Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” - Matthew 6:1
Very often when we do something good, we want others to see. We want them to be aware of how good we are. Why? Because it feels good to be recognized and honored by others. But Jesus tells us to do the complete opposite.
Jesus tells us that when we do a work of charity, fast or pray we should do it in a hidden way. In other words, we should not do it so as to be noticed and praised by others. It’s not that there is anything wrong with others seeing our goodness. Rather, Jesus’ teaching goes to the heart of our motivations for our good actions. He’s trying to tell us that we should act in a holy way because we want to grow close to God and serve His will, not so that we can be recognized and praised by others.
This offers us a great opportunity to look deeply and honestly at our motivations. Why do you do what you do? Think about the good things you try to do. Then think about your motivation in doing those things. Hopefully you are motivated to do holy things simply because you want to be holy and want to serve the will of God. Are you content with God and God alone seeing your good actions? Are you OK with no one else recognizing your selflessness and acts of love? Hopefully the answer is “Yes.”
Holiness is especially found in your hidden life. There, where you are seen only by God, you must act in a way that pleases God. You must live a life of virtue, prayer, sacrifice and self-giving when only God sees. If you can live this way in your hidden life, you can also be certain that your hidden life of grace will affect others in a way that only God can orchestrate. When you strive for holiness in a hidden way, God sees that and uses it for good. This hidden life of grace becomes the foundation for who you are and how you interact with others. They may not see all you do, but they will be affected by the goodness within your soul.
Lord, help me to live a hidden life of grace. Help me to serve You even when no one sees. From the solitude of those moments, bring forth Your grace and mercy for the world. Jesus, I trust in You.