During this week, I continued reading in the book of Hosea. For some strange reason, it was one of the first books I read after I came to faith. Well, first I read Job because I was sent there. Second, I read Ecclesiastes because I was sent there, too. After that, I stumbled across Hosea. It has now been five years (does not seem possible that time has pass so quickly) since that day, and when I come across "the" verse that I was meant to read, I will do a MMM devoted to it. For now, I am still wandering around in the first chapters and will keep you in the dark as to the "special" verse. (I have come to have more patience about many things even if it does not always seem so to me and to those around me.) This week I stopped and meditated upon Hosea 5:15: "In their misery, they will earnest seek Me."
Reading: Hosea 5:15
Meditation: As related in my book, Blest Atheist, I did not come to faith because I was miserable and saw no way out although I later learned that this is the normal path for many, if not most, who convert after childhood has long passed. I was actually quite happy as an atheist, and although far from rich (in fact, I have spent a fair amount of my life in impoverished conditions), I did not feel the need for divine intervention in my life. No, it was God Who for reasons only God knows wanted to intervene and did so in quite a startling way, making His presence known to me and to a colleague, truly unexpectedly and with overwhelming certainty in what is usually referred to as a hierophany. I assumed at the time that all God's people experience such things, but that is something else that I have come to learn over time is not so. Over time I have also come to be grateful for this, as well as for the fact that I was not alone (so I could not simply dismiss what I knew to be the Truth but did not at the time want to accept). Since that day, my path has crossed the paths of a few other people (a rare few) who have come to faith in the same way. I highly value those intersections, as I value the wonderful poem, "The Hound of Heaven," written by Francis Thompson, who, too, tried to flee God unsuccessfully.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His incredible ability to "break through" into our mundane lives and thank Him for caring enough about me, one of His lost lambs, to do that. I will ask forgiveness (again) for deliberately trying to push Him away then and for all the times since I have unintentionally pushed Him away. I will also ask God to continue to hold me within His flock because I sense that if I were to let my eyes wander back to those enticing bramble bushes, I could stray once again. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.