Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.
Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

I woke up very early this morning — that happens to me from time to time; more and more I find myself awake when other people are asleep.  So I got out of bed, made some coffee, let the dogs out, started a fire, fed the dogs and then settled in for a winter morning spot of prayer.  As I was going through my routine pre-prayer chores, I found myself anticipating my time with Him, even more than usual.

I know why.  I knew I had ample time — there would be no need to rush — no sense of hurry.  I would be able to linger in his unseen presence.  That’s especially why I like to pray on Saturdays and Sundays.  The feeling that I won’t have to break it off too soon, somehow makes it better.  Even if my prayer isn’t particularly good, still it’s nice to have the extra time and the heightened expectation that maybe, just maybe, something special might happen.

Perhaps you know what I am describing.  I have tasted the goodness of the Lord and I want more, always more.  Like Edmund, in Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, once you have had a bite of the Turkish delight, you always come back for more.  Rarely do I find it, but knowing that I might, well that’s enough for me.

I’ve noticed something else about my morning time with Him.  I like it best when I come completely empty — when I have nothing on my mind, nothing I am looking for, nothing I need, nothing I want, but Him, just to be with Him.

And on those occasions, when inspired by grace, I come with nothing but myself, He meets me in exactly the same way.  He comes with nothing but Himself.  Of course, there’s more to Him than me, which explains why I come.

I would like to say we meet “hombre a Hombre,” but that’s not possible.   After all, we can only meet man to God-Man, or man-becoming god through divine participation to fully God-fully Man; well, none of that really matters anyway, except for you theologians out there.  (By the way, if there are any theologians reading this post, please leave a comment.)

The only thing that matters is the encounter, which, whether I am aware of it or not, always leaves me changed for good, real long, forever lasting good.

Lately, I have been praying intensely for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes, to give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation, because I want to know, not superficially but deeply, the hope to which I have been called, my glorious inheritance in Him and the immeasurable greatness of his power at work in me. (Eph 1:17-19)

Also, I vehemently desire to be strengthened with might in my inner man, so He will dwell in my heart through faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, I might have the power to understand the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that I might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:16-19)

I agree that’s a lot to ask and a great deal to hope for; but He tells me that’s what I need and that’s what I should want, so I keep asking.

I confess, I am tired of words, but not the Word; like John of the Cross, I want to see this Man-God.  I want Him to come Himself.  Please Lord,  don’t send me anymore messengers.  I want you to come!

So I ask, seek and knock.  But, interestingly, the more I pursue Him, the more He hides.  And when He hides, He disappears.  It’s not that I can’t find Him, He’s no where to be found.  “I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called but he gave no answer”  (Song of Songs 3:1)

In His absence, I know my life is hidden with Him, but my experience tells me it’s just hidden.
I know I belong to Him, but mostly I feel like I am longing to belong.

Often when I am with Him in His presence/absence, I am permitted to feel completely alone.  Nevertheless, I have learned that something happens deep inside of me when it’s just Him and me, whether I am aware of His presence or not.  I am drawn to worship, adore and love.  I am compelled to worship, adore and love.

I wonder, do I adore Him because I need to know and worship something greater than myself?  Or is it because there is something in me that desperately longs to be greater than I am, and I understand  this will only happen in Him?

Still he hides.  Not that he is playing games with me, though it definitely feels that way.  He knows something I don’t.

I think I know who He is and I seek what I know; but He understands I will never find Him where I am looking, so he remains hidden.  In hiding, He helps me to come to know myself, and from there, I can begin to look for Him in new places, and to seek Him as He is, instead of who I want Him to be.  (I am sure it’s all very clear to you now.)

Therefore, I continue hard after this ever vanishing Man-God; the chase is on!  I’m like a dog following his master’s scent.  But I draw no comfort from knowing that some hounds’ noses are better than others. Because this hunt is not about the hounds; it’s about the prey and, this prey, planned, organized and executed this quest.

Still I follow enthusiastically, as if He were giving me clues along the way, lighting up my soul with encouragement; when, in fact, the trail is indistinguishable from the forrest, and He is nowhere in sight.

It doesn’t matter to me; I have grown accustomed to the field of play.  My face is set.  And so I pursue with determination and, a robust and vigorous hope, that I will find the treasure I seek.  You see, I am fired by love’s urgent longings …

Sacrifice of Joy

“For you shall go out with joy and be led forth in peace.  The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you.  The trees of the fields will clap their hands as you go out in joy”  (Isaiah 55:12)

I have been singing this verse over and over again to myself during the last week as I have been thinking about the word “sacrifice” and why it’s good to give the Lord our joy.

I believe the Father takes delight in us when we offer Him our joy, just like any daddy would.  It makes Him happy even though He is already full of happiness.

And it’s good for us.  Taking joy in everything and giving our joy to God, especially in difficulty, makes our hearts purer.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  (Matthew 5:8)  If I am going to see God, I need a pure heart.

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Comments

  1. Great post. This was especially a good read for me because I’ve never been that great at hearing God speak to me, so when I feel that He hasn’t revealed himself, as you say is keeping something he knows hidden, I often wonder “am I not being patient enough where I am seeking Him, and thus patience is the very thing I’m discovering about myself as He remains hidden?” Even when I feel like I’ve gone over and beyond seeking Him in one place, is He remaining hidden because I should seek Him elsewhere, or am I not waiting and listening? Just something I personally struggle with. Thank you for the reflection.

    • Thanks for your comment. You are doing exactly what the Lord asks us to do, that is to seek his face (Psalm 27:8). It is hard sometimes because he hides himself so well, just to create more and more desire in us. The process of seeking always makes us better and creates space within for us to receive him. If you want to someone else post about this take a look at everythingbitterissweet.com. Keep it up.

  2. Beautiful, Mark!

  3. Thanks Mark, I love the way you talk about the relationship. So many of us Catholics skip the essential personal relationship and dwell on so many other distractions. Some of them need tending to and noticing (for example, we don’t have a pope right now!) but not at the expense of the relationship. It’s courageous and generous of you to share this.

  4. You reminded me of Jesus’ comment to Martha and Mary, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her.” May we all have the grace to choose the better part. Thanks for your encouragement!

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