Defending the Country

(December, 2002)

This is the meditation for 2 December from The Celtic Spirit

They are passionately devoted to their freedom and to the defence of their country; for these they fight, for these they suffer hardships.

—Gerald of Wales, Journey Through Wales


Love of freedom and the rights of free speech and free congregation are at the heart of the British character, and the response today is just as mutinous as in medieval times, when these words were written, if anyone attempts to overturn these ancient Druidic freedoms.

The defence of one's country has become an issue of uneasy contemplation these days. Our minds stray to nuclear armaments and the unpleasant ironmongery that wreaks so much pain and destruction. We shy away from the consideration of national service, conscription, and other military preparations for defensive war. Yet if we look deeply at the defence of the country, we discover that it requires something more worthy of us than naďve back-stabbing of other nations, cultures, and religions. The essential freedoms and privileges that we enjoy are enshrined in our laws and statutes for all to read, but there are also more profound and subtle freedoms that we are all called upon to defend.

The enemy to these freedoms is not always so obvious as a foreign power, but is all about us — within our own society. It is our own disregard for the authentic loyalties of life that is the enemy attacking our country. We who live in our land are its defenders by our very way of life, by our attitudes, by our actions, by our intentions, by the integrity, joy and engagement we bring to our country's life. To become a defender rather than an enemy, we must be in tune with our country in a deeply spiritual way.

Commune with the spirit of the country in which you live. Ask it what are the freedoms and privileges that it guards. Ask how these freedoms are to be defended, and what is the greatest threat to them at this time.

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