Worth Fighting For

From Arwen Moser's 9/11 reflection.

The teaching of the Catholic Church is that war is fought justly only according to the principle of double effect. This means it must be a last resort, must cause no disproportionate evil, and must be sought for the sake of the good to be achieved. This means that wars that seek only revenge or power - as so many wars throughout human history have - are not justifiable. Only wars that seek to protect a good can be justified.

G.K. Chesterton, master of the succinct, said it perfectly:

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

What is it that the true soldier loves behind him? My mind jumps immediately to L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside, to a letter that her older brother Walter writes to Rilla from the trenches of the Great War. In it, he tells her that he is fighting so that the poets, the workers, the dreamers of the world may live in peace… and so that she may marry and raise children and live a life of love and laughter. The good that Walter loves has nothing to do with empires or with great power. It is ordinary life that he loves, and for which he is willing to sacrifice everything.

I think that today, as we remember the past and face the possibilities of the future, we can do honor to those who have died by recognizing that loving our country means loving that which God intended everyone to have: the freedom in which to serve Him in the peace of ordinary life, day in and day out. Many in our nation’s past have had to sacrifice in order that we might have that, and more in the future will do so. We can celebrate their sacrifices, today and every day, by living our ordinary, peaceful lives as best we can… and by recognizing what a gift it is that we have that privilege.