Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt 13:44).
God is hiding in plain sight. He is in our midst, present to all of us, a wonderful treasure just waiting to be found. God’s eternal love and grace is ever reaching out to us. Our soul hungers, yearns, and seeks for that love, whether we know it or not. It is when we seek satisfaction, filling this deepest of our desires in material and finite pursuits alone, that we miss the mark. When we sin, create idols, seek the allure of apparent goods, we block our access to the very union we seek, we are not satisfied and our desire increases all the more. God acts in the everyday events of our lives, but we limit those experiences by waving them off as mere coincidences. In doing so, we have missed the opportunity to find a great treasure.
The saints and the mystics are those who have found the treasure of God’s will in their lives, they have experienced his love and mercy. They have encountered the living God in the midst of their everyday and given all to be immersed in his communion. They “are amplifiers of every person’s more hidden life of faith, hope, and love. Their lives help us to hear the interior whispers and see the faint flickers of divine truth and love in ourselves and others. The Christian mystics point the way to fully authentic human life by illustrating what it means to be a human being, what life means: eternal union (which begins here) with the God of love” (Egan 1996, ix-xx).
God speaks in the silence of the heart. We need to set aside time to be still so to hear his whisperings. We need to open our hearts and minds to recognize his presence, the faint flickers, the God-incidents present in our daily experiences and those we encounter today. We can experience Christ by reading and meditating on his Word, as well as reading the lives of the mystics and the saints, those who have found the treasure of Jesus’ presence and want to share it with us: St Francis of Assisi, St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, St Therese of Lisieux; and/or St Mother Teresa, so many leading us and urging us on to experience the rich encounter of the loving God of Jesus Christ.
One who found this great treasure was St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), whose memorial we celebrate today. He found great consolation in reading the lives of the saints. “While reading the life of Christ our Lord or the lives of the saints, he would reflect and reason with himself: ‘What if I should do what St. Francis or St. Dominic did?'” (Luis Gonzalez, The Liturgy of the Hours, vol III, 1975, 1566). May we ask this same question so to find the great treasure in our midst which is to experience the love of God in the depths of our soul, and love as Jesus loves us, so to become saints. St. Ignatius, Pray for us!
Photo: Hiking in California a few years back.
Egan, Harvey D. An Anthology of Christian Mysticism, Second Edition. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996.