And now? Nicholas! – Swiss Catholic Portal

The summer of all contrasts. Sun and freedom drove the crowds to the beaches and tourist spots. But it was also the painful heat wave, the forest fires, the drought. Bravo for the generous reception of 60,000 Ukrainian refugees in Switzerland.

But the war is far from over there, with its cruel procession of death and destruction. Phew! Covid is a thing of the past. But we are told that the epidemic will return for the next winter. Switzerland remains a haven of prosperity and peace. But, like dark clouds on the horizon, are rising threats of energy cuts and economic recession.

And in our Church? you will tell me. Ardent desires for reform are surfing on the wave of the next synod in Rome. But ominous prophets warn us against unrealizable hopes. And now? at the time of family reunions, relaunch of activities in society, resumption of commitments in the Church.

On the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, here comes – on September 25 – the original figure of Nicolas de Flüe, patron saint of Switzerland. I know it: this great saint is not imitable from all points of view. But I believe it remains very inspiring in today’s societal and ecclesial context.

By excess of mysticism, he first believed that he had to move away from his family to follow his new vocation. A Voice brought him close to his home, but keeping a fair distance of reflection and freedom. His loneliness and his spirituality did not make him indifferent to the dramas of his time. Quite the contrary. He became a valuable adviser called upon to resolve the perilous political tangles and promote an urgent renewal in a very sick Church. His prayer, far from becoming a comfortable escape, was nourished by contemporary encounters and needs. The mystic of Ranft is also invoked as the apostle of civic peace and ecclesial communion.

“It is urgent to rediscover both the depths of shared spiritual life and the courage of large fraternities”

Swiss or not, we are all, more or less, the children of this father of our country. Will we be able, in the disturbing turmoil of our current situation, to take a step back to reflect calmly, then to act valiantly in order to invest ourselves in improving what needs to be improved, whether in society or in the Church? For example, socially, by assuming a happy austerity, by conviction rather than by constraint, without ever forgetting the basic solidarities towards those who suffer the most.

For example, in the Church, by focusing on small communities, certainly fervent in the Word and the sacraments, but also in touch with the problems and hopes of our vast world. Faced with what some predict, even observe – namely the implosion of Christianity in our Western modernity – it is urgent to rediscover both the depths of shared spiritual life and the courage of large fraternities, on the scale of all our beautiful and tragic humanity.

Saint Nicolas de Flüe, pray for us!

Claude Ducarroz

August 31, 2022

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And now? Nicholas! – Swiss Catholic Portal