This blog is entitled “Seeking After His Heart.” Ideally, I like to think of my life as a pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Yet sometimes I overlook the fact that it is really about the Good, the True, and the Beautiful pursing me.
God initiates all of our encounters with Him. If He did not reveal Himself, we would not know Him. If He did not allow us to perceive Him, then we would be completely unaware of His presence. Even prayer, which can sometimes be viewed as something we do for God, is actually something He does for us.
In conversation with my spiritual director, he told me to not overlook begging Jesus for the grace to go to Him in prayer. And sitting in the adoration chapel the other evening, I reminded myself that I was there simply because I responded to God’s grace. I mean, it kind of felt like it was purely my choice, but I knew that it was God offering His grace and me, finally, responding to it.
This initiation on God’s part is timeless. All of the Old Testament covenants are made because God interacts with a human person and desires to be in relationship with them. They don’t start the process. “Hey, God! I’d like to be a part of Your family!” God reaches down to us and adopts us as His own. Even greater still, He enters into the human family so as to bridge all gaps between us. There is nothing left for us to do but to respond.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman with simple words, “Give me a drink.” He seeks her out, He encounters her, and He asks her to enter into relationship with Him. Yet I love the way that the Lord does this. He reaches out to her and expresses His thirst for her.
George Weigel’s book Letters to a Young Catholic (which, in case you haven’t noticed, I am currently reading) speaks of this thirst. “Prayer begins with God’s thirst for us. ‘Give me a drink.’ Prayer is the meeting place between God’s thirst, God’s desire, for us and our heart’s yearning for God….Prayer isn’t something we initiate. Prayer is a meeting with the Christ who always takes the initiative, as he did at Jacob’s well with the Samaritan woman.”
Entering into prayer is entering into a conversation with the Lord that He has already started. Before He formed me in the womb, He knew me and desired to be in relationship with me. Each day, He offers signs of His love and glimpses of His ardent affection for me. Sometimes, I respond to the grace He offers and acknowledge these gifts. Sometimes, I receive these gifts and respond in gratitude. Sometimes, I enter into dialogue with this Giver of All Good Gifts.
Like a fearless Lover, He offers me His heart, without constraint and without condition. He takes the risk, He makes the first move, He initiates our conversation. With patience and long-suffering, He proposes but never imposes. What else is there for me to do? As one who spends so much time seeking, it is an exquisite joy to know that I am already found.