There are many times in my life that I cry, “Lord, Lord”, but I wonder for how many of them Your answer would be, “I don’t know you.”
There is no doubt that my dependency upon You is utter and complete, but for what can You depend upon me? There is nothing that I can give, do, or add to You; so, maybe the one (and only) thing You look for in me is to need You. Mechanically saying morning and night prayers, distractedly going through the motions of Mass, weaving in and out of conscious meditation and reflection - these are all like crying, “Lord, Lord”. They may be feebly rationalized as attempts to maintain Your presence through the day, but sometimes they become like putting your socks on, brushing your teeth, or reading the paper. There is a distinct abundance of duty-accomplished-self-massaging, and a marked deficiency of need. The aforementioned prayers and reflections are, at best, a handshake looking for an embrace. Most often, though, I’m sure I make it very easy for You to say, “I don’t know you”.
So, instead of programmed conformity, mindless words, and calling Your name - how do I make myself known to You? Maybe the sheep You know best is the one who strays from the fold. Years of pulpit preaching, classroom teachings, and dusty tradition have often left this sheep shaded darkly. This is the one You, the shepherd, go after; and it is this one, in seeking it, that becomes most known, most loved. The paradox of Your relentless pursuit of the stray holds up in the context of Your words about not coming for the well but for the sick.
However, what if that “stray” is what it is, not so much because of common sin and estrangement but because of the discovery of “greener pastures” than the fold’s usual ones? That “stray” may stand out and be sought because it has something new and desirable to bring back and share with the fold. It is this non-conformity with the crowd, this stepping out because of seeking You in greener pastures that does more than say, “Lord, Lord” with the voice of the throng. It risks and explores other ways that compel You to say, “Oh, I know you.”
For me, I think these times come primarily through these letters and centering prayer. So, it’s not exactly that I’m lost, just intentionally strayed to get Your attention. You tolerate my “Lord, Lords”, but You know me by my seeking.