Looks at the State
washing the feet of His disciples during the Last Supper, Jesus
said to His chosen:
I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also
ought to wash one anotherís feet. For I have given you an example,
that you also should do as I have done to you.1
Jesus, the Church "invites us to become His disciples and follow
Him."2 It calls us to be "imitators
of God as beloved children" by conforming our thoughts, our
words, and our actions to the "way of Christ," the example
set by Jesus.3
the heart of the way of Christ is Jesusí twofold commandment of
love. A Pharisee asked Jesus, "Teacher, which is the great
commandment in the law?" Jesus replied:
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.4
Jesus revealed the full meaning of the Decalogue. The first three
commandments concern love of God; the remaining seven, love of others.
All ten form a unified whole: to violate one commandment is to violate
the others. "One cannot honor another person without blessing
God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men, His
Beatitudes also lie at the heart of the way of Christ.
are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall be satisfied.
are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
are those who are persecuted for righteousnessí sake, for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.
are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all
kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and
be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted
the prophets who were before you.6
Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ, portray his charity,
and shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the
Christian life."7 They do not
describe the sorts of people who are blessed but the spiritual disposition
of the way of Christ.
disposition, the disposition behind Jesusí commandment of charity
as well as the Beatitudes, is a disposition of profound humility
before God and before neighbors.
theme of humility runs deep in Church tradition. Jesus was the perfect
embodiment of humility, as St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the
this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though
he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing
to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form
he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death
on a cross.8
too, with her fiat "Behold, I am the handmaid of
the Lord; let it be to me according to your will"9
and in her Magnificat "My spirit rejoices in God
my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden"10
personifies humility and obedience, which is part of the reason
she is revered by the Church.
Catholic writers through the centuries have extolled the disposition
antithesis of the way of Christ, of Jesusí commandment of love,
the Beatitudes, and the disposition of humility, is the spirit of
conquest and the desire for domination over others.
therein is the Catholic case against the State. For what is the
state but the spirit of conquest and the desire for domination on
a gigantic scale?
Augustine, who was no anarchist, stated as much in The
City of God:
justice, what are kingdoms but great robber bands? What are robber
bands but small kingdoms? The band is itself made up of men, is
ruled by the command of a leader, and is held together by a social
pact. Plunder is divided in accordance with an agreed upon law.
If this evil increases by the inclusion of dissolute men to the
extent that it takes over territory, establishes headquarters,
occupies cities, and subdues peoples, it publicly assumes the
title of kingdom! This title is manifestly conferred on it, not
because greed has been removed, but because impunity has been
added. A fitting and true response was once given to Alexander
the Great by an apprehended pirate. When asked by the king what
he thought he was doing by infesting the sea, he replied with
noble insolence, "What do you think you are doing by infesting
the whole world? Because I do it with one puny boat, I am called
a pirate; because you do it with a great fleet, you are called
Augustine prefaced his observation with "without justice."
On the subject of justice, he wrote:
exists when the one and supreme God rules his obedient city according
to his grace, so that it does not sacrifice to any whatsoever
except Him alone. Consequently, just like a single man, a fellowship
and a people of just men lives by faith, which works through love,
by which man loves God as God ought to be loved, and his neighbor
the modern State did not arise from the desire for such justice.
It arose from the desire for conquest and domination. And it has
served its purpose well. Its primary products have not been fellowship
and justice, but war and death.
the State, being the embodiment of the spirit of conquest and the
desire for domination over others, is a manifestation of the antithesis
of the way of Christ. The State is a product not of manís consent
to love God with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his
mind, or to love his neighbors as himself, but rather his refusal
to do so.
- John 13:14-15.
of the Catholic Church, #520.
- Luke 1:38.
- Luke 1:47-48.
- The favorite
among Catholics is Thomas a Kempis's The
Imitation of Christ.
City of God, Book IV, Chapter 4.
Book XIX, Chapter 23.
Mathews [send him
mail] is a columnist for the Brunswick
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