How often as a child did you hear the words, “Do you wanna play?” One of childhood’s favorite games was ‘Hide and Seek’.
Which did you prefer? To be the one to hide and look for a place that you thought would not be discovered? Or to be the one to seek and prove that no one could really hide from you for long?“The desire for God was written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: Chapter 1:27)
Doesn’t it seem to you that sometimes this is one of God’s favorite games also?
Once our intelligence awakens, we are on a life-long search to discover beauty and truth, which culminates in goodness. God created us out of love that He might draw us into communion with His Trinitarian Family.
We also realize that life offers us many challenges as we maneuver through the pathways of this journey. Just as in the game of Hide and Seek a child may be prevented from getting to the ideal spot or run out of time to avoid the “seeker”, so too for us not everything turns out as we had hoped.
Anything we desire requires some form of sacrifice.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
There’s the secret! Totality! All our heart! The desire for God here doesn’t place Him among other desires but rather indicates that in our desire He must have first place, above all other desires. When life comes to its close, we leave everything else behind. We do not drag it into eternity with us.
Nevertheless, as Jesus warned us in the Parable of the Seed Sown, our desire for God can be choked by the cares of this world, by turning to temporal material goods as substitutes for eternal happiness or by attitudes drawn from our cultural environment which erode our faith. Again the Catechism reminds us, “that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.” (Chapter 1:29)
But God does not give up on us. He already made the ultimate Sacrifice on Calvary. When in our fear and shame we run from Him, He will become the seeker, sometimes patiently waiting at the door looking into the distance for signs of our return or meeting us on the road as He did St. Paul.
To help us better understand who Jesus is for us, He will sometimes reverse roles and become the one hidden. We look for the Pearl of Great Price or the Treasure hidden in the Field. What will we not give in exchange?
In the Spiritual Canticle St. John of the Cross elaborates on this hiddenness where both the Bride and the Bridegroom hide from and seek one another.
The Bride expresses her anguish in Verse I of this poem:
Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me in my groaning,
O my Beloved?
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying;
but You were gone.
St. Matthew though encourages us to persevere when he says in his Gospel:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.”|
God gives us so much more than what we ask but even that may seem hidden to us when what we receive is not what we were expecting. There was a time in the early days of our Carmelite Community when we were absolutely at the point of ground zero in financial resources. Mother Luisita’s response was, “Let us bless Our Lord because He has allowed us to become so very poor”. In writing to one of the Sisters, she counsels,
“I invite you to enter into the Heart of Our Lord. May He be your refuge and may all find strength, life and happiness in Him…whatever He permits is for the best.”
She concludes her letter with the following advice:
“So, what are we going to do? Pray that what happens will be for the best and let us go forward. We are in the hands of God and there is no better place to be.”