Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Ignatius of Loyola warns against the honors of the world as well as the temptation to seek honor within the Church (SpEx 23, 142 146, etc.) since the true life of Christ bears a certain hiddenness that we hear about in today’s Gospel. This does not mean that we should not be explicit about our Christianity in appropriate ways. We can and should find ways to live our faith out as a public witness to Christ. We should not be afraid to talk about our own life of faith and the grace of God working within us when it is appropriate to do so. We should be aware, however, that being explicitly Christian is not enough. A person can think that, because she is the co-chair of a parish council or because he is a priest, because she teaches Sunday school or because he volunteers in a homeless shelter, that he or she is living out the fullness of the Christian life. Sometimes our explicit witness to Christ can become a crutch that prevents us from realizing that God invites us to live lives that are not only explicitly Christian, but implicitly Christian as well. An implicitly Christian life is one in which a person is so given over to the Spirit that one knows no other life than the one that Jesus offers. Do I eat as Jesus eats? Do I converse with others as Jesus converses (cf. SpEx 214)? Do I work as Jesus works, delight as he delights, mourn as he mourns? If I do, then I live a Christianity that implicitly undergirds my whole life. Even if I do not explicitly speak of Christ, others will realize, to their amazement, that “I have food to eat that you do not know about… My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:32,34). One who lives in this way may remain hidden for her whole life, but this life “in secret” with “your Father who is hidden,” will be its own reward, far surpassing the esteem of our peers or any award that could ever be bestowed by those who offer an honor that is not God’s. Those who seek after worldly honors or the esteem of their peers will always be frustrated, but the “cheerful giver” who “takes care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” but rather “gives in secret” will “always have all that he needs” since God will “make every grace abundant” for the one who places all his trust in God.