Sought Even After Being Found

Lenten Reflections 2015: Readings from Augustine

“Seek his face always” (Ps 104[105]:4). What does this mean? I know that it is good for me to cling to God (Ps 72[73], 28), but if he is always being sought, when is he found? Does “always” mean all through the life we are living here so that we know what we must do: that God is to be sought even when found? For indeed faith does find him but hope still seeks him, while charity both finds him by faith and seeks to have him by sight, when he will have been found in a way that satisfies us and he no longer need be sought. If faith did not find him in this life, it would not be said, “Seek the Lord,” nor, when you have found him, “Let the impious abandon their ways, the wicked his thoughts” (Is 55:6-7). Again, if, although found by faith, he were not still to be sought, it would not be said, “If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it in patience” (Rom 8:25), nor would John say, “We know that when he appears, we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).

Or could it be that when we shall see him as he is, that we still must seek him, still must seek him because we still must love him? Even to someone present we say, “I don’t want you,” meaning “I don’t love you.” One who is loved is sought, desired, even when present, with a lasting love lest he become absent. If you love someone, even when you see him you never tire of his presence, you always seek, desire, that he be present. The meaning of “Seek his face always” would, then, be that discovery, finding, would not put an end to love’s searching, but that as love grows, so grows also the searching for what has been found. (EnPs 104[105], 3; PL 37, 1391-1392)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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