to science rather than faith, ecology rather than opposition to moral disasters abortion and homosexuality are united. A Janus faced bulwark in effect opposed to Christ ‘s radical revelation to repent and reform. The sinews of a coherent American culture is torn by relentless attacks on the traditional family, nucleus of social stability. A last hope Republican Party cowardly disowns Trump and returns to payola income from lobbyists, reimmersed in the swamp, the soulless establishment. Jack Gist is morally correct. His vision which I share is disappearing. Except, for a now isolated, impugned, mainly populist citizens, many faithful Catholics perceived as treasonous terrorists requiring deprogramming. Catholics, the faithful, must remain true to the faith for their own salvation and good of Country. We’re literally in a place similar to revolutionary France and the Vendée. Enactment of the Civil Constitution on the Clergy severely restricting Catholicism brought civil war in that region. Judicial enactment and sanction directed at Catholicism is expected not civil war. It will be a war of wills, of witness to the faith, and personal sanctification.

    • You speak truly in your choice of present tense, as in “It will be a war of wills.” I lament only that we only so late some to that conclusion. The present could have been prevented if we had been willing to war for personal sanctification and war for a faith-witness for so many years past. Of course we are all better late than never. Would that it had been so many years prior.

      Your list of our current woes is all too long and scathing. Would that at least the Catholic hierarchy would will to choose God. Would that He would have mercy so they could see their sins. I fear they may be too far gone to know the difference between day and night. God help us before 2029, June.

      • Meiron, the Church has experienced a long term dissolution of the faith due to self indulgence, Man’s fallen nature eventually succumbing to the sensual rather than embrace of the spiritual in Christ. Grace the gift of God’s love requires our nurturing to keep the flame alive. Whether Mankind could have instead become more rather than less spiritual through the ages is perhaps answered in reality. Hope remains. That we are aware and determined to remain faithful to Christ’s promises is what matters. For that we are deeply in gratitude to Our Lord, who has preserved us not due to our merit rather to his merciful love. There is providence in this. Let us be strong in preserving our gift of faith in Christ’s revelation. And by prayer, willingness to accept difficulty especially for those who have drifted away from Christ, who are, as Benedict XVI foretold Catholic pagans.

        • Let’s not leave the Holy Spirit out of this. He is working out salvation in Jesus and His Church. We may have much to suffer, but for all that we must persevere to the end. As for the Gist article, our Constitution, noble as it is, is nevertheless deficient in that it does not honor Jesus. It may well be commendable in comparison with other political arrangements, but its deficiencies will eventually cause it to fail. Only the Holy Spirit will rejuvenate it. Or put another way attempts to rejuvenate the nation absent the Holy Spirit are fantasies.

  8. As much as we would like to think that humans in and of themselves have the capacity to solve the dilemma we face in the United States today – and the world, for that matter – the problem will continue and even abound. Why? Because we seek an answer that is strictly human, strictly earthly, strictly temporal. Only when humanity returns to Christ, and to the degree it serves Christ, can any hope for true peace and justice be possible. The problem today isn’t abandonment of “the American Dream,” it is sin. The problem is humanity’s continual decline into godlessness, lawlessness (iniquity; violation of God’s law), and even hatred of God. The problem is the increase in humanity’s belief that it is god, that it has the answers, that freedom means freedom from God, that love is about fulfilling fleshly desires however reprobate, that government is king without being in submission to THE KING. I’d love to think that a return to “the American Dream” is the answer to our problems today, but it isn’t. Our answer is a return to God.

    • “Our answer is a return to God”, says Todd. This insight underlies Jack Gist’s analysis. It has world-wide relevance and requires the grace accessible through faith in the person of Christ, the proclamation and living in the way of whom is the primary and defining task of his individual followers and the Church.

    • Agree with your conclusion, Todd. Jesus came as light and savior (John 12; 46,47). Any substitute human solution to our dilemma will ultimately prove ineffective and futile.

  9. Proposition nation/civic nationalism nonsense.

    “The United States was intended to be a country where individuals, not institutions, define our culture: rule by the People and for the People.”

    No, the United States was intended to be a federation of sovereign states. Get the beginning wrong, and everything else that is constructed in the narrative will probably be erroneous too.

    • The United States was intended to be a representative republic where those represented are the people. Is this not government for the People and by the People?

  10. Humanities professor Jack Gist invites us to an uplifting response to CWR editor Carl Olson (Jan. 6). But, are we whistling in the dark?

    Gist writes of “Invasive weeds from foreign political philosophies” […]; that in America it is “well and good to be Protestant. Or Hindu. Or Muslim” […]; that “the bedrock of American identity, then, is the reality of a Creator” […] and that “In order to flourish, freedom must be enacted by citizens who understand that civic virtue begins with an acknowledgment of our common ground.” “Foreign political philosophies, civic virtue, common ground”?

    Five points:

    First, for the long term and distinct from being an individual “Muslim,” what does it mean when ISLAM, as such, eclipses “civic virtue” with Shari’a Law and the fused mosque/state? A theo-political “philosophy”!

    Second, what does it mean, then, when Cardinal Sarah (the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) warns (?): “It [Islam] will not stop its war. Unfortunately, we Africans know this all too well. The barbarians are always the enemies of peace […] The WEST, today France, must understand this…”

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/10/29/cardinal-sarah-says-west-must-wake-up-to-threat-of-islamism-after-three-killed-at-french-catholic-church/

    Third, rather than Gist’s foundational Creator, then, it gets down to WHAT KIND of “creator” do we in America recognize, if any? The Triune Oneness with an interior and self-disclosed divine nature to be shared spiritually, as charity; or a monolithic (and anti-Christian) monotheism from a pre-modern Islamic culture and whose essence involves “submission” to an inaccessible creator of arbitrary Will decapitated from reason or the Logos?

    Fourth, at this late hour, secularist and now “tribal” (Gist’s very adequate caricature) America takes God out of the public FORUM (therefore tribal), while Islam takes the public forum (e.g., civic virtue) out of MAN.

    In this eroded and asymmetrical (intercultural)context, does Gist’s deferral to the Declaration of Independence (albeit correct) come across as a monologue whistling in the dark (?)—especially when even nominees for the United States Supreme Court, during Senate confirmation hearings, too often commit themselves to only the Constitution while evading a commitment to Gist’s “bedrock” Declaration with its reference to any Creator other than “We the People…”.

    Fifth, considering both the hollowness of radical Secularism, and in the long run an Islam ready to fill this vacuum, in America and in the West, OLSON concludes rightly: “Put another way, in broad terms, the current crisis in America is deeply spiritual and essentially theological.”

  11. Quoting Albert Ellis,PhD in his self-help opus, “A Guide to Rational Living”, “…there is no god, there has never been a god, I don’t know if there will be a god”. Undoubtedly the conflicts afflicting humans today, stem from the practice of irrational emotionalism. This affliction can be trained away by proper education and practice.

    • So if there is no God, and you don’t believe in God, what are you doing posting a comment on a religious website? Are you in high school? And I gather Dr. Ellis has a very different perspective now.

    • Greg, do you mean to preach (!) John Dewey, the ultimate modernday extrusion of the unrestrained Enlightenment mindset, who has ALREADY reshaped American schooling toward a thesis totally discredited by the collapse of such rational-ISM into the trenches World Wars I and II. The difference between real education and your opposable-thumb “training” and practice (pragmatism?) merits a sober rethinking as civilization now goes silently in the night. Be sure to bring to the table your cyclops nostrums–reason, yes, but now absent any margin for what is above finite reason alone.

  12. So much talk about “freedom”! This is more the human experience, than where we stand in the sight of God. Perhaps it is time to consider “obligations” rather than “freedoms” and “rights”.

  13. The problems we now face in the nation began several decades ago and they began in the courts, and with the spinelessness of the people who went along with their decisions.It began when people started to forget God, civic responsibility, tolerance and civility.Rather than knowing yourself as a creature of God with obligations to others, it became all about what the individual himself wanted. Only. Thanks to court cases decided bizarrely in their favor, it was no longer necessary to stand and recite the pledge at school , one of the few things holding a polyglot nation together. You did not have to speak English, but the taxpayer would pay extra to help you learn in your own language,perpetuating the divisions which have haunted Europe for centuries. Study of American history was no longer required for a Regents H.S. diploma (in New York– and probably many other states). So, if you dont know your national history, great. The easier to indoctrinate you with lies. Conservatives were consistently kicked off college campuses as if they were recruiting for the KKK, and college deans went along. Racism was denounced as bad, except when directed at White people, where it is now considered laudable, and likely a matter of public policy.Such indoctrination was happening at the federal level until Trump put a stop to it. I watched the TV news agog recently upon hearing some officials argue against the priority of vaccinating old people in nursing homes for covid, as numerically they were mostly ” white”, and thus I guess not worthy of survival. Racial hatred turned into public policy. How many protested, at the risk of also being labeled racist? Public Nativity scenes were banned from public land, and in recent years, fully voluntary public prayer (as before a HS or college football game) became illegal and coaches fired for being in defiance.Did you speak out? Now, Professional sport teams openly disrespect the flag and our military with multi-millionaires crying systemic racism where none exists. There will always be individual racists of ALL colors. But systemic, sorry , not here. Its just a propagandist lie, and one believed by too many gullible self-loathing whites, and too many people of color who have been persuaded they are victims. My family has been here hundreds of years. I grew up poor.So much for “White Privilege”. I apologize for NOTHING I have not done myself.I certainly dont apologize for American history, which has given many people of all colors and beliefs who had come from NOTHING a fair chance to excel.If at any step you saw these events happening, at your school district, your alma mater, in government or in some other place and failed to speak out publicly, you have been part of the problem. Too many people sat out this last election in Georgia and now because of that, huge negative and PERMANENT changes may be coming to the country.Their latest dictatorial move is their desire to remove MANY GOP legislators from Congress for having the( perfectly legal) nerve to express their concern about the recent election.As you know, dictatorships brook no dissent. The US could easily become a large mostly English speaking version of Cuba, where individual liberty doesn’t exist, totalitarianism reigns, and freedom of speech is suppressed.It would appear the left wants NO opposition to anything they wish to do. If you dont believe it, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. If you DO believe it, it is your responsibility as a citizen to speak out in a CIVIL way to oppose changes you think will harm our nation and it’s people. Write your representatives. Contact the companies who are deplatforming Republicans and stop supporting them if you can .Financially support the Republican legislative members who are now becoming the victims of McCarthyism, even if they are not in your home state. And ALWAYS vote, no matter the odds. America is worth saving. And pray every day that God will once again grant our nation His peace and favor.

  14. From the across the Pacific Ocean, we weep for our sisters and brothers in the USA who’re suffering so much from the COVID plague and its economic consequences; and, from awful internal political social disruption. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all that tomorrow will be a new day.

    It is good to read Professors Olson and Gist striving to get a grip on the basic causes and possible solutions, plus the stellar collection of highly diverse comments. From my ‘Aussie helicopter view’ your main consensus appears to be that a falling-off in devotion to God is the cause and thus matters will be rectified by a national return to the honoring of God.

    Augustinian dicta seem to be taken for-granted by most contributors : we believers are to build The Realm of God on earth by renovating this world. For example, that a USA renovated under God will then evangelize all the other nations and so fulfill the divine call on humankind. This traditional view requires Catholics and other Christians to deeply engage with politics; even using violence and wars against all those seen as obstructing our vision of building God’s City right here.

    However, this ‘renovation’ worldview may be what causes endless contentious polarizations and every sort of hurtful social disruption. The hubristic anthropology of renovationism has strong resonances with Genesis 3:4-5 and 11:4. Karl Barth, who was referred to by Pope Pius 12th as the most significant contemporary theologian, had no doubt about the devastating error of human self-deification. It is God who works always. At best, we humans are an obedient choir that sings along!

    What then is the alternative to ‘renovationism’? The New Testament presents us with the concept of all things being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (e.g., Colossians 1:20). Yet, most significantly, it then explicates this as being a universal offer that only some people accept (e.g., Colossians 2:6-8). That is, God’s universal reconciling act leads to some persons being salvaged out of the world that has, in general, fatally refused the gracious offer of reconciliation.

    Clearly, a ‘renovation’ worldview is opposed to a ‘salvage’ worldview. The Church (supposed to be God’s light for the nations by offering the gift of reconciling salvage) has largely immersed herself in the world in a futile pursuit of its renovation. As more than one well-known church leader has taught: “The vocation of all Christians is to make the world a better place.” One might respond that there’s nothing godly about that, for this is the self-benefiting job of all people, everywhere.

    According to the united Apostolic witness of The New Testament: Christians and their Church are aliens and pilgrims here (1 Peter 2:11); conscious that friendship with the world is enmity towards God (James 4:4), we are to perseveringly inform the whole world it is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19); its wisdom is foolishness; that it, with all its works, will be condemned and pass away (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:19; 7:31; 11:32); even its elements destroyed by fierce fire (2 Peter 3:10).

    When believers return to obeying God’s commands and never ceasing from telling people Jesus Christ’s instructions, we will indeed be children of God and of our Beloved Mother Mary (Revelation 12:17). THEN we can really enlighten our nation and all of the nations.

    With deep respects and much love from Australia.

  15. “The bedrock of American identity, then, is the reality of a Creator”

    Proverbs 29:18 “Without vision the people perish”.

    So how do we proclaim/live the Christian message /vision?

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

    So, we need to ‘be’ true to His teachings before we can ‘give’ /convey’ the Christian message/vision in Unity of Purpose. As presently we Christians the self-proclaimed lovers of God are manifestly divided before mankind and each other.

    Why?

    I believe that trust in the singularity of the First Commandment has been broken “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Conclusion: “You shall have ‘no other God (Idol) before me.”
    (‘An idol is anything or anyone who takes the place of God in our lives. It is anything — an object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or person (Saint) — that is your primary concern, or that to any degree decreases your trust and loyalty to God’)

    Reenforced at the Transfiguration when Peter said “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying,

    “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

    Leading to “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. We ‘trust’ in the authority of the Son. We ask in His Name ‘only’ for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    So, the vision is to put an end to the war within our divided (broken) hearts and capture once again the singularity of the First Commandment.

    “Attach bayonets! courage and glory are the cry, do or die
    First over the Parapet
    John leads the Ferocious attack
    While opposing Hans reciprocates the advance to the death dance
    In crater of mud both stood
    Eye meet eye one must die
    But who would hold true to the Christian creed they both knew?
    ‘To be’ the sign of the Cross,
    To ‘give’ without counting the cost
    Abandon bayonet, bowed head, bending knee, faith/love the other did see
    Worldly values gone from the other humility now holding the same song.

    Gentleness is our Lord’s Creed, worldly glory He did not need.

    But of course, this was not the reality of all Christians who went into battle or in other difficult real-life situations today, so ‘to be’ necessitates self-knowledge in relation to the First Commandment before we can truly ‘give’ (Manifest) Christian Charity to our neighbour

    We find self-knowledge as we reflect in faith on the living Word/Will of God within the Gospels while The Holy Spirit prompts/enlightens our understand of our own brokenness which leads to humility (St Bernard, Humility; a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases him-self). So, we need to be readied in our own hearts if we are to walk with the Holy Spirit in humility as a humble heart is His known dwelling place while encouraging others to do the same.

    Our Lord Himself in this present time has given His Church a ‘vision’ of hope’ to embrace humility via the True Divine Mercy Image that is one of Broken Man which from my uneducated understanding has the potential to draw the Church into a new dawn, while ‘giving’ the manifestation of a truly humble church/people before God and ‘all whom we meet’, in the world.

    It has been put to me “,why is the crucifix image of the broken man insufficient in your view “

    The Cross upon which hangs the body of our Lord and Saviour is more than sufficient for the redemption of mankind when we look upon Him honestly as we then see the reality of what we have done to Him. While these words draw us into His Reality as he looks upon our brokenness’…

    “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

    So, in the true DM image, we see a reflection of ourselves before Him (As he actually sees us). Which should have the effect of drawing ourselves even closer to Him in humility. ( For a further understanding See link
    https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2020/11/full-text-of-the-mccarrick-report-published-today-in-rome/#comment-99319

    Yes! the images of our brokenness/dividedness can be seen by everyone (Mankind) but the reality of that brokenness’ is not been acknowledged honestly as the elite cling to an image of Worldly Goodness hoping that it will eventually deflect the ongoing reality of the present situation without having to confront the failings within the leadership of the Church.

    While the true divine Mercy Image is hidden from view, for if the elite were to show it and acknowledge (Display) it, they would have to face the reality of their own hubris/blindness before mankind in not showing/accepting it in the first place. This for some/many would induce humility creating a mindset to confront clericalism and many ongoing problems within the church.

    As when the Truth is embraced honestly, it will induce humility within the heart. A Truthful heart will never cover its tracks (Past) or hide from its shortcomings, and in doing so, confers authenticity, as it walks in its own vulnerability/weakness/brokenness in trust/faith before God and mankind. It is a heart to be trusted, as it ‘dispels’ darkness within its own self/ego, in serving God (Truth) first, before any other.

    If we walk His ‘Way’ we will eventually accept ourselves and then each other in wholeheartedness, while we are led along the path/Way of spiritual enlightenment, the ongoing transformation of the human heart, a moist heart, a gentle tearful one, one of compassion, where eventual it is not possible to judge another individual harshly, for to do so would be to judge/condemn one’s self.
    Rather in our humility, we would want for all our brothers and sisters no matter what their state of being, that which we have been given ourselves, His known gift of Divine Mercy, which can only be known/accepted in a humble/Vulnerable heart, before Him because is that not what Christianity (Love of God) is all about

    “Learn from me I am meek and lowly of heart” and you shall find rest to your souls”

    Or put another way, learn from His vulnerability, while in humble ‘simplicity’, we are been emptied (Set free) of the selfhood; we will then eventually find (the lost coin, a dewdrop, a mustard seed, pearl) His gift of joy/peace/the Holy Spirit, the spiritual ‘treasure’, dwelling while adorning our own hearts/souls.

    kevin Your brother
    In Christ

      • Thank you for your comment Charles
        I am not an American I took my cue from “The bedrock of American identity, then, is the reality of a Creator. Stripped or forgetful of this, we are no longer America, and the dream thereof transmogrifies into a confusion of competing desires”
        While assuming that these desires reflect our fundamental Christian (Protestants etc) beliefs which also includes Muslims and Jews

        My opening statement
        Proverbs 29:18 “Without vision the people perish”. While now adding the full text “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” which would also be understood by those who believe in a Creator God (Natural law}

        Love of God comes before nationalistic identity

        While quoting the True “singularity” of the First Commandment as in the love of God with all thy mind, heart and will as without this commitment the American Dream will always be a dream as all manmade endeavours ultimately reflect the tower of babel. (Sin as in fallen man with all his different faces)

        I went on to attempt to give the reason for the chaos (Division) we see in Western Societies (Former Christian) which includes America in a poem that reflects the present state of Christian dualistic behaviour where self-interest is at play. Which is a reflection of society at large.

        It is the action of Truth that sets mankind free, Christians should understand/manifest this and we do so when we fulfil the first Commandment. While this fulfilment leads to humility which I then go on to the Subject matter in relation to the true Divine Mercy Image/Message one of broken man which regular contributors/readers of articles on this site will be familiar with.

        I am educated and realise that my posts are not conventual but they are sincere I am sorry that you found my post to be “a rambling, opaque reflection” I can only hope and pray that this comment has cast some light in what I am attempting to say in relation to the above article.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

      • Maybe brother Kevin is passionately reminding everyone that hearing Jesus Christ and following Him is the always available (but hard) alternative to the easier option of self-righteously investing in the politics and rivalries of this world, disguised as Christian or Catholic action?

        In short: “Let’s get the planks out of our own, Catholic Christian eyes before eagerly organizing to remove the specks from everyone else’s eyes”.

        King Jesus Christ showed by His unique life and teachings what truth is. He specifically disavowed involvement in the endless politicking and violence of this world (see John 18:36-37).

        After nearly 2,000 chaotic, planet-destroying years of going our own way (always ‘In His Name’, of course!) isn’t it time, at last, for us to follow Jesus in truth?

        • Thank you, Martin, for your supportive comment which I was grateful to receive, more so because of a previous dialogue we shared some time ago, on another site, where later I felt that I had been too confrontational, especial as we concurred with the priority of reflecting on the living/teaching Word/Will of God within the Gospels.

          From your post above on January 18th
          “When believers return to obeying God’s commands and never ceasing from telling people Jesus Christ’s instructions, we will indeed be children of God”

          Which I completely agree with

          Sincerely
          kevin your brother
          In Christ

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