What is God Calling Me To Do
December 6, 2018
Today is the day on the Christian calendar (East and West) that marks the memory of one Nicholas, Bishop of Myra who was tortured and murdered for his faith and his leadership role in the local Christian community during the time of the persecutions instigated by Roman Emperor Diocletian (maybe 342 A.D. – ish?)
A man renown for a holy life and courage, if you same his name in Latin (a language he NEVER would have spoken as an Eastern Bishop, you would call Holy Nicholas: “Sanctas Nicholas.” And if you say his name fast enough for centuries, and cut the name up a bit, you get: “Santa Claus!” If you dress him up in the red robes of a western European Bishop (robes he NEVER would have worn as an Eastern Rite Bishop), you get the red robed Santa. Amazing what lives on after our time – how we are remembered.
This man’s life is shrouded in mystery. All we know with certitude is how he died as a leader and loving pastor of his people. But we know enough of legend. He is considered the patronal saint of sailors – for reasons I know not. He is also considered the patronal saint and protector of children. He was known to oppose those powerful ones who would have forced girls from among the poor into prostitution in order to support their impoverished families. He saved children. He made powerful enemies. He was a man of God who took being a Christian seriously. He was known to give away church resources to assist the poor. And now you can connect the dots and see how our cultural icon reflects the only vaguely remembered generosity of a hero from a long lost era in a land so far away.
Being a disciple and a member of the Jesus movement is serious work. And costs us love. It may cost us life. But it is so rewarding. So we might now visualize or remember Nicholas as he was. But we can imitate him to a point and strive to be more generous, loving courageous and mindful of those who do not have as much as we. That’s why this is such a special time of the year. Remember “Sanctas Nicholas.” Be like “St. Nick.” Let generosity fill your heart and spill into your actions!