“So Jesus told them this parable: “Which of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices…Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:4-5,7
God solicits each of us by dialogue no other soul can hear. His action on the soul is always for us alone. He sends no circular letters, uses no party lines. God never deals with crowds as crowds-they could only give him earthly glory-but what he wants is each soul’s singular and secret fealty. He calls his sheep by name; he leaves the ninety-nine that are safe to find the one that is lost…Once the soul becomes conscious of the Divine Presence, it…whispers to itself: “This is a message sent to me and to no one else.” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
In his poem: “The Hound of Heaven,” Francis Thomas shows that God views us each as significant individuals, but also that He is relentless in His pursuit of us. As the shepherd who searches for the one lost sheep tirelessly until he finds it, so too does God pursue us with patient persistence.
Unlike the sheep who has no design in mind to stay lost, we often attempt, with all our energy, not to be found by God. We believe our happiness is in our freedom. Yet, like Thomas in his poem, we don’t understand that happiness is not in being free, but in the choices we are free to make. Self-serving choices lead us to sadness. Choices that serve others lead us to happiness. In the former we are successful in evading God; in the latter we are found.