by Abigail Dommert
“Each finite creature can reflect only a fraction of the divine nature; thus, in the diversity of His creatures, God’s infinite unity and oneness appear to be broken into an effulgence of manifold rays.” -- Essays on Woman, St. Edith Stein
St. Edith Stein and John Cena walk into a bar-- (I bet you’ve never heard this one before.)
How does this conversation topic come up? Allow me to explain.
A few months ago, in our blog post, 2018 - A New Year of Patriotism! , we linked to a video produced by Ad Council, featuring WWE fighter John Cena, entitled “We Are America” (Here’s the link again, in case you missed it!) In it, he discusses our idea of the “Average American citizen,” and what patriotism truly means. After rewatching this video and considering it in the light of Flag Day 2018, one phrase really stands out.
In the beginning of the video, John Cena tells us that “Patriotism is love for a country, not just pride in it.”
What does a true Patriot look like then? Loving. Just that. A loving person.
(This is where St. Edith Stein comes in)
In her collection Essays on Woman, St. Edith Stein says, “Each finite creature can reflect only a fraction of the divine nature; thus, in the diversity of His creatures, God’s infinite unity and oneness appear to be broken into an effulgence of manifold rays.”
What she’s saying here is that the full glory of God cannot be captured in a single human being. Rather, the majesty of “God’s infinite unity” is split among all of His creatures, and each of us reflects those “rays” of oneness in unique ways. The merging of all those varying refractions is where we find the ultimate union of God’s magnificence. Thus, each person, each uniquely fragmented reflection is essential to the masterpiece of Creation.
John Cena tells us at the end of the video that “To love America is to love all Americans.” He and St. Edith Stein are saying the same things. To love the whole, you must love all the parts. To love America, to answer the call to be truly patriotic, we must love all the different and diverse members of our country, even the ones we don’t agree with. Especially the ones we don’t agree with! You don’t need to agree with someone to be kind to them. You don’t need to agree with someone to accept them. You don’t need to agree with someone to love them.
- Those pro-choicers protesting March for Life? Love them.
- The pro-lifers marching at March for Life? Love them.
- People who advocate for a traditional conception of Marriage? Love them.
- People who celebrated Pride Month, and all LGBTQ+ people? Love them.
- Republicans? Love them.
- Democrats? Love them.
- Our current White House administration and President? Love them.
- The other previous Presidential candidates? Love them.
- Muslims, Jews, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists? Love them.
- Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, and everything and anything in between? Love them.
Odds are, there is at least something, some political or social alignment, that you disagree with on the above list. If not, then think of someone, anyone, who you disagree with. Literally, anyone you can think of-- love them. Love them with your kindness, your respect, and your patriotism.
This Flag Day, when you look at the flag, remind yourself of that love. Love the people of this country in all their glorious diversity, and in doing so, you will be loving our wonderful melting pot/salad bowl/take your pick of food-related metaphor of a country. You will be the example of true Patriotism to a country so desperately in need of it, the kind of Patriot who would make both St. Edith Stein and John Cena proud.
And is there really anything more you need than that?