My life experience has taught me – according to the creed of our Catholic faith – that all life begins in the Lord, finds its ultimate fulfillment in him in this life, and returns to him at the end of this worldly life. Equally true is that while my heart constantly longs for him, seeks him at every turn, I am at the same time always in his loving gaze, personally sought by him who holds the initiative in all things.
We gain insight from the experience of the first disciples, and how they discovered Christ in their lives. John the Baptist knew the Lord by a revelation of God (John 1: 29-34). He then pointed to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Two of his disciples heard John and began to follow Jesus.
Jesus saw them following him and said to them: “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi”(which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. (John 1:38-39)
There are many ultimate questions in life, but Jesus poses a crucial one to the disciples: “What are you looking for?” Jesus is the answer to our life questions. The disciples discovered this truth by ‘staying with Jesus’.
God revealed himself to Samuel as a young person. Samuel discovered the answer to his search in this moment, and spent his life as a prophet of God. Saul also came to know Jesus by means of his encounter with the Risen Jesus, who gave him a new name, Paul, and the mission which would make him the greatest evangelist of all time.
In Christ, we discover our truest self and the mission of our life. With the freedom God bestows upon every human person, we can make many choices, some of which continually lead us in the wrong direction that can never allow us to discover the longing of our hearts. But once we have encountered Christ, we learn the joy of remaining with him and the discouragement when we ignore him.
Thus, St. Paul tells us to be mindful of the riches Christ has bestowed upon us in calling us, and the importance of living according to this call.
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Seek the Lord, and you will find him, because he is already searching for you, longing to reveal himself to you. Respond to his call with the words of young Samuel: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10) Remain with him and let him instruct you, and discover the contentment of life.
Once he has found you, and you him, never let him go.