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Father Muench Says...

‘Be hidden’ to become light for the world

Feb. 15, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I am certain you will remember a recent Sunday Gospel – the one in which Jesus uses the images of salt and light as important qualities of his disciples.

Jesus challenges us, as his followers and disciples, to bring him to the world in the way that salt flavors food and light brightens the darkness. 

Living our lives as good Christians brings Jesus to our world and helps us make this world a better place.

Pope Francis writes this, as he calls us to be the light of the world: “If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our hearts will ‘light up’ with joy that speaks to everyone.”

I firmly believe that there will be opportunities, each and every day, when we can bring Christ’s love and peace to another in need by the way we live out our Christian lives.  When we allow Jesus to be part of our life, we become a light – a light to our world.

I would here like to add something more to this call to be the light to others.  Being a light reminded me of the Little Mandate of Madonna House that was composed by Catherine Doherty, their foundress.  She wrote this Little Mandate as a guide and a directive to her staff workers. 

I think this fits in well here.  She writes, “Be hidden.  Be a light to your neighbor’s feet.  God without fear into the depths of men’s hearts.  I shall be with you.”

“Be hidden.”  I was curious about how this fits into our longing to be a disciple of the Lord.  We are to be a light. How does the challenge to “be hidden” fit in?

To understand this better, I went to a book written by Father Robert Wild, “Journey to the Heart of Christ.”  In the book, he investigates the entire message of this Little Mandate.  I would like to share with you some of his ideas about this call to be hidden.

Father Wild suggests Hiddenness as Preparedness.  Being hidden means being ready.  Carrying within us the mystery of Christ, we are poised, ready to be used by God, at any moment. Like an arrow in a quiver.

We will discover the value of a time of being hidden with the Lord as a time of enriching our Christian discipleship.  This will produce in us a spirit that transforms our lives.  This truly will make us a light to our neighbor’s feet.

It is in these hidden times of prayer, the hidden times of growing in faith, the hidden time at Mass, at the Eucharist when we become true disciples, when we become that dedicated follower of Jesus, that person that the Lord depends on to make a difference through our Christian life. 

I believe that the Lord really does need us.  Every day our lives are filled with opportunities and challenges when we can bring the light of Christ, the love of our God, to another in need. 

We are constantly needed by our Lord as a disciple prepared to reach out in love and concern to help someone experience God’s great love for them.

Hiddenness keeps us focused on the Lord as the giver of graces.  God protects us in our hiddenness opening our lives to his grace.  God protects those he loves.

A Light to the World: living a good life is a strong witness to the presence of God’s love in our hearts and God’s great concern for all people.  Our light will shine when we are truly genuine people, living lives filled with mercy, always ready to show compassion and God’s love to others. 

Camus wrote this, “The world today needs Christians who remain Christians.”

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