CITIZENS OF HEAVEN LIVING AS CITIZENS ON EARTH by Pat Gohn

If you are baptized, you are a citizen of heaven-your true home. The saints-the citizens of heaven who have arrived there ahead of us-are cheering us on! While the saints remind us of all we could be, more importantly they should remind us of all we are.

No mater where we are on the earthly political spectrum-Democrat, Republican, Independent, or some other political affiliation-we need to stay connected to the primary Gospel truth regarding our CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP.

By virtue of our Christian baptism, we are born into the family of God. It is an indelible reality that cannot be washed off our soul.  It’s like spiritual DNA; we are born with it and it cannot change. …………………………..

What is wrought by baptism is a continual attachment to the Body of Christ and the Church. St. Paul writes:  “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”(Philippians 3:20)…………………………….

Indeed, “the first calling of the Christian is to follow Jesus”(Catholic Catechesism 2253). And the Church, for its part, is not to be confused with the political community, yet it is to “respect and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen”(CCC,2245)

FIVE DUTIES OF CITIZENS

  1. BE SUBJECT AND COLLABORATE WITH AUTHORITIES. It is a Christian’s duty to voice “just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community” (CCC,2238)
  2. CONTRIBUTE “TO THE GOOD OF SOCIETY IN A SPIRIT OF TRUTH, JUSTICE, SOLIDARITY, AND FREEDOM.”  Love and service of one’s country follows the larger duties of gratitude and charity.  Good citizens ought “to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community” (CCC,2239)
  3. TAKE CO-RESPONSIBILITY WITH AUTHORITIES FOR THE COMMON GOOD. Supporting the common good includes the moral obligation to “pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country” (CCC,2240)
  4. WELCOME IMMIGRANTS. Prosperous nations have an obligation to welcome foreigners seeking security or jobs that cannot be found in their country of origin. “They have a natural right, as guests, to protection.  “Authorities, for the sake of the common good…may make (immigration) subject of various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens”
  5. THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO FOLLOW LAWS THAT CONFLICT WITH AN UPRIGHT CONSCIENCE. “Armed resistance to oppression” (CCC,2243) is a last resort only when specific criteria are met.  “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. REFUSING OBEDIENCE to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in tCCChe distinction between serving God and serving the political community. ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21),(CCC,2242)
WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN WITH A DIGNITY AND A HOLY RESPONSIBILITY BEYOND OUR ALLEGIANCE TO THE COUNTRY LISTED ON OUR PASSPORT. LET US “STAND FOR THE LORD” (Philippians 4:1)
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Jesus did not say following him would be easy, but He did say the reward-Heaven- would be worth it.  BE SURE TO STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, EVEN IF IT IS HARD. God Bless you all.
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