God will never Stop Inviting Us to Himself
In Francis Thompson’s remarkable poem, “The Hound of Heaven,” we see how God is always seeking us. You may be familiar with the first lines of the famous poem: “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.” And later: “But with unhurrying chase, and unperturbèd pace, deliberate speed, majestic instancy, they beat—and a Voice beat more instant than the Feet— ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’”
As is exquisitely conveyed in this poem, God is so passionately, so “hopelessly” in love with us, that He will pursue us relentlessly.
However, He will never violate our free will. Nonetheless, He will be and is persistent in seeking after us and inviting us to Himself: He loves us that much, that He will never stop until (and including) our dying breath. Despite the many times and ways we may “flee” Him, His loving embrace is always available to us. These “labyrinthine ways” might take the form of such distractions as focusing exclusively on human knowledge or money or power; or they may be other means such as drugs or alcohol, which we sometimes use to dull the pain of life.
Through it all, God lovingly waits for our response, until we finally realize that what we have really been seeking all this time is – and can be only satisfied in – Him: “Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He Whom thou seekest!” As G. K. Chesterton has noted in his commentary on Thompson’s work, “We can quest God or negate Him. Job, Jonah, Psalm 139 and Julian share this. The happiness is in the seeking, the misery in the denial. We are Prodigal Sons and Daughters of God, awaiting the Wedding Feast of Parables . . . .” St. Augustine put it well in the famous quote from his Confessions “Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”
This “pursuit” and our response might be thought of both in terms of our initial “conversion” (that is, the first time we become truly aware of, and respond to, His love for us) and many times subsequently in our lives when we temporarily depart from His way. In the latter, God’s continual pursuit (and it is hoped, our willing response) leads to an ever-deepening relationship with Him, for all He ever wants is our love. How wonderful and comforting! Deo gratias.
May you always say “yes” to God,
and may you be ever enveloped in grace.
Images of book covers used under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License found at www.gutenberg.net.
Images are from The Hound of Heaven at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30730/30730-h/30730-h.htm.
Author: Francis Thompson – Illustrator: Stella Langdale – Release Date: December 21, 2009
Produced by Al Haines – [EBook #30730] – Language: English – Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
Sister Kathleen Del Monte
Kathleen Del Monte is a novice at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New York, she worked as a policy analyst for a state legislature before getting that all important ‘call’ from God (God can, indeed, be persistent!). So in August, 2011, she knocked and the Sisters opened the door to her becoming an affiliate. On July 15, 2012, she became a postulant. On August 22, 2013, the Sisters ceremonially accepted her into the Community as a Novice and she is now Sister Kathleen.