Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Hound of Heaven

One of my favorite principles in the formation, Disciples of Jesus and Mary, is that we are all unique. Each of us are made for God in our own unique way. We are all called to follow a unique path to holiness and ultimately to Heaven. God also chooses to speak to us in specific ways custom fit for our individual souls. What reaches my heart may do nothing for you, and vice versa. Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to say there is not an absolute truth that we are all bound to. There is only one God, one Church, one Way. But God is infinite, and being made in His image, there are an infinite number of ways we can relate to Him and Him to us.

I have discovered over a long period of time, that God most effectively reaches me through music and art.

I can be running away from Him in all directions, in my mind, heart, and my soul, but then out of the blue, he invades my personal space, with a song. It is like he grabs my face in his hands turns it towards His and says, "I am here! and I am still talking to you!". Suddenly all my walls begin to crumble and we can pick up again where we left off.

Today was Palm Sunday. It was a beautiful day, but there was a giant cloud over my spiritual head. This has been frequent throughout this season of Lent. There have been trials, deserts, temptations, and some seemingly unanswered prayers. Yea Lent! Whenever it comes around, I have such conflicting feelings. "Oh no! not scheduled, intentional, mortification and penance!" and "Oh yes! an intensification of the Liturgy in all its glory, more touching, tasting, hearing, and seeing our living Faith!" and by the end of Holy Week, it is ALWAYS worth it.

But as I said, spiritual cloud, and these are the songs that God sent my way. This morning at mass we sang this song, It has always been my favorite Lenten hymn:

Glory be to Jesus,
Who, in bitter pains,
Poured for me the lifeblood
From His sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal

In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
Infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages

Be the precious stream
Which from endless torments
Doth the world redeem.

Abel's blood for vengeance

Pleaded to the skies;
But the blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled

On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion
Terror struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting

Wafts its praise on high,
Angel hosts, rejoicing,
Make their glad reply.

Lift we then our voices,

Swell the mighty flood,
Louder still and louder
Praise the precious blood!

Then as I was cooking lunch with my husband, I heard a song, written from the perspective of the good thief on the cross next to Jesus.

Here are the lyrics, but these are my highlights:
Deep within this man I hang beside is the place where shame and grace collide
And it’s beautiful agony that He believes it’s not too late for me

This is how Love wins, every single time
Climbing high upon a tree where someone else should die
This is how Love heals, the deepest part of you
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood
Because this is what Love say, standing at the door
You don’t have to be who you’ve been before
And silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again
This is how Love wins.
Seeing a theme yet?

It amazes me how relentlless God is. You know the part of Michelangelo's Creation ofAdam where Adam is making VERY little effort to reach out to God, and God is stretching like heck to get to Adam? 

Why does He do this?! It astounds me. We are really, just, so not worth the effort. But He seems to think so. I for one am so grateful, that He always pursues me. And reminds me, that He will never stop doing it. 
There is a beautiful poem written by Francis Thompson called Hound of Heaven in which he describes God pursuing him in all of his wanderings.

I am at a loss as to why, but for some reason, He wants us. Desperately. Not only that, Scripture says, He is jealous for us. And wants our entire heart for Himself. 

May you be relentlessly pursued by the Hound of Heaven!     


  1. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this, yes we can run, but we can not hide from His love, plan, and grace!

    Holy Week blessings!

  2. I have had this same experience with music--it's powerful! I'm dashing upstairs to get ready for class and I'm going to take my laptop so I can listen to the music you included in your post. Thanks for posting on "Pay it Forward".


    PS. Following you through Google reader.

  3. Beautiful article. I love the term - Hound of Heaven. I love knowing God is chasing me through life. I love even more that He caught me!
    And I love that Creation of Adam picture - I have always seen it the way you wrote about it here.
    Your blog look is pretty! Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.

    1. Thanks! :) Thanks so much for stopping by too!

  4. The song from the perspective of the "good thief" is really gorgeous. Yes, God chases after us and boxes us in - the most jealous Lover of all.

    Like you, I find God in the beauty of art and music as well as nature. St. Thomas Aquinas calls beauty "a window on the Divine" - something like that, anyway.

    I came here from "Pay It Forward".

    1. I would like to get to know St. Thomas a little better than I do. It's on my spiritual to-do list anyway. Thanks for stopping by. :)