The Hiddenness of God

The mystical lives in the field of daily action.”
-Diane M. Connelly
All Sickness Is Homesickness

This was penned during one of my 2010 sabbatical visits to Haiti while living in the Girardoville slum.

To be in Haiti is to be in the belly of the beast with Job. In Haiti, the presence of God takes on the form of absence. It is the sign of Jonah writ large. In Haiti human misery is raw and real. In Haiti my false ideas and values were shattered into thousands of little pieces. I saw clearly the pain and suffering of Christ, the pain and suffering of the human condition. In Haiti there are no diversions, no false idols to avert my gaze from the misery. There was no place to turn…all you can see is the hiddenness of God. In this void one slowly prepares to humbly approach the consciousness of God. In the absence of God the presence of God awaits. Detachment is the path to wholeness.

In the slums of Haiti I felt closer to God than I do at Sunday Mass in my home parish. In Haiti, I was detached from the world yet not attached to God. It was a place of dreadful inner anguish for me. I could neither believe nor not believe in anything. Yet in Haiti I felt God was hidden in the insignificant and the unassuming. The poor felt their own fragility and understand their dependency. Somehow, in Haiti I felt the way to God was through the misery and nothingness of my false self. It was there that I saw more clearly my true self and my complete dependence upon God. It is there that I feel more tangibly God’s love.

Love is a mystical force that pushes open the door to forgiveness and mercy.


1 Response to “The Hiddenness of God”

  1. 1 aliceny May 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

    My initial reaction to reading your post today was complex – something that I must read over and over (in prayer) to help me understand I found some of your observations startling and, in some instances, shattering. But then, coming face to face with any truth or with humans’ attempt to understand our relation to God is nearly impossible for our finite minds to probe, much less to understand.

    I found the terms ‘ presence of God in the form of absence’ and ‘hiddenness of God’ to be mystifying. But then I have not lived the dreadful experience that you did in Haiti. I do recall reading your accounts of that time in your writings and, especially, in your mesmerizing film – and wondering how any human being could survive- physically and mentally – in such conditions, with no sense of hope on the horizon.

    What clearly resonated with me personally was what you described as your feeling about your ‘misery and nothingness of my false self. It was there that I saw more clearly my true self and my complete dependence upon God….’
    Very powerful and most certainly a humble self revelation. You then follow this with a memorable zinger that will stay with me forever:


    Peace, God’s blessings and bon chance as you begin the next phase of your Journey (with Francis as your guide).

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