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Seeking The Face of Christ

mark danis

“Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:6 – RSV)

There are a number of different devotions we might focus on as we enter this most Holy Week of the Church calendar, but it might be good for us to reverently reconsider the very image our Savior chose to leave us, that of His own Beautiful Face yet Sorrowful Face.

HOLYFACE1

It is good for us to recall the sacrifice of great Love that our Lord made for us.  It has been said that too much familiarity with this Holy Season can tend to diminish our appreciation of the measure of Christ’s love reflected in own His Holy Countenance.  It is good for us to recall that it was at the beginning of His passion that our Lord experienced one of the more painful events He would endure; it ,was not simply the betrayal of one of His own disciples, but that fact that Judas Iscariot chose to betray our Lord by placing a kiss on His cheek.

The Church has a long history of devotion to the Holy Face going all the way back to Veronica’s singular act of courage and compassion, when she wiped the bloodied face of Jesus, forever preserving for us the painful image of His sacrifice and love.  What similar act of compassion and even courage might we offer to our Eucharistic Lord, an act that can help to console our Lord in our own time, when we still witness so much blasphemy and so many offenses against His Church, His Mystical Body, and by consequence, His Holy Face.

In his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, (The Eucharist) Saint John Paul II drew the eyes of the Church to the Face of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. 

“To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his Body and Blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by Him she is fed and by Him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a “mystery of light.” Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Lk 24:31). . . . I cannot let this Holy Thursday (2003) pass without halting before the “Eucharistic face” of Christ and pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist.

Perhaps we could make our own act of courage and compassion this week and find an hour to visit our Church and just spend some time contemplating the Face of Christ in the Eucharist.  This is also a wonderful time to begin, if you have not already, to develop a continual devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus Christ.  For information please visit: www.holyface.com

Mark Danis
Host of Carmelite Conversations
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