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Journey with Colin: A doorway to the Marist Project

Nazareth 7

Remaining hidden and unknown

Journey with Colin: Nazareth 7 - Remaining hidden and unknown

A hidden force

It is not appropriate to consider the thirty years of the hidden life of Jesus as a preparatory phase of his public life. It is the very synthesis of the Lord's entire life. Sometimes we think of our time of formation as corresponding to our hidden life, and that our public life begins after we have been ordained. This is not the case.

Nazareth is a permanent dimension of the apostle.
The one who desires to be more active needs more contemplation.

The one who has to make more decisions in Christ has need of being well formed in Christ. Nazareth is like the touch-stone of our apostolate.

This is why we could speak of Nazareth as a hidden energy making our apostolate into an authentic force for the institutionalising of the work of the Kingdom. Nazareth makes us into a body and members of a Body. The hidden life permits us to reach the target and not to be an arrow lost in mid-air. It sets us to work to concretise history, and not to disperse ourselves in "occasional" apostolic activities without roots (...)

We know from experience that at the stage of the hidden life temptations are not any less numerous, and that the idealism of beginnings quickly wear out: "what I have against you is that you have lost the fervour of former times" (Apoc 2:4). And the memory of the "wonders the Lord has done" fade just as quickly. We are aware of the struggle that we must engage in so as to be loyal in the service of Jesus and to our belonging to the Church.

Despite everything, contemplations of the hidden life are the place where our first love can be refreshed, where we reconnect with the source of salvation, with that love of Mary conceiving the Word, with that love of Mary and Joseph caring for and educating the Word in Bethlehem, in Nazareth and in Egypt. What a priceless place of rest for the soul to be able to become once more a simple disciple, once more to become a child in need of care and formation (...).

Jorge Maria Bergoglio (Pope Francis),
Love, service and humility,
Magnificat Publications, 2013

Fr. Jean-Claude Colin"Gentlemen, a Society must have its spirit; the spirit of a Society is like the soul which enlivens the body; if the spirit is good, all is well. The spirit of the Society of Mary is essentially a spirit of modesty. The very name that we bear shows this. It must be a spirit of charity, of humility, of modesty. Also, in the Society, we must be as it were hidden in this world... Let us put all our confidence in God and the Holy Virgin. Is it our own work that we are doing.”

Founder speaks 174, 1-7

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"I love you, Lord,
my strength,
my rock…
For you save
a humble people
but humble the eyes
of the proud.

You, O Lord,
are my lamp,
my God,
who enlightens
my darkness."

Psalm 17 (18) 1.28-29

 

Exercises
for personal reflection
or group sharing

• Personal time: Draw a table with four columns.

Fill the first two columns with the advantages that you discover in living "hidden and unknown": in the first column in so far as you see it as a way of living in the Church (that is, in the name of the mission that Christ entrusts to his disciple).

The next two columns will serve to try to measure the disadvantages linked with such an attitude: in the third column, the disadvantages in living personally in this way; in the fourth column, the disadvantages of the same attitude in regard to the mission of the Church.

Once the table has been filled out, with the greatest possible "objectivity", you should be able to see, more or less, which way your heart and mind incline.

• Time of sharing: In small groups, share what you have found and exchange about what has come to light.

• Conclusion: Re-read together what Father Colin said. There is no doubt that this attitude of hidden and unknown is linked to his personality and to a moment of the Church's history.

However, over and beyond, does it not come from an essential spiritual attitude that is specifically Christian?