Grace is Prior!

Psalm 119:176
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant,
for I do not forget Thy commandments.

C.S. Lewis remarks that people who talk about “Man’s search for God” might as well be talking about the mouse’s search for the cat.  Very often we are searching, not for God, but for some adequate substitute who will give us the comforts of God without the disagreeable demands.  The psalmist in today’s verse seems to intuit this quirk of the human heart and try to head it off at the pass.  He doesn’t plead with God to stop playing hide and seek.  Rather, he asks God to seek him out (since the psalmist appears, for all his observance of the commandments, to have lost his way).  This is a very deep spiritual truth.  For the fact is, God’s grace is always prior to us.  If we look for God at all, it is because God is right there, enabling us to look.  If we are lost sheep, it’s because we wandered away.  Today, ask God to seek you out so that you may seek Him out.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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