Saint Ignatius of Loyola

We live in an age that promotes transparency and the sharing of information indiscriminately.  Good or evil, with blatant disregard for the souls of those who might happen upon it, information and facts are being regurgitated and spewed out upon the face of the earth like some new form of pollution.  The industry of sensationalism is creating a thick layer of toxic information waste on the surface of the planet that its poor inhabitants must wade through on a daily basis.  Searching for the information we need increasingly resembles dumpster diving.  The clouds that store our precious data also allow an endless torrent of acid “news” rain flooding our souls.

The Word of God reminds us that nothing of what is hidden will remain so indefinitely.  At the last judgment all will be made known: both good and evil.  Those who wish all evil to be exposed in this age believe human justice to be beyond reproach.  God certainly allows some evil to remain hidden because human justice is flawed and sometimes even compounds evil.  God also, mysteriously, wants the good to remain hidden. Do good works so that men may see them, but also veil them out of humility.  Hide the pearls you have discovered lest the swine trample them underfoot.  God Himself, though in one sense transparent, is also infinite and therefore too great to be fully fathomed by our limited minds.  Even when He fully reveals Himself we cannot fully grasp Him and so He remains hidden without hiding anything.


See how the kingdom of heaven is compared with a treasure hidden in a field. Someone finds and hides it, and in his joy goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. We should note that the treasure, once discovered, is hidden to protect it. It is not enough to guard our pursuit of heavenly delight from wicked spirits if we do not hide it from human praise. In this present life we are, as it were, on the road by which we proceed to our homeland. Wicked spirits lie in wait along our route like bandits. Those who carry their treasure openly on the road are asking to be robbed.
I say this, however, not because our neighbors should not see our good works, for it is written, “Let them see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven,” but that we may not seek praise from outside for what we do.1


Many who were entirely foreign to religion immediately recognized, by divine grace, the greatness of Christ, in that they despised all their former things and looked to this thing alone, recognizing that the one who is salvation is for them. Then he adds, again, that many people, even of those who have been exceedingly zealous about religion, when they recognize the greatness of the preaching, shall turn aside from old things. Such, for instance, was Paul, who had displayed a great deal of zeal for the law, but who, when he came to see the greatness of the gospel, disdained everything having to do with the law. He himself says, “but what things were gain to me, those I counted as loss for the sake of Christ”; and again, “I count all things but loss, and count them as dung, that I may win Christ.” He seems to have said this both on account of those Greeks who were devoted to religion and, again, on account of the Jews.2


For so long as a man does not attend to the spiritual meaning “a veil lies upon his heart,” in consequence of which veil, in other words his duller understanding, the Scripture itself is said or thought to be veiled. This is the explanation of the veil which is said to have covered the face of Moses when he was speaking to the people, that is, when the law is read in public. But if we turn to the Lord, where also the Word of God is and where the Holy Spirit reveals spiritual knowledge, the veil will be taken away, and we shall then with unveiled face behold in the holy Scriptures the glory of the Lord.3


When Moses comes forth from the sanctuary of God, he veils his shining countenance when in the presence of the people, because he is not going to reveal to the multitude the secrets received in profound enlightenment. Hence God speaking through him enjoined that if anyone dug a pit and neglected to cover it over, then if an ox or an ass fell into it, he should pay the price of the animal. So when a man who has arrived at the deep streams of knowledge does not cover them up before the unlearned hearts of his hearers, he is judged liable to punishment if by his words a soul, whether clean or unclean, takes scandal. Hence it is said to blessed Job: “Who gave the cock understanding?”4


  1. FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 11.1.  Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 286). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. FRAGMENT 75.  Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 287). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. ON FIRST PRINCIPLES 1.1.2.  Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (p. 156). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. PASTORAL CARE 3.39.  Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (p. 156). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x