Lent Week 2 Thursday – Thirsting for God

Lent Week 2 Thursday – Thirsting for God

At the core of human nature is a fundamental dis-ease, a nagging loneliness, an incessant desire for more. St Augustine summed it up beautifully when he said: “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you”. The soul’s restless longing for love, for goodness, beauty, and truth, is due to humanity’s fundamental longing for God. That is how we are made, and that God-shaped lack can only be satisfied by God, and ultimately we will only find rest “in the bosom of Abraham”, in heaven.

Flowing waterAs Jesus’ reference to the rich man’s costly “purple garments and fine linen” suggests, some people hope that wealth and ‘retail therapy’, drugs, drink, fancy holidays and the latest gadget, will alleviate the soul’s ache. Others turn to sexual gratification. Jeremiah’s reference to the one who “seeks his strength in flesh” suggests that some use sex and power as means to escape from the soul’s angst. None of these work, of course, and one is eventually left feeling like “a salt and empty earth”: empty, life-less and drained. For only God, who alone understands the human heart, can slake the soul’s thirst. The psalmist perceived this essential truth when he said: “O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water” (Psalm 62:1-2).

Many of us may already know this, but nevertheless, we still repeatedly reach out for lesser goods, deluded into thinking that many of those will fill the God-shaped hole in our lives; but only living water, Goodness itself, can quench the thirsty, parched soul. At our Baptism, and again in Confirmation, Christ poured out his loving Spirit into our souls to quench and refresh us. Thus, we have been rooted in the living water of the Spirit who gives us strength to endure all things, as Lazarus did. When we feel restless and long for more, it is really more of God that we want and need: let us reach out, then, for the God who unfailingly desires us.

This Easter, many catechumens, having emerged from the barren desert of Lent and their lives, will be plunged into the waters of Baptism, and the rest of us will renew our baptismal vows. To prepare for that, let us recall how at our own Baptism we first placed our hope in God, becoming “like a tree planted beside the waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream”. Let us return to God, place our trust in Him, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill our lives and “water that which is dry” in our lives, so that we may be fruitful and savour the sweetness of eternal life.

Lawrence Lew OP

Fr Lawrence Lew is Prior and Parish Priest at Our Lady of the Rosary and St Dominic, London; he is the Editor of the Province's magazine 'The Dominicans' and Co-ordinator of the Province's Internet Apostolate. He is also the Dominican Order's Promoter General for the Holy Rosary, and author of ‘Mysteries Made Visible’ (CTS 2021).