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Want To Want To Seek You More

First Reading: Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12

Israel is a luxuriant vine
whose fruit matches its growth.
The more abundant his fruit,
the more altars he built;
The more productive his land,
the more sacred pillars he set up.
Their heart is false,
now they pay for their guilt;
God shall break down their altars
and destroy their sacred pillars.
If they would say,
“We have no king”—
Since they do not fear the LORD,
what can the king do for them?

The king of Samaria shall disappear,
like foam upon the waters.
The high places of Aven shall be destroyed,
the sin of Israel;
thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars.
Then they shall cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall upon us!”

“Sow for yourselves justice,
reap the fruit of piety;
break up for yourselves a new field,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
till he come and rain down justice upon you.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (4b) Seek always the face of the Lord.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

NAB

DEV_JU6

“Seek always the face of the Lord.” As I sit, reading these three Scripture passages over and over, this single phrase reverberates in my spirit. Am I seeking the face of the Lord? What does it really even mean to do so?

I’ve had quite a few twists and turns in my spiritual journey, including a span of about five years when I felt a heavy burden of responsibility when it came to my relationship with Christ. However much I was praying, I could be praying more. However much I was fasting, I could be fasting more. However much I was evangelizing, I could be doing it more. You get the idea: I was never enough.

When I converted to Catholicism, it felt like a breath of fresh air. I hear cradle Catholics joke about “Catholic guilt,” but that hasn’t been my experience. What I have found is that the liturgy, the prayers, the sacraments, they are all gifts to serve my relationship with Christ. More than ever I am embracing the poverty of simply receiving from God, rather than obsessively drumming up an emotional experience or constantly feeling like I’m not doing enough to merit His attention or His gifts.

BUT.

I often find myself getting a little too relaxed, resting on the grace I receive through the Sacraments and liturgy. I realize that maybe I’m relying too much on Jesus’ side of the relationship and offering too little from my own. Everyone knows that relationships are a two-way street, only as healthy and vibrant as both parties are committed to making it. I know Jesus is all in, but what about me?

When I read the words of Psalm 105, I feel conviction in my heart. Am I really seeking His face? Not even “always,” but . . . ever? I know that feeling guilty for my lethargy is not enough to produce change in my stubborn heart. I know that the only answer is to fall in love with Him all over again. And the only One I know capable of producing love with that kind of power is, ironically, Him. So starting today, my simple prayer will be: Lord Jesus, help me love you more. Lord Jesus, make me want to want to seek Your face. For I have no power apart from You.

Today, simply pray, “Jesus, help me want to love you more.”

photo credit

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of three boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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