The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus: The Hidden Life

The Spiritual Charism of Nazareth

Gisbert Greshake

“In Nazareth, God’s Son sanctifies the ordinary, insofar as he recognizes it as a gift offered to him by the Father, whom he must follow in obedience.”

To anticipate right from the outset: we ought not speak of “the” spirituality of Nazareth, but rather of a variety of spiritual orientations that revolve around the keyword “Nazareth.” Moreover, “Nazareth” does not simply represent the “hidden life” of Jesus, since, at least as Luke presents it, one finds elements of public life during this period (“the twelve-year-old in the temple,” Lk 2:41ff), just as Jesus’ “public life,” conversely, contains elements of hiddenness (time spent in the desert, the withdrawal into solitude [Mk 1:35; Jn 5:15], works performed in secret [Jn 7:4], remaining hidden [Jn 7:10; 8:59; 11:54]). Though there are clearly differing points of emphasis, it nevertheless remains true that if one were to isolate the single perspective of “hiddenness,” one would diminish the full significance of “Nazareth” for spirituality.

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