Brothers and sisters: If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
There’s a movie about Saint Padre Pio that I watched very early on in my journey in religious life; it depicts his mystical experiences as well as the things he struggled with during his life here on earth. I remember that when they show the scene of him entering the convent, there’s a sign outside bearing these words from Colossians: “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The movie depicts him seeing these words and realizing that he is agreeing to give up who he is in order to serve God more fully. The person he was before, Francesco Forgione, died to give way to Padre Pio, a faithful man who pointed the way to God to all those who came to know him, in life and in death.
Like Padre Pio, I chose to take a new name when I became a sister, as many of us do upon entering religious life. You might also have had the experience of receiving a new name at your baptism or at confirmation, depending on your culture’s traditions. When I became a sister, put on a habit, and took a new name, my life became more hidden in God. I am still myself, but it’s not me that people see when they first encounter me; they see (or I hope they do) a message that God is real, at least to me. This hiding does not diminish who I am though – I get to become a sign of Christ to those I encounter, something that raises my own identity to its full fruition. We always, always, receive more from God than we give him, every gift being multiplied infinitely in God’s generosity.
Most of us have not entered the religious life, but Paul’s exhortation applies to all of us. We too have died with Christ in baptism and receive new life from Him. As we celebrate the great feast of the Resurrection of Christ this weekend, we are reminded of our baptisms and our call to let go of the things we are still holding on to. We are hidden in God, and it is there that we become most fully ourselves.