English Summary – 4/2018 Hidden Life

Mireia Ryšková
“Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3,3)
The author of the Letter to Colossians makes a point of giving his addressees courage to be Christians, to live in a Christian way the community with God and in this way to be able to face competition with other ways to transcendent reality, to divinity, exclusive as they may be. Christ is the Lord of the whole cosmos and the head of the church. It is just through the church that every member stays in the connection with Christ and through him with God. The very mystic is the mystic of everyday life based on following Jesus in giving his/her life for the others. Believers participate in the mystery of God’s wisdom and in the knowledge of highest truth through Christ. The genu­ine existence of Christ and also of his followers is not known by the world, it will be revealed only when the whole world achieves the complete understanding of reality. For the time being the truth of the life of Christians is hidden through Christ in God. If it is hidden in God, the Father of Jesus Christ, then Christians are already fulfilled with God’s reality, they are embedded in him, they are fully recognised by him and therefore they can confront the negative sides of this world without fear.

Jean-Marie Lustiger
Mysticism and history
In this text, the former cardinal reminds us of the mysterious presence of God in history as well as Christian participation in His hidden life. The mysterious, hidden life of a Christian is an ongoing participation in God’s work of salvation. Mystic co-operates in building up the Body of Christ, it has always been a manifestation of solidarity with the whole humanity. Mystics do not represent a separated elite community of God’s people, however, through them, God bears witness that the human thirst for salvation can be quenched.

Thomas Keating
Prayer in Secret
This text is extracted from the book Manifesting God (chapters 10–11) which is about the principles of contemplative prayer – the retreat into the “inner room” mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 6:6, where the individual is able to meet God. In the inner room, the silent space in which God unloads the burdens and false selves that govern our individuality and our daily lives, God acts as a divine therapist, healing us and forcing us to recognize how many barriers we put up between ourselves and authentic relationship with God. The process whereby this happens is the foundation of centering prayer – a technique of prayer that Keating and other contemporary mystics have revived out of the ancient mystical traditions of the Desert Fathers and the medieval mystics. Keating explores what it means to enter the inner room and the transformation that takes place there. It explains the guidelines of centering prayer and offers advice on how to develop the relationship more deeply.

Testimony of our life
A Survey of hidden Christian life
The editors have interviewed a number of people who live a “hidden life” in different ways (a Little Sister of Jesus, Non-Catholic bishop who lives in a family, a contemplative nun, a Discalced Carmelite, a consecrated person living in a world). They were asked about the hidden life as a contemporary Christian ideal; how they actually live this way of life, about the relationship between the hidden way of life and passivity and lack of responsibility on the one hand between this way of life an readiness to bear Christian witness on the other.

Pavel Vojtěch Kohut OCD
How to seek the hidden God in a hidden way according to St. John of the Cross (Spiritual Canticle 1,2–4.6–12)
The author presents a translation and comentary on St. John’s introduction to the Spiritual Canticle. Here, John speaks of the concealment of God and describes the human spiritual journey as a journey towards the hidden God, towards the concealment. John does not allow us to remain at perception or viewing, knowledge and experience of God but we shall go beyond this reality in awarness of God’s transcendence. It means to enter into concealment and there, always, to seek the hidden God (even after He seems to have been found!). It means to seek God in faith and love, in the power of hope.

Pavel Vojtěch Kohut OCD
From the Jesus’ Heart to the depth of the Trinity
A pilgrimage of concealment with St Teresa Margaret Redi
A less well-known saint, discalced Carmelite Teresa Margaret Redi (1747–1770) is a typical example of a Christian life in which concealment is not just a part of life but rather a core of personal spiri­t­uality. This saint had looked for concealment with God even from her childhood. Thanks to her father’s spiritual accompaniment she grew up with respect for Jesus’ Sacred Heart. She spent her childhood with her parents until, at nine years of age, she moved to the Florentine Benedictines where she stayed for seven years. She lived the rest of her life as a discalced Carmelite sister, also in Florence. Respect for the Sacred Heart of the Lord, inspired her decision to “pay back love for Love”, gradually led her to a mystical experience of the Trinity. Even a long test of emotional dryness could not stop her carefully concealed spiritual development. On the contrary, the test strength­ened her determination to love God, not only in mystical prayer, but also in the heroic ministery of nursing sick and ageing sisters.

Kateřina Lachmanová
Hidden life in the middle of society according to Magdeleine Hutin, founder of The Little Sisters of Jesus
This biographical study describes the personality of Magdeleine Hutin, a founder of The Little Sisters of Jesus, and the charism of the Order, which links the hidden life of sisters to their engagement in the heart of modern society. It describes the founder’s journey from Europe to Algeria, how she followed in the legacy of Charles de Foucauld and her decision to extend the activity of the Order beyond the Islamic countries, e. g. to communistic countries.

Carol McDonough
Hermits and The Roman Catholic Church
Renewal of the Ancient profession
In this article the author summarizes the results of her exploration of eremitic life in a modern society. She describes the development of the eremitic tradition from its founder St. Anthony the Hermit up to its renewal in the present day. It focuses in particular on the situation in the Roman Catholic Church, where there is a new development of eremitic life, which is supported by the new Code of Canon Law. This gives rise to new opportunities for this way of life for example under the authority of a bishop or under obedience to a religious order or institute.
On nine particular examples, the author shows how modern hermits are inspired by the life of the Desert Fathers, primarily by Anthony’s desert tradition, how they live out the six paths of St. Anthony in modern society, how they experience their intimate personal relationship with Christ – in the anonymity of a “desert cell” or in the immensity of a modern city – and what role modern communication technologies play in their life, formation and testimony.

There is no quiver in solitude
An Interview with Aleš Palán
An interview with the publicist and writer Aleš Palán, author of a book interview with contemporary loners who have lived for ten or more years in concealment in the Šumava mountains, brings a deeper insight into these people’s lives. He speaks about their spirituality, their motivation for leaving society, their understanding of freedom and the fears they face.