brian j plachta
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Nescio (I Don't Know) and Fiducia (I Trust)
by brian j plachta on October 17th, 2020

“Linda’s favorite t-shirt had the word nescio printed in bold letters,” Father Tom said at Linda’s funeral. “When people asked what nescio meant, she replied, ‘I don’t know.’  The acquaintance would then cock their head and ask why she’d wear something if she didn’t know its meaning. Linda would respond, ‘I don’t know.’ Eventually, she’d tell the person she was joking—it was actually a Latin word that meant ‘I don’t know.’”

That’s how Linda lived her life, Father Tom continued. She was open to surprise, awed by wonder. She didn’t try to fit God or people into neat intellectual boxes. She wasn’t trapped by not knowing. To her, life was Divine Mystery.

And rather than being overwhelmed by life’s uncertainty or trying to figure everything out intellectually, Linda had another Latin word she lived by: fiducia. Trust.

Linda trusted she was God’s bride, and he was her bridegroom. They had an intimate relationship. She trusted God more than anything else. She also trusted herself as she listened and followed divine guidance. The word fiducia captured the essence of their spiritual love affair.

As Father Tom spoke, I wondered what it would be like to see the world as Divine Mystery. Would I stop trying to figure everything out, including myself, and simply open my heart to receive the Creator’s unconditional love in all the amazing ways he shows up each day? The morning sunrise, the first cup of steaming coffee, the kiss on my wife’s cheek—all of these are the mystery of Divine Love made real. Tangible.

I don’t know, and I trust. Could that become the motto that calms my endless search for answers? Would that trust help me live life’s mystery, knowing we are guided by the Divine Hand?

Trusting the Three Faces of God

Paul Smith, in Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, suggests God has three faces, each of which we can learn to trust and understand as we dive deeper into our relationship with the Divine Lover.

The Intimate Face of God.

 This dimension of God is the Creator, our companion who walks alongside us through life shoulder-to-shoulder. “This God comes to us like a close and caring parent, Abba mommy-daddy,” Smith writes. We find this face of God in our hearts as we experience the radiant love planted there. We come to understand the Creator of the Universe is as close to us as our heartbeat, ready to embrace and guide us on life’s pathway.

The Inner Face of God.

This face of God points to the incarnation of divine love in the world through us. We are not God, yet we are made in the image and likeness of God. Our lives embody divine presence as we fill the universe with love, laughter, and hope. This face of God can be found in our gut as we experience God birthing in and through us, making the divine tapestry of love a reality.

God Beyond Us. 

The face of God beyond us allows us to be one with Divine Mystery far beyond human understanding. The Creator is infinite, beyond description and human comprehension. This face of God is found rising above our heads into the heavens. We’re awestruck pondering the immensity of how the Creator has structured a Universe we’re only beginning to explore and understand. This is the face of God that allows us, like Linda, to declare, “Nescio. I don’t know. Fiducia. And I trust.”

Trusting Not Knowing

Each week when I sit to write my blog, I ask God, “What do you want me to write about?” Then I ponder for a day or two to let the answer arise. The topic is usually what I’m learning or what a teacher I’m studying offers me—or what I’m struggling with as I try to learn and grow.

This week, I don’t know what I should write. I don’t know if I even trust what I’m supposed to write. But Linda’s life reminds me, I don’t know, and I trust.

Some things in life are beyond human understanding. That’s the stuff we call “mystery.” It’s the face of God beyond us. We don’t have to understand everything. We only have to trust.

Day by day, moment by moment, Nescio—Fiducia.

—brian j plachta

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