ColumnsNaming Grace

Hide & Seek

“10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Ready or not, here I come.” This past Christmas, one of our sons joined in Hide & Seek with his young nieces and nephews. Our grandchildren giggled and laughed as they chased around the house. As soon as one of the little ones moved close to finding our son, he’d sneak into a better hiding spot. They were seeking in our closets and cupboards, and searching behind sofas and curtains. Eventually, our son hid in plain sight; seriously, he stood next to a wall — yet our grandchildren kept running and chasing right past him. They never stood still long enough to find him, though he was in their presence.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found.” Is the Lord hiding? Is God playing a game with us? Does God bait and switch? Or is God hiding in plain sight? What does the prophet Isaiah mean when he exhorts us to “Seek the Lord while he may be found?” Seek also translates into search or strive or pursue. Perhaps God waits for us to pursue him? To strive to know him? To search for him in each moment, in each situation?

Instead of playing a game, seeking God IS the adventure of our lives. The pursuit of God takes drive to carve out time to seek God, determination to study our faith, and discipline to pray with Scripture, listen to him in the silence, and attend Mass and the sacraments. We need the self-control to deny endless entertainment, resist consumerism, and reject mindless activity or just plain laziness. The pursuit of God demands our entire being — often remaining still enough to recognize his presence.

While pursuing God, we discover it was God who first pursued us. God places the desire to seek him within our hearts; as St. Augustine observed, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” David Scott writes in his essay, “God, the Hound of Heaven:” “In his poem, ‘The Hound of Heaven’, [Francis] Thompson calls God ‘this tremendous Lover.’ He is out to get us. He hounds our days and hounds our nights. He knows what we need even before we ask, and he knows that he alone is what each of us is searching for.”

God does not hide. Rather, God reveals himself each moment of our existence through love and mercy, through his Word, the beauty of creation, and through God’s Son, the Incarnation — Jesus Christ. In fact, the Psalmist claims: “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.” God continuously draws near and calls us to an ever-deeper relationship so we can learn his ways and his thoughts, which are, “As high as the heavens are above the earth.”

As parents/grandparents, our deepest desire is for our children to seek the Lord while he may be found — while breath remains within them. For those with children far from the Lord, we trust God pursues them until his or her dying moment. And with a deathbed conversion, we trust the heavenly reward is as great as the person who follows God his or her entire life. For in God’s kingdom, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Now, that’s good news!

I’d like to thank Dan Russo, editor of The Witness, for the sacred opportunity of sharing these reflections with you for the past four years. I thank you, the readers of The Witness, for taking your precious time to reflect on the Sunday Gospel through this column. May God bless you and yours all the days of your lives. Love and Blessings, Mary.

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