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"He warned them not to make him known"


This preference for hiddenness, for remaining unseen, seems to have been a definite impulse of Jesus, clearly depicted on a few occasions in the Gospel. 

masaccio-6793It appears he wanted to go unobserved during certain interludes, to pass shrouded through the crowds, inconspicuous and ordinary, even after he began his public life. Surely this desire to remain unrecognized cannot have been a capricious gesture.

What is happening here, since in other places he is intent on revealing himself? Does it give a hint of a divine attribute which we have not named properly, and yet of vital importance for knowing God's relations with our soul? These occasions when he desired to remain concealed and unnoticed, are they showing us the shape and contour, as it were, of the only encounter with God at times available to us? Must we necessarily seek him in his hiddenness if we are to find him?…

If we desire deeper prayer, should we not also learn to pass through the crowds in secret, unnoticed by others, drawing no attention? The desire to be unknown and hidden, concealed from sight, is not simply a monkish inclination. It is an impulse that arises with deeper prayer. This desire has a certain logic in the nature of love. We seek in love a God who has a penchant for hiding himself, and we are drawn to follow him into his own hiding places.



haggertyFr. Donald Haggerty. "He warned them not to make him known." Contemplative Provocations (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2013).

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.

The Author

haggerty1haggerty2Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He has been a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland and has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He is the author of Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God, as well as Contemplative Provocations and The Contemplative Hunger.

Copyright © 2013 Ignatius Press
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