For a few years now, Paul and I have been taking our family to Mass on the first Friday of every month. Mass is hosted by a Catholic fellowship we belong to, which means the Mass is said in our school gym and celebrated by different priests from around our deanery.
I love this aspect of our First Friday Mass, because I get to go to Mass with priests I don’t always see. It’s amazing to observe the variety of styles in homily and approach, but still witness the beautiful universality of our faith, on the local level.
A few months ago, Mass was celebrated by the newly-ordained formerly Anglican-Bishop Fr. Lou Lindsey. I’ve known Fr. Lou for a long time, but this was my first time attending a Mass he celebrated.
This particular week, Fr. Lou was beginning his homily and I was working extra hard keeping Isabel quietly occupied. Henry was sitting up front with Paul and was behaving just fine. I said a little prayer, as I tried to listen to Father and stay tuned to my daughter, that whatever God wanted me to hear, he would have me hear it.
At some point in his reflection, Fr. Lou referred to the Psalm of the day, Psalm 139.
“Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me,” said Fr. Lou, “you have searched me out.”
I bet I’ve read or listened to this Psalm at least a thousand times in my life, but that last part was a new twist.
You have searched me out.
I’ve always heard the first part of that Psalm — Lord you have searched me — and envisioned Jesus glancing in my direction as he passes by. He’s searching, looking over vast spaces with large sweeping views. But it’s all good because (second part): you know me. You searched me and you know me. He’s passing by my house, he knows what’s going on.
But this new wording — you have searched me out — it changed everything for me. Letting God search me out meant letting him in. Deep inside. It meant not just cracking the door for him to catch a glimpse in passing; it meant throwing open the gates to my heart and letting the Lord pick through it all.
My mind went immediately to a situation I was struggling with — something I had begged God to heal. And I realized that up to that point, my approach to the problem had been to show God what I figured the issue to be. “Here’s what’s going on Lord. If you could make it better, please?”
But what I really needed to do was to let God figure it out. He’s pretty smart! He didn’t need me telling him what the problem was. He just needed me to give it to him. And so I did. I stopped telling him how to fix the problems I had pre-identified for him; I just said, “Help.”
And I knew I needed to do that not just with this situation but with every part of my heart and soul. I needed to not simply crack the door, but to fling it wide and say “Here I am Lord. And I am not afraid for you to see.”
I knew, when I heard those words, that it was time to let God into it all. I would stop offering him what I thought he was looking for, stop offering what I thought he wanted, and I would abandon it all to him.
Oh Lord, you have searched me out. You have entered in and picked through all the pots and pans and trinkets on the shelves of my heart. You have moved things and tidied and Lord, you are not afraid of any of it. You are not disgusted by my weakness, you are not disappointed by my shortcomings.
None of it is too much for you, Lord. You have searched us. You know us. And oh how you love us.
This originally appeared in The Southern Cross.