Piddingworth Greg Benton
|'Piddingworth...where St. George's Cross is not yet banned.'
|Honour all men.
Honour the King.
|At the very heart of the 'Piddingworth' message is the example
of Rose and Ernest Leonard, shared by so many others in their generation,
of living according to one's 'duty'. Indeed, 'Duty' is,
with little doubt, the motivation that has permitted all the other
parts of much of the family's identity to emerge as a 'whole';
where one's duty is lived for God, and our Neighbour; through
love in the faith, the Church, the family, and service to Sovereign
At it's heart, 'duty', in the Christian sense of the word, is 'love-in-action'.
It is, in it's myriad circumstances, a faithful response to
God and obedience in conscience to God's will in nature, civil
society and the fellowship of the 'brotherhood' (the Church).
It is the 'active' ingredient towards a full and purposeful life.
Duty is the daily act of 'friendship' that each gives to an 'other'
where, through the sacrifice of self (personally or materially),
one seeks to afford a disposition, benefit or grace for the sake of 'others'.
Duty seeks to serve a cause greater than oneself even
when by morally serving oneself one also serves the greater or
Duty has no 'rank', either in nature or society. It belongs as
much to the 'master' as to the 'servant', the 'King' as to the
'Subject', the 'Mother and Father' as to the 'Children', the
'layman of the Church' as to the 'Bishops' and the 'Private soldier'
as to the 'Generals'. Each 'owes', either by nature or Divine
command, a duty of fidelity, service, respect to the other.
The word and example of Christ penetrate the worldly obstacles
to happiness by showing that caritas, the greatest of loves, animates
humanity toward it's fulfilment in this life as well as in the next.
'No greater love has any man than this, but that a man lay down
his life for his friends'.
Of course, the object of all 'duty' must, in itself, also be worthy
of that service. So it is that for us, God is, and ever shall remain,
the ultimate source and end to all of our duties in this life.
When we serve Him according to His commandments and
enlivening Spirit, we are giving to Him only that which is 'owed'
to Him because of Who and What He is: God, the Father,
God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Even as the caroler sings,
'what can I give Him, poor as I am' as he approaches the
manger of the Christ-Child, the answer clearly is in the
question itself; for it is in the loving desire to 'give' and
to 'serve' where our duty finds it's first utterance at heart.
Similarly, the object of our duty within our families, our Church,
our neighbourhood and our country, must equally be worthy
of the love we extend in action. 'Duty' toward the members of
our families, for example, is measured, not by the illusion of
'power' of this one over that but according to their kinship and
their connecting, ever-elastic, relationship with us. What is 'due'
to one may well differ from what is 'due' to another but the 'duty'
to afford what is required of us remains constant.
Duty is Loyal. Whether it is within our natural family or the family
of our citizenship, the essence of duty towards both what each of
those families is and ought to be is the same. We honour our
mothers and fathers as God wills, not our of mere sentiment, but
because in that honour, that loyalty to them through all their years,
we help to sustain the institution of the family itself. We are loyal
to our 'sovereign', the Queen, in the words of our oath with the
intention of serving the good of all that she is and represents in authority.
Even when a parent or Queen or King or Pope or
Archbishop or General or others in legitimate authority become 'corrupt'
or are deemed personally 'unworthy' of our fidelity, it is to their
'office' that we are bound to serve and not according to the ever-changing
whims or even gifts of the occupant.
Duty is the precise opposite of the so-called 'values' of the prevalent
culture today; that have their root in materialism and self-interest;
pleasure-seeking and mere emotion. While it is common to be told
that our choices in life, our 'duty' as citizens and 'human beings',
is to respond to others according to our feelings for this or that,
true 'duty' transcends such shallow and essentially false pretense
by demanding an offering of the self, in love, according to faith,
reason, and God's will; all of which often requires much 'courage'.
Where the refrain, 'I feel your pain' has become the mantra of the
narcissistic set, those who understand 'duty' might respond more
truthfully to others misfortune by actually doing something that
might well be painful to the giver! Sacrifical love, the love of duty,
hurts; from a little to a lot. The ultimate sacrifice, the giving of
one's life, is fullest measure of that love and it is our duty to be
prepared to offer that love according to what is required; even
if our feelings about things don't necessarily accomodate our
obligation. Even our Lord experienced real personal agony
on the night before he was crucified, yet he submitted to
the high purpose and loving will of his Father.
|'Trust in the Lord and He will give you
the strength and courage to do your Duty...'
Rose (West) Leonard, to her son, Raymond, 1939
|DUTY TO GOD & NEIGHBOUR
'You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind
and and all your strength...you shall love your neighbour as yourself.