Wednesday, December 17, 2008

God's Pursuit

From here in Louisiana we have some great news recently Anh Joseph Cao, a Vietnamese immigrant defeated William Jefferson in the 2nd Distric Elections that had been delayed by Hurricane Gustav see the story this coming from Catholic Dads Blog. He is the kind of person, a genuine story of America and it's opportunites that I personally believe bests represents all Americans. Father Robert Barron is one of my favorite priests. His DVD Three Paths to Holiness is awesome. This link will bring you to a number of video presentations he does on his website Word On Fire. There are some wonderful discussions from Bob Dylan to Movies like Dark Knight and No Country for Old Men. Do yourself a favor and get to know this incredible man. You can find a link to both Word on Fire and Catholic Dads at the Websites You Must see on the left hand column towards the bottom of this page. I have a wonderful Spiritual Director who in a brief amount of time has taught me something very valuable. In my quest to know and better understand God, I have taken to a variety of activities from Scripture meditation to daily prayers. I have read and used techniques in different spiritual exercises. I spend an hour a week before The Blessed Sacrament at our church's Adoration Chapel. She taught me this: make quiet time to allow God to come to you. She said something that brought tears to my eyes upon reflection, "that after preparing this time and place that God would be there waiting for me". We discussed finding the right time and place and working towards just being. It hasn't come easy but I managed to do it once this week. I found a spot in my house and shut the motor of my mind off and He did indeed come to me. I felt an overwhelming peace even though for only a brief moment. Many years ago I found this book at a garage sale Francis Thompson "The Hound of Heaven" I had remembered hearing about Thompson in high school but had forgotten about his poem. Recently I was watching a rerun of Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life is Worth Living when he began to describe Francis Thompson and his life. Francis Thompson (December 16, 1859 – November 13, 1907) left his home in Preston, Lancashire for London to become a writer. He was unsuccessful and began selling matches and newspapers to support himself. He lived out in the street and started taking opium as a remedy for his bad health. This lead to a downward spiral of living in the streets as an opium addict. In poor health and a destitute, in 1888 he submitted some of his poetry to the magazine Merrie England whereupon he was discovered and rescued from the streets. It was during his time on the streets in the most dire condition as a human being that Thompson realized that no matter what he did, God was pursuing him. His poem "The Hound of Heaven" is a literary masterpiece. In the copy I found at the garage sale which was printed in 1953 there is a forward written by a Jesuit priest. Unfortunately I haven't the copy with me right at this moment so I am paraphrasing what was written. The Jesuit priest speaks of how he was reviewing dissertations written at a Japanese University. One student had decided to do his on Francis Thompson. The dialogue between the priest and the student goes something like this. Again apologies for paraphrasing, " So you've decided on Francis Thompson, why did you choose him?" "Why sir he's an excellent poet" "Well what is his finest work?" "Why that would be the Hound of Heaven" "Hound of Heaven, well then who is this hound?" " Is it Thompson is he the hound?" "No sir" "Well who is it?" "Why sir it's God" "God?" "How is it that God's a hound?" "Well sir He's in pursuit of Thompson" "In pursuit of Thompson?" "Doesn't Thompson believe that God is everywhere?" "Yes sir he does" "Well then what is he in pursuit of?" "He is in pursuit of Thompson's love" Thompson realized something we should all realize that God is really after you. He doesn't need your prayers, your good works, you faithful service, your praise and adoration. He wants those things but what He is really after is your love. He desires that love. We should all desire to come back to the Lord with all our heart. We can start this Christmas by reflecting on the Infant Jesus and God's marvelous plan that begins in a manger.

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