The Hidden Life
Today we pray one of the Genesian mysteries of the Rosary - the one that fits between Finding Jesus in the Temple and the Baptism of Our Lord.
It is the mystery of the Hidden Life of Jesus. It is the one mystery the members of the Fraternity of St. Genesius pray daily, probably because it serves to remind us ego-maniacal actors that the meaning of life is not to be found in plaudits and praise of life on stage, but in the smallness and simplicity of life off stage - especially in the life of the family.
For the Hidden Life of our Lord, those years He spent quietly with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, were spent not alone, but in a context, the context of the domestic church - the family.
Today I wrote an article that won't interest most of you. It's a reply to a scholarly essay on our website the Christian Shakespeare. But the article, while fairly academic, touches upon a fascinating issue. And it is this: nothing and no one exists alone.
This can be said first of all about any sort of book or text you read. Any text must be read with knowledge and understanding of the enormous life that surrounds the text and to which the text alludes. You cannot fully understand, say, the book of Hebrews in the Bible apart from the rest of the New Testament. And you can't understand the New Testament apart from the Old Testament. And you can't understand the Old Testament apart from life - from the joys, horrors, temptations, sins, fear and wonder that we all feel, and that the Bible alludes to and in a sense incorporates in its books.
And what can be said of books can be said of people. For, in a similar way, none of us exists without a family. We may like to think we do, and when we're adolescents we turn our noses up at the annoying and ordinary group of people who raised us - we dismiss our context. But our Hidden Lives are truly a mystery - for our Hidden Lives are spent in a milieu that nurtures and rears us and that makes us more than the isolated individuals we like to think of ourselves as being.
As G. K. Chesterton said ...
“The best way that man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.”
May we pray a decade of the Rosary while meditating upon the Hidden Life of Jesus, and on the model of inter-dependence, obedience and humility his Hidden Life shows us.
And let us pray ...
To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.