On the Catholic Priesthood
The Hidden Life of Christ
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the representative Man, and the model and the perfect Man. It is only through Him and through conformity to Him that we can go to God. "No man cometh to the Father but by Me." "whom He foreknew, He predestined to be made conformable to the image of His Son." Let us learn from our Blessed Lord's life on earth the ways of "holiness, without which no man shall see God. "
First there are the marvels of our Lord's infant and hidden life on earth for thirty years, with lessons to all the world of humility, dependence, and obedience. How sweet a virtue humility must be before God, when we find that He, the God of all, empties Himself of the Majesty of His glory and becomes as nothing in the hands of men. Then the utter dependence in which He wills to be on His Blessed Mother, looking to her for everything. How can we ever realize the intense love He will have had for her, and the marvelous holiness He will have bestowed on her, for such Divine Ministrations? What a model to priests our Blessed Lady must every be, in the intensity of her devotion to the body of our Lord. And what a home of prayer, contemplation, and union with God must the holy house of Nazareth have been during those years of the hidden life. What must have been the sanctity of St. Joseph to have been the chosen guardian of the Word Incarnate and His Blessed Mother? The lowest of the three that he was, he is yet the official superior of the house. Who will not love obedience and subjection, even to those beneath us in power and dignity, from the examples of Jesus and Mary in subjection to Joseph?
The beauty and value of an ordinary, humble, homely, hidden life is here shown in all its power and perfection. We cannot doubt that during those thirty years our Lord was living and working for the glory of His Father, and for the regeneration and salvation of the world. Yet it was rather by the way of affective than effective love, at least as far as outer works were concerned. Our Lord would not go forth to evangelize the world until His hour had come. "My hour is not yet come." God Himself is the first Worker, and His will is the rule of life. He will know where to find us when He wants us. What a lesson to all young religious and aspirants to the priesthood is given to us by our Lord's long hidden life at Nazareth. He had no need or preparation for His mission to the world. But He was the model man, and the model priest, and He willed to teach us that our first need, for God and for souls, is the life "hidden with Christ in God. "