Archbishop Martinez’s book, Worshipping a Hidden God, unfolds a journey that begins with understanding the need for humility culminates with one’s participation in the Divine Life. The opening chapters focus on emptying oneself to allow room for the fullness of God in our life. The ultimate goal is perfection and that objective is a daunting task. Martinez states, “if we are to achieve perfection, an absolute renunciation of all things of this world is necessary.” He also warns, “he who will not renounce himself should not try to attain perfection.”  For most of us, perfection will not likely occur in this lifetime, but there is much grace in working toward that ideal.
While I anticipate revisiting several of the chapters of this book to give further reflection, I was Spirit-driven to write first about chapter fifteen, Bear Your Crosses Willingly. Martinez asks a question that deserves a soul-searching response. “Let us suppose our Lord should appear in our midst and give to each one of us a wrapped package. I do not know what is in my package. But is it not true that even before knowing its contents, I should receive it with great gratitude for the simple reason that He gives it to me and that it comes impregnated with His love?” While others have expressed this acceptance of the joys and sorrows of this life as part of God’s plan for us, Martinez’s imagery is very powerful. This is not a distant God doling out our daily bread, that is, what we truly need each day, but rather an intimate encounter with the living Son of God. Here before me stands Jesus, handing personally to me what He knows, in His infinite wisdom, I need at this particular time and place in my life. It would be very hard to not accept such an offer. We would eagerly take this package that was selected and hand-wrapped for us by the Lord of Lords. Martinez provides a unique perspective in looking at the blessings and crosses in our lives. Ultimately, the blessings and crosses are one and the same, all meant to draw us closer to God, to help us to grow in holiness and to lead us to perfection.
There is a word of caution in this chapter concerning the crosses of this world. Unfortunately, not all crosses are of divine origin. Some crosses are shaped by human hands and placed on the shoulders of others. The human-made crosses are not formed with detailed knowledge of the recipient. They are fashioned in weights and sizes without regard to the capabilities of the bearer. The crosses we impose on others do not come with the graces needed to carry them and fall on shoulders that are not able to bear them. The crosses that the Lord gives always come with abundant grace and are carefully made for us.
The message of Martinez in this chapter is two-fold and simple; bear our crosses willingly and do not impose crosses made by our hands onto others. If we had our way, crosses would not be a part of our life, but as followers of Christ, crosses are the paths to holiness and deserve our gratitude. Martinez gives these words for us to reflect upon:
If we ought to receive all crosses with love and gratitude, we ought to receive the more precious crosses with greater gratitude and love. If, in those packages we spoke of, our Lord were to give us little crosses of ordinary wood, we should be grateful. But if the cross is not of common wood, but of the olive trees of Gethsemane, our gratitude ought to be greater. And if it should be made with the particles of the true Cross, then our gratitude should have no bounds.
Worshipping a Hidden God is itself a “hidden” treasure from a little known archbishop of Mexico that will deepen your spiritual life and give you direction to continue on your journey to perfection!
Title: Worshipping a Hidden God: Unlocking the Secrets of the Interior Life
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Release Date: 2003, 2014