Now no one, when he has lighted a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a couch, but he puts it upon a lamp-stand, that they who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be made manifest; nor anything concealed that will not be known and come to light.
No one lights a lamp and sets it under a bucket. Yet no one puts a furnace out in the middle of the living room. Sometimes the fire that the Holy Spirit gives us is pretty conspicuous and out in the open. Other times, however, it is to be hidden away in secret. Here I cannot help but think of Saint Therese of Lisieux. The last thing she wanted was to gain the world’s attention. Thus she wrote:
“The true and only glory is the glory that will last forever. In order to attain it, we do not need to do spectacular deeds. We need merely hide ourselves from the eyes of others and even from ourselves.”
The Church is full of lamp-stand Catholics, whom we can easily recognize. There are, to be sure, many furnace Catholics as well, and these we may come to know only on Judgment Day, when everything hidden will be made known. Without the former, the Church would be a pretty dark place. Without the latter, she would be pretty cold indeed.