THE PATRIOTISM OF CHARITY
ONE’S country is the neighbor more than a society, for it consists of many societies, and consequently the love of it is a more extended and a higher love. Besides to love one’s country is to love the public welfare. A man’s country is the neighbor because it is like a parent; for there he was born; it has nourished and still nourishes him; it has protected him from harm, and still protects him. From love for it he ought to do good to his country according to its needs, some of which are natural, and others spiritual. The country ought to be loved, not as a man loves himself, but more than himself. This is a law inscribed on the human heart. And from the law has issued the proposition, which has the assent of every true man, that if ruin threatens the country from an enemy or other source, it is illustrious to die for it, and glorious for a soldier to shed his blood for it. This is a common saying, because so much should one’s country be loved. Those who love their country, and from good will do good to it, after death love the Lord’s kingdom, for this is their country there; and they who love the Lord’s kingdom, love the Lord, for He is the All in all of His Kingdom.
—True Christian Religion, n. 414