I have been praying to be able to simply look at the face of Christ, so the psalm from the third Sunday of Lent, “Lord, let your face shine upon us and we shall be saved” (Psalm 4:2), really meant something to me.
Reading scripture, the popes, the saints, the liturgy – I feel like they all points towards this mysterious and real encounter with the face of Christ.
For a while, I didn’t even know where to begin. God is beyond this world, not comprehensible to the human mind… How do I begin to find Him, let alone be able to gaze upon His face? I found myself looking at the bloody feet and knees of the crucified Jesus on the cross. I didn’t know how to find God in the midst of the mess and sin of my life. I felt unworthy of love. I felt unworthy to look at the face of Jesus. I could not be silent in prayer. I could not look into the eyes of people in conversation. I couldn’t simply look at Jesus for longer than a second during Eucharistic Adoration.
Then, I accepted mercy. I let my gaze move higher, closer to His face as I let the blood and water from Christ’s side flow over me as a fountain of mercy (my last blog – Divine Mercy). I accepted that I was loved by God: loved so much that He would free me from the shame of my sin and allow me to be in relationship with Him.
The extent of His love continued to flood into my life as God revealed to me His vulnerable love – stretching His arms open wide, naked, He completely offered it all to me, to us. He held nothing back.
Accepting His love, I am able to offer myself vulnerably back to God, trusting that He will take care of everything. Knowing that I am loved, I am able to surrender and to have peace, clarity, joy, and hope.
“Through the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24), receiving my Savior: body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist – humbled and broken for us – my eyes are opened. I can see God more clearly in my life. I can move up the crucifix towards beholding His face, and even more than that, I am able to gaze upon Jesus in Adoration. The beatitudes tell us that “the pure of heart see God.” Therefore, trusting that Jesus came to forgive sins and has forgiven and purified me through confession, I can trust that His face is shining upon me – all I have to do is look. All you have to do is look.
“Lord let your face shine upon us and we shall be saved” (Psalm 4:2).