Confronting the Crisis of Faith
and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Cf. Luke 10:27)
St. Nicholas's vision is referred to as the mystical wheel (Radbild), which in its most simple form looks like a wagon wheel with six spokes. St. Nicholas, who was unlettered, described this vision to a visitor as his "book." In this Trinitarian vision, St. Nicholas saw the Holy Face of God, in fact Jesus as King, at the center of a circle with two sword tips on the two eyes broadening outward, with a similar sword pointed at the mouth. Three swords with tips to the earth broadened into God, so that you have a sort of movement out of God and a movement into God. "God the Trinity (Trinität), is both three-in-one (Dreienigkeit) as he reveals himself to the world, and threeformed (Dreifaltigkeit) as he reaches out to the world to draw it in. One gets the perception of God in Christ, reaching out to the world in threefold love and reconciling the world into the threefold love within God's very self, so that God may be all in all. (Cf. 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Cor. 15:28)
The meaning behind the vision has been expanded by incorporating it into what is known as St. Nicholas of Flüe's meditation prayer cloth (Meditationsbild). Here, the rich tapestry of faith and works that results when one believes in the Trinity as revealed by Jesus Christ is made manifest. Belief in God, belief in Jesus will lead us to love God and to love neighbor as ourselves in works of mercy.
Faith in God as he has revealed himself in Jesus, leads us to believe in Christ: with the faith that the Virgin had in him when his birth was announced to her and she gave her full fiat, her full consent. (Luke 1:38) Belief in Jesus will lead us to imitate him. It will lead us to imitate the humility of his birth at Bethlehem who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider that something to be grasped at but emptied himself and took on the form of a man, like us in everything but sin. (Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 4:15) It will lead us to imitate the equanimity and trust in the Father that Jesus the Son showed when betrayed by Judas his intimate, abandoned by his other intimates, and arrested unjustly by religious and civil authorities. Faith in Jesus will lead us to imitate the obedience to the will of the Father, obedience even unto death, that Jesus displayed when he suffered crucifixion and death so as to redeem us--even the ungodly among us and in us--from our sins. (Phil. 2:8; Rom. 5:6) To believe in Christ will mean to follow him in our daily living in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in our participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, doing "this" to make Christ and his Sacrifice present among us and us present among Christ and his Sacrifice. Finally, faith in Christ means to advance Christ's Kingship, and to hope in Christ's second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. (2 Tim. 4:1) Maranatha. Lord Come! (1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 22:20)
But there is more. Belief in Jesus also shows itself in love of neighbor, and this is signified by symbols of six works of mercy-visiting and caring the sick (crutches), showing hospitality to strangers (walking stick and backpack), feeding the hungry and quenching the thirst of the thirsty (bread and jug), visiting those in prison (fetter), clothing the naked (garment at the foot of the cross), and burying the dead (bier).
With threefold faith, then, but especially with the credere in Christum faith, let us the threefold God praise.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: St. Nicholas of Flue, faith, crisis of faith, credere in Deum
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