Ready or Not, Here I Come
Hide and Seek
As a kid, I remember the rush of playing a good game of Hide and Seek. We all know the rules of the game. One person covers their eyes and counts down from ten. Everyone else disperses and finds the most unlikely, clever spot to hide. I was always trying to squeeze myself into the smallest spaces like a cabinet or the inside of a laundry dryer and whenever the seeker passed by, I held my breath afraid that if I exhaled too loudly, I’d be found.
As the seeker, I always looked in the most obvious spots first. When no one could be found, I began searching in the more unlikely places. There was always something about being the seeker that felt foolish and risky because you might look under a bed or open a closet to find that no one was there. As far as I knew, every piece of furniture in a room was just that—a piece of furniture, until I could prove otherwise. It was only a couch until I found my sister safely nestled beneath the pile of cushions. When you are hidden, whatever you hide in seems to be the only thing present in the room.
Hiding in the Garden
In Genesis Chapter 3, we see that when Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, [they] hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).” We know that it was not for love of the game that Adam and Eve hid themselves and waited to be found by God. It was out of their fear and shame that they ran from their Creator. Even in recognizing their nakedness, the man and wife covered themselves with loincloths made from fig leaves (cf. Gen. 3:7).
Satan asks us to hide in the hopes that we will remain in the darkness and not bring our fears and shame to the light. Though we might run and hide from God, “if we are unfaithful, He remains faithful (2 Tm 2:13).” God does not distance Himself from us. Our invitation to a life with Christ is not a game of Hide and Seek. He does not “hide [Him] self to tease us.” He is always seeking after us.
While Satan asks us to hide, Jesus Christ asks us to be hidden in Him. We do not want to hide from Him, but have a hidden life in Him. Just as we “become” the table that we hide under in a game of Hide and Seek, we become more like Christ as we are hidden in Him. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh (Rom. 13:14).” Unlike hiding from someone and waiting with anticipation to be found, there is peace and rest in being hidden in someone—namely Jesus.
Learning From Mother Mary
I only recently looked up the definition of the word mantle to understand why so many Catholics often pray the words, “Mother Mary, wrap us in your mantle.” The word mantle is defined as “a loose, sleeveless cloak or cape” or “something that covers, envelops, or conceals.” Beneath the mantle of Mary, we can find rest and refuge. It brings me great consolation to think of this hidden life. Will Reagan offers a prayer of surrender to this way of life in his song “Hidden” when he sings the words, “Now I am hidden in the safety of Your love. I trust Your heart and Your intentions.”
Jesus Himself lived and spoke of this hidden life. “For thirty years Jesus did not make a single gesture,” Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbée says, “did not say a single word which could have revealed who He was. He remained so hidden and silent that for all those who had lived with Him…He was the carpenter, the Son of Joseph, and that was all (I Believe in Love, Conference 7: The Apostolate).” It was entrenched in humility and a ceaseless prayer life that the Holy Family responded to God’s will. When we look at the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary we see the fruit of this hidden life. Mary gives her fiat in the solitude of her room. Mary gives birth to the Son of God in a lowly manger. Mary finds the “lost” child Jesus preaching in the temple where He is hidden in the safety of the Father’s house. Little is known of Jesus’ life before His public ministry and we already know that St. Joseph says very few words. But, their hidden lives bear much fruit.
Even in Jesus’ public ministry we see how often He performs healing miracles and warns others not to tell of the miracle they’ve witnessed. In His preaching, He speaks in hidden ways—in parables. Even His parables speak of hidden things—the lost sheep which will be sought after and found, the parable of the lost coin which the woman searches for until she finds it, and the prodigal son who runs from home and squanders his inheritance, but finds himself when he returns home to the father (Luke 15). “I will open my mouth in parables,” says Jesus, “I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world (Matthew 13:35).” “The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matthew 13:44).”
Seeking Him to Find Us
Jesus gives us Himself hidden in the form of bread and wine in the Mass. I love the prayer after the benediction of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament which petitions that the heart of Jesus may be adored in every moment in all the tabernacles of the world. It reminds me that there are Catholics on every continent who have chosen this hidden life of humility and prayer which transforms them to be more like Jesus Himself. There are people in this world who are the future saints of our Church; people like Saint Therese of Lisieux who find their mission in being hidden in Jesus. Though the quote was written with women in mind, I pray that we might all strive for a hidden life as Maya Angelou states it: “A woman’s heart must be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him to find her.” May we be “so hidden in God that [others have to] seek Him to find [us].” Amen.