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This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.
But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.
That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.
This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.
So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.
President Barack Obama
Our country has a special message about peace.
Dorothea and Niklaus von Flüe
Saint Nicholas of Flue, father of ten children.
Patron of Switzerland and of the world peace thanks to economical Justice.
God favored him with numerous visions and the gift of prophecy.
Swiss Hermit and Peacemaker, Holy Patron of the world peace through economical Justice.
Pope John Paul II celebrates the Eucharist in Flüeli and afterwards prays at the grave of Brother Klaus in Sachseln. There he asks that Dorothea be honored also and he calls her "saintly".
Special message for Michele Obama
Conjugal love gives a sacrament and God is there, present with every good human and complete act of Love between spouses, this is really an eucharistic adoration, basis for the social peace.
GOD is present in every act of real and true Love.
- General Audiences: John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Full text of the speeches.
Saint Nicholas of Flue main economical vision is about how bad can money be and how to resist to this evil.
The penny and the fountain of life
THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.
The public place.
The brother rises in the night to meditate on the Passion and the martyrdom of God.
At the time to fall asleep again, he sees in spirit a place: a crowd of people; deliver to hard work, but he is astonished to find them so poor.
The basin where the Fountain flows. -
Then, at his right hand, he saw a beautiful house whose door was large open.
He entered and was in a kitchen, pertaining to a whole commune.
On the right, a staircase of four steps "or about" some rare men went up there.
Their clothing seemed sprinkled of white.
He saw a Fountain leaving the steps and filling a large basin in the kitchen.
It brought three things: wine, oil, honey.
It ran as quickly as a flash, and so high that the palate resounded about it like a horn. He was astonished that people, however so poor, did not come to the Fountain, open to everyone.
The source of the Fountain. -
Then, it assembled the steps to see from where came the Fountain, He arrived in a big room.
In the medium, was a tank. He approached at the risk of his life.
With the four angles, he noticed four powerful iron stays. The Source was so transparent we could have seen at the bottom least any hair; and she sang marvelously in the tank and in caned where she ran out. She was inexhaustible and full to the edges, full to the brim.
The world perishes of misery just besides the Fountain of Life. -
Then, he wanted to go down again to see what retained the men to come to draw the Fountain.
One had drawn up a barrier through the place and he did not let pass anybody without claiming the penny.
Another made whirl its club, to require the penny.
Another played music of the fifre, to have the penny.
Tailors, shoe-makers, craftsmen claimed the penny to him.
And before they have finished, they were already become again so poor that they did not even succeed to enrich temporally.
But nobody came to draw from the Fountain.
Conclusion. - Then the scene changed, the man saw wild slopes similar to those which surround the vault and hermitage of Nicolas, and he understood that the palate was himself, Nicolas, Nike, from nikê, in greek victory and laos, People, Victory for the people.
The solution is in the communal house, only four steps to climb ( Fights against the Love of money, against pride, against selfishness and against violence ), a small effort, Love to each other, the people living in your village is the solution, small is beautiful, at the lowest level, the village united to protect the weakest.
This simply leads to peace and justice worldwide.
His favorite meditations
Nicholas was born on March 21, 1417 and died on the same day 70 years later in 1487. He was from the canton of Unterwalden in Switzerland. His parents were simple peasants who tried to provide Nicholas with a better education, given his uncommon intelligence and piety. He had an inclination for the contemplative life and practiced severe mortifications. He married and had ten children, some of whom came to hold high positions in the country. He used to wake every night to pray and read a psalter in honor of Our Lady.
Picture of St. Nicholas of Flue
from the parish church in Sachseln
Returning home, he was asked to be mayor of his city, but declined the honor, alleging his humble origin made him unsuitable for that post. However, he accepted the position of judge in the local court, a position that he carried out with rare ability for nine years. Then he retired from this position to his farm to have more time to dedicate himself to matters of the soul.
He had received symbolic visions since childhood. After his retirement, he was watching his flock when he mystically saw a marvelous lily growing from his mouth and rising up to the clouds; suddenly it fell to the ground and was eaten by a horse. He understood that his contemplation of heavenly things was often disturbed and consumed by earthly concerns. He realized he should abandon the world and devote himself exclusively to matters of soul as a hermit.
Although she had just borne his tenth child, his wife heroically consented. He settled at Ranft, a few miles from his home. From the outset of his life as a hermit, he was miraculously nourished only by the Holy Eucharist, which he received once a month.
He was loved and venerated by the people, and pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He was often called on by dignitaries to make peace between the cantons in their continuous disputes. He always achieved success in those missions.
Many pilgrims came to consult St. Nicholas,
known as Brother Klaus
Woodgraving from the Chronicle of Johann Stumpff, Zurich, 1548
Even today the visitor can venerate there the bones of Brother Klaus (Nicholas in German), his mortal remains richly ornamented with gold and precious stones, and around his neck countless military decorations of honor.
Note: After Vatican II, the richly adorned reliquary, which also served as an altarplace, was replaced with a table and simple modern contemporary tomb without the jewels or military decorations.
Saint Nicholas de Flue – a saint for peace in Burundi
Students' Pilgrimage to the Shrine in Mount Sion Gikungu, Burundi
BURUNDI, Fr. Deogratias Marahukiro. Sunday, 30 September was a special day on Mount Zion Gikungu. Not only was it the last Sunday of September and therefore, normally Pilgrimage Sunday, but the Saint Nicholas de Flue choir celebrated its eleventh anniversary. Furthermore, the Schoenstatt pupils invited students from other schools join them on a pilgrimage to open the new school year.
As a result, the liturgy on this Sunday was as beautiful as it was rich, above all symbolically rich.
An offering of a book and a pen to the Queen of Peace:
The symbols were interesting and unique, but above all, these symbols were richly charged with meaning. The Schoenstatt pupils, who were accompanied by children belonging to other Catholic movements, wanted to start the school year with a pilgrimage in which they would entrust the academic year to the Virgin Mary. This was a very touching initiative, which should be encouraged as this could begin a powerful tradition for the students, who will think of entrusting themselves to the Virgin Mary at the beginning of every school year. If it is encouraged, it will also allow the Schoenstatt pupils to help other school children to find the Virgin Mary in the Shrine. The pupils did not just make a pilgrimage, they knew that they were giving themselves to the royal heart (Ku kirimba), and anyone who goes to the heart never comes back empty-handed. He returns with a gift. This is why they came offering gifts to the Queen. They presented, in their own words "a hoe that they use to tend their science garden at school." They also presented a book and pen. Through these symbols, they presented all the work that they will do this year. And they know that they won't be alone: the Mother of God will be with them throughout the year.
Eleven and a crown of roses offered by the Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir
The Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir celebrated their eleventh anniversary. For this reason they included an offering of eleven candles carried by some of the dancers in the choir. In addition to the candles, the choir also wanted to give a special present:
A crown of roses. Why such a crown ? Because the choir also wanted to contribute to the crowning of the Holy Virgin as the Queen of Peace. They knew that in crowning the Virgin Mary, they are also committing themselves to promoting peace in Burundi. They understand that the life of this crowning is at the heart of St. Nicholas de Flue's mission. St. Nicholas de Flue had a special mission in this tiny country, once known as Africa's Switzerland. This is also why St. Nicholas de Flue was at the heart of the liturgical celebration.
A statue of St. Nicholas de Flue led the procession at the beginning of Mass. A large man was asked to carry the statue as high as possible. The procession began moving in time with the music. Joy seemed to glow from the face of St. Nicholas' statue. The almost disfigured face of the statue appeared to have been transfigured and took on a new expression as the sun's rays shone from it. The opening hymn was magnificently directed by Mount Zion's "famous choir master," Mr. Matthias, and this set the tone so that the entire Eucharistic celebration could as beautiful as possible.
The most touching moment was the thanksgiving, after the presentation of the symbols during the offertory. It was beautiful to watch the entire people of God lifting up their hands to dance and praise the Lord. This gave the idea and image of what heaven must be, a place of praise and worship before the true God. In fact, if our liturgy is spoken with sincerity, it becomes a participation and foretaste of heaven.
At the end of Mass, we processed, or rather, we "pilgrimaged" to the Shrine accompanied by St. Nicholas de Flue, the saint of peace and took the crown of roses with us to offer it to Mary. The Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir wanted to place this symbolic and meaning full gift in the most important place, there where Mary has placed her royal throne, in the Shrine. We could also say that St. Nicholas accompanied us to ask Mary, the Queen of Peace for peace. The crown of flowers was a small gesture and may seem insignificant in the eyes of many, but it was loaded with meaning and symbolism. It means that we believe that Mary is truly the Queen of peace and is able to intercede for us, asking for peace in our hearts and in our country. It means that we are not alone, we walk with St. Nicholas de Flue, the saint of peace. It also means each one of us, particularly the Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir, are committed to promoting peace and making this gesture fruitful. Finally, it also calls all of us to be missionaries and apostles of a new culture that is being born: a culture of peace.
In conclusion, we thank all those who made this beautiful day possible, we thank those who prayed that everything would go well and above all, for those who prayed for rain, as we felt the very first drops beginning to fall. We also thank all those in the International Schoenstatt Family who were present with us in prayer.
Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Johannesburg, South Africa
Had Nicholas not been a saint, or had he eaten and drunk like other saints, Switzerland with all it has meant for peace and humanity would probably not exist today. For Nicholas's entire life was ordained in view of his vocation to save his country.
Nicholas von Flue was born on March 21st, 1417 in the Canton of Unterwalden on the lake of Lucerne, a citizen of a peasant democracy and a farmer's son. As he grew up he proved himself a capable farmer, and the ability he displayed in the local parliament, of which every male citizen was a member, led to his election at an early age as councillor and judge. He also proved himself a capable commander of troops. In the war against the duke of Tirol he persuaded his compatriots to respect a convent of nuns. Though willing to perform his military service, Nicholas condemned as immoral, wars of aggression and the slaughter of non-combatants inevitable in any major modern war. About the age of thirty he married a farmer's daughter, Dorothy Wiss, and built a farmhouse to receive her. The couple had ten children and descendants survive to this day.
Nicholas had thus approved himself to his countrymen as a thoroughly capable man, as farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and father of a family—also a man of complete moral integrity. All the while, however, he led a life of contemplative prayer and rigorous fasting. He was the subject of symbolic visions and a diabolic assault.
After some twenty years of married life, in 1467 Nicholas received a compelling call to abandon his home and the world and become a hermit. Though she had just borne his tenth child his wife heroically consented. His neighbors, however, even his older children, regarded his action as indefensible, unbalanced, immoral and irresponsible. He set out for Alsace, where he intended to live. Had he carried out his intention his vocation would have been missed. A storm, however, symbolically interpreted, and friendly advice not to settle where the Swiss were detested made him turn back from the border. At the same time he became incapable of eating or drinking—a condition which continued for the rest of his life. As an act of obedience to a bishop he once ate with acute agony a piece of soaked bread. (The problem of prolonged fasting is more fully discussed in the account of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.)
He resumed to his native canton, passing the first night undiscovered in the cow-shed of his farm and settled in a hermitage at Ranft within a few miles of his home. It was no temptation to return home, as he never felt the least desire for his former life. Symbolic visions continued to be a feature of his contemplation, and when, after a month's strict surveillance, his countrymen were convinced that his fast was genuine, they recognised his sanctity and vocation, and he became a spiritual guide whose advice was widely sought and followed. Pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He acquired influence with Duke Sigismund of the Tirol, whom he confirmed in his neutrality when the Swiss confederacy met and defeated Charles of Burgundy. Everything was ready for the climax of Nicholas's life: the accomplishment of his unique vocation.
The victorious cantons were at loggerheads. The rural cantons opposed inflexibly the demand of Zurich and Lucerne that Freiburg and Soleure be admitted to the confederacy. A conference held at Stans, December 1481, failed to reach agreement. Next day the delegates would disperse and a civil war ensue which would presumably have destroyed the confederacy. The parish priest, once Nicholas's confessor, hurried to Ranft and laid the matter before the hermit. During the night Nicholas dictated suggested terms of agreement. The priest resumed in time to persuade the delegates to give a hearing to the proposals of a man so widely respected for his well tried practical abilities and so widely venerated for his holiness. The terms suggested—the conditional admittance of Freiburg and Soleure—were unanimously accepted and embodied in the agreement of Stans. Switzerland had been saved.
Nicholas survived his achievement almost six years, universally revered, visited and consulted. On March 21st 1487, his seventieth birthday, he died, apparently of his first illness. One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed. After all, she had never lost her husband completely. Honored by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas's cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9). In 1947 he was canonized by Pope Pius XII.
Taken from "The Saints: A concise Biographical Dictionary", edited by John Coulson, published by Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1960.
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To better admire the life of St. Nicholas of Flue, let me propose several presuppositions and make some observations.
First, at that time, like today, Switzerland was divided into cantons, which are small provinces. Each canton had an almost complete independence, subordinate only to a Swiss Confederation that exerted a vague authority over them all. They frequently were engaged in disputes and fights, because the neighboring countries exerted different influences over the various cantons. For example, in one canton, they spoke French, in another, German; in another, Italian, etc., and each canton was normally influenced by the neighboring country to which it had culturally closer ties. This generated intense political disputes often followed by military engagements.
15th-century Switzerland produced many special military units like the Swiss Guards
Second, you can imagine this valorous man in the battlefield, carrying his sword in one hand, and his shield and rosary in the other. It is a beautiful battle scene! Today you can see how the connotations that surround objects of piety have changed because of sentimentalism. Today, who would say that a rosary reminds one of a warrior? On the contrary, more often it calls to mind a man incapable of fighting. This religious sentimentalism worked an almost complete change. This is a grave injustice to the rosary.
Third, it is interesting to see how St. Nicholas showed a profound spirit of hierarchy when he declined an important public post that was offered to him. He said, "No, I am from a humble condition, and I don't want to exert authority over persons who are higher than me by birth." Such a thing no longer exists in our century. Today egalitarianism has invaded everything, and we have the opposite: the rejection of someone because he has a higher condition and the preference for the lower. That is, the scale of values has been completely inverted.
Above, a scene from the Swiss Alps, where St. Nicholas
herded his cattle. Below, the Parish Church of Sachseln where his relics are preserved
You can imagine the scene of the judge Nicholas of Flue seated in the small tribunal of his canton and listening to the different sides of a suit. As the persons are presenting the case, suddenly someone notices that the judge has a distant gaze that reveals he is in ecstasy. He becomes illuminated, seeing a heavenly scene. The talking ceases in the tribunal; the hatred and differences dissolve; when the vision ends the opposed parties are reconciled; the case is resolved. Do you know some judge like this? How everything has changed in our days!
You can also imagine the shepherd in the poetic Swiss landscape. In the background are the Alps covered with snow, which at sunset take on pink or light blue hues. St. Nicholas of Flue is there blowing a horn to assemble his dispersed cattle. He stops and prays the Angelus by himself, and then heads toward the stables with the cattle. At this moment he receives the visit of an Angel who shows him Heaven and reveals this or that marvel to him. When he returns, the cattle are all in the stable, quiet and bedded down for the night, led there by another Angel who took care of them. The Angels, the innocence of the Swiss landscape and the soul of St. Nicholas of Flue fit together perfectly. It is something truly superior!
Fifth, the vision of the lily that fell and was eaten by an animal showed him that his high contemplation was often destroyed by earthly concerns. If some of us have an analogous problem – and I think that many of us do – we should take St. Nicholas of Flue as our patron saint. We should ask him for the grace to not demean the graces we receive and to sustain our good thoughts. It is encouraging for us to see that saints have the same problem we have.
The cell from the hermitage of St. Nicholas in Ranft
These are the points I offer for your meditation in admiration of St. Nicolas of Flue, asking him to give us the courage to always have the sword in one hand and the rosary in the other in the difficult fight we are engaged in today.
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
- Scripture Catholic's caution on some presentations on the topic
- CatholicPreaching.com Various resources by Fr. Roger J. Landry.
- Hogan, Richard M. (February 25, 2003). "An Introduction to John Paul II's Theology of the Body". Natural Family Planning Outreach. http://www.nfpoutreach.org/Hogan_Theology_%20Body1.htm. Retrieved on 2006-07-14.
- ^ West, Christopher (2004). Theology of the Body for Beginners. Ascension Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-932645-34-9.
- ^ a b Weigel, George (October 1999). Witness to Hope (First edition ed.). Harper Perennial. pp. 336, 343, 853. ISBN 0-06-018793-X.
During the second world war, the German tanks massed on the Swiss border. All the Swiss started to request the rosary or other prayers through the intercession of holy Nicholas de Flue (national patron saint), and even the General Commander of all swiss armies, named Guisan, which was Protestant, admitted having requested the rosary and holy Nicholas.
Conclusion: the German armoured tanks made half-turn. Explanation given by German testimonys: they saw a hand in the sky which beckoned to them not to advance. They were afraid and made half-turn. They could not attack. And it was far to be the only example. God stops the wars if it is asked to him.
Avec mes meilleures salutations.
François de Siebenthal
14, ch. des Roches
CH 1010 Lausanne