Let us consider, today, the power of the “hidden God” within us. That is the daily phenomenon of God working in, through, with and, sometimes, despite of us! There are indications throughout the four Gospels that God’s’ “hidden presence” within is real, powerful and salvific. Actually we can say that the “hidden God” embraces us totally throughout our lives. I have caught onto this reality just in reflecting upon daily experiences, many of which contain hard-to-resolve issues. These issues surface in dealing with the daily human condition of our weaknesses showing through sin. These hard-to-resolve issues include our inhumane treatment of one another. By reflecting, that is, just taking a deliberate time of silence each day to allow “the hiddenness of God” to surface, we get glimpses of that hiddenness within. Adam was in a deep sleep, when his female counterpart was created. The hiddenness of our Creator God. “It not good for the man to be alone,” God says.
The impetus of our hidden God is unity with all. “That they all may be one, Father, as I in you are One.”
The very opposite of that unity were the foreign cities of Tyre and Sidon. And the hiddenness of this Spirit within Jesus and in the Syro-Phoenician mother with her possessed daughter, brings about an encounter which ultimately brings healing.
I am not saying that encounters with the stranger (i.e., people who do not look or speak like me) will guarantee automatic “bonding.” Far from it. It is a process with the hidden God as mediator. For Jesus himself it was a difficult encounter having his own priorities challenged. Was the woman a distraction for him, or, the center of attention as another child of God? The difficulty of that encounter may be revealed in Jesus’ reaction to the woman’s response to his insensitive comment. Her answer may have been too much for Jesus to deal with. He heals the daughter but he also says to the woman, “For such a reply, be off now!” As one commentator points out, Jesus needed more time before he could deal with the old, traditional separation and the new bond of union.
Can we find this habit of intentional silence whereby we can better discern how we are being led, and how people are being led to us, for the sake of furthering the unity which our “hidden God” desires?
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.