In the 2011 Way of the Cross Meditations used by the Holy Father at the Roman Colosseum; the composer, an Augustinian Nun wrote in the 4th Station, Jesus Meets His Mother: ‘To pray is to let oneself be caught up in the loving and true gaze God, who reveals us to ourselves…’[i]
See the face of God; a desire of all mankind, whether they know it or not; to be in the gaze of our loving creator. In the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass we chant of this desire: ‘Of you my heart has spoken: Seek the face of God. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek…’[ii]
How do we, humans caught in the human condition of sin, hope to see this face, His face? Because, He reveals it to us – freely. God, who through His mercy came us; who through His mercy died to pay our debt for the sins we committed against him; has, through His mercy, never left us. We just need to turn to Him; start a dialog with Him; accept the relationship He offers.
But a question that comes to my mind is: which face? God has many faces, as our Gospel reading today shows us.
Do we desire the glorious face that radiated divinity as Jesus talked to the Prophet Elijah and Moses. Do we want to be awestruck with magnificence and power? Rest secure in the gaze of the almighty, knowing that nothing can defeat He who loves us?
Do we desire the face of Jesus as He stands looking down with love at the prostrated disciples who were struck with confusion at what they saw? Do we want to be embraced by that benevolent gaze of a mentor who embraces the confusion of our fallen nature, and helps us?
Do we desire the face of Jesus as He walks down the mountain with His disciples? Accompanying them towards tomorrow, towards the unknown, walking beside them as loving companion, never to leave their side?
If we really think about it we realize that we desire all these faces, and more. Depending on our situation and mindset we are need of each of them; and He gives us them to us.
Prayer, as the sister said, is a sure way to gaze on He who lovingly gazes on us. As we become more accustomed to a life with prayer, we begin to gaze deeper into God’s gaze; our relationship grows stronger as we become more familiar with this face of love. Private prayer and public prayer both enable us to come face to face with God. Why, would He do this? Why would a friend do this? Love; He desires to be in relationship with those who He loves – us! As our Lenten journey continues let’s work on our prayer life, let’s strengthen our communication skills with God. Let’s dive into the deep pool of the face God with our loving gaze through our prayer.
[i] Way of the Cross at the Colosseum Meditations, Sr. Maria Rita Piccione, O.S.A.