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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.

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American SoldiersThe 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.

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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.

Happy 4th of July

 

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

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 25, 2020

“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace...

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May 25

 

“I will take away
not the grace but the feeling of grace.
Though I will seem to leave you
I will be closer to you.”

Our Lord to St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Gregory VII

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cri...

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Pope St. Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII was born Hildebrand in Tuscany, Italy. Little else is known of his early life. Hailed, historically, as one of the greatest of the Church's pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all time, his name, Hildebrand, meant “bright flame”. Those who hated him, which were many, interpreted the name as “brand of Hell”.

Hildebrand was a Benedictine monk, for a time living in Cluny, from whence he certainly gleaned the monastery’s ideal of societal reform.

As a cleric, he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI, and a few years later, under Leo IX was made Cardinal Deacon. A man of outstanding energy and insight, Hildebrand became a power in Rome. It is greatly due to him that the practice of electing popes through a college of cardinals was established.

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cried out for the holy genius who had helped steer the Church for twenty years, “Hildebrand for Pope! Holy Peter wants Hildebrand, the Archdeacon!” Once before the holy monk had eluded the tiara but this time a proper college of cardinals, seconding the popular cry, induced him to accept an honor duly his.

Hildebrand assumed the name Gregory VII, and threw his energy and zeal into a continued reform, especially fighting simony (the sale of ecclesiastical posts) and clerical incontinence.

He confronted Emperor Henry IV head- on about his practice of choosing men for ecclesiastical positions. On meeting with dogged resistance, the pontiff finally had recourse to excommunication which drastically curtailed the proud monarch’s power, ultimately bringing Henry on foot to the Pope at the Castle of Canossa. Because of Henry’s rebellious obstinacy, Pope Gregory saw fit to leave him out in the cold for three days before receiving and reinstating the royal penitent.

But Henry failed to make any true personal reform and alienated his princes who elected another ruler. Still, he later rallied and went as far as electing another Pope, a Clement III, calling down upon himself another sentence of excommunication. He also attacked and entered the Eternal City in 1084, which forced Pope Gregory into exile. Henry had his protégée “pope” crown him Emperor. Ultimately repelled by an army fighting for the true pope, the Emperor Henry left Rome, but complications sent Gregory VII again into exile, this time to die.

His last words before his death were a summary of how he had lived, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

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

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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