Palestine was probably the most fought-over country in the world. It was not uncommon for people to hide their valuables in the ground before taking flight from the conflict zone. One day they hoped to return to reclaim their treasure. If they died in the meantime their treasured remained buried. The man who found the treasure was an ordinary honest farm labourer. The lesson of the parable suggests that true happiness can be found as we go about our day’s work.
Brother Lawrence, great saint and mystic, spent most of his working life in the kitchen surrounded by dirty dishes. He used to say, ‘I feel Jesus as close to me in the kitchen, as ever I did in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.’ Whatever, our state in life – whether priest, Brother, Sister, housewife, tradesman or school teacher – God is never far away. If we live by the words of the ‘Our Father’ – ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done’ – we are on track to finding true happiness. There is no better formula for peace of mind and heart in this life, no better guarantee of glory in the next, than to live consciously aware that in our work we can find the hidden treasure. In doing God’s will, we gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
A legend tells how at the beginning of time God decided to hide himself within his own creation. As God was wondering where to hide himself, the angels gathered around him. ‘I want to hide myself in my creation,’ God told them. ‘I need to find a place that is not too easily discovered for it is in their search for me that my creatures will grow in spirit and understanding.’ ‘Why don’t you hide yourself deep in the earth?’ the first angel suggested. God pondered for a while and then replied, ‘No. It will not be long before they learn how to mine the earth and discover all the treasures that it contains. They will discover me too quickly and they will not have had enough time to do their growing.’ ‘Why don’t you hide yourself in the deepest ocean?’ a second angel suggested. God thought this over and then replied, ‘No. That won’t do either. Soon they will learn to dive to the deepest ocean bed before they have had enough time to do their growing.’ Finally, after many suggestions, one angel came up with a bright idea. ‘Why don’t you hide yourself within their hearts? They will never think of looking there.’ ‘That’s it,’ said God, delighted to have found the perfect hiding place.
And so it is that God hides deep within the human heart until a person has grown enough in spirit and in understanding to risk the great journey into the deep core of his being: there to discover the treasure of the divine indwelling. Men have climbed the highest mountains; they have dug deep into the earth; they have plumbed the depths of the ocean; they have even flown into space, all to no avail. If we discover God deep within us, we will have found a hidden treasure, a pearl of great price, our true worth. To believe that God dwells within us is a profound truth.
In one part of the Mass, as the priest mingles water with the wine, he prays… By the mingling of this water and wine, May we come to share in the divinity of Christ, Who humbled himself to share in our humanity… God can be found within a quiet and reflective heart.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb

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