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Longing to See His Face

by Sr. Eucharistiae, SV

As I served at our Holy Respite mission in Manhattan, I was struck by how one of our guests kept waiting with anticipation at finally seeing what her baby girl would look like. “I just can’t wait to see her face!” she would say. She wondered if her daughter would have her eyes or her nose. There is something that is revealed about the human person in seeing their face.

How too, must Our Lady have waited with anticipation at beholding the face of her Son. The Son of God truly took flesh in her, and the babe she held in Bethlehem had a face that resembled her own. She would have recognized the eyes and nose of the little baby Jesus as resembling her own eyes and nose. In the Common of Virgins in our Breviary, one of the responsories is a prayer that I imagine Mary would have prayed: “My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.”

At the beginning of this month of February, the Church commemorates the Presentation of our Lord by Mary and Joseph in the temple. In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II instituted this Feast of the Presentation as the World Day for Consecrated Life. Each night at Compline, we pray the words of Simeon that we hear in the gospel on this Feast Day:

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Upon beholding the face of the child Jesus, the righteous man Simeon proclaims “my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people.” Upon seeing the face of God, Simeon knows that he has seen the salvation for which his heart has been longing for many years in the temple.

Are our hearts longing to see the face of God? In my own journey of discernment, God wanted to stretch my desire to behold His face through the gift of prayer. An essential part of discernment is learning to see the face of God through daily, silent prayer. Prayer is our relationship with God and is foundational for the life of every Christian.

This could be a helpful outline for a time of prayer:

  1. Make an act of faith that you are in the presence of God. He is with you. You are His beloved daughter.
  2. Spend the first few minutes sharing your heart with the Lord. Speak honestly and openly with Him.
  3. Now is the time to listen. A helpful way to do this is by praying with Scripture. Take note of what moves your heart. What word, phrase or aspect of the passage strikes you?
  4. After some time, speak from your heart to the Lord. Tell Him what is moving you, the questions arising, or the desires you have. Listen to His response.
  5. Conclude with a prayer and resolution as you move forward. “What did I sense the Lord saying to me?” Write down in your journal what happened in prayer.

Let us, like Our Lady, constantly seek His face in prayer and allow Him to speak His words of love to our hearts. May He grow in you a desire to be with Him in prayer. And know of our prayers for you, wherever you find yourself right now. He is with you!

The Sisters of Life Vocation Team

Sr. Maria Regina, Sr. Cora, Sr. Eucharistiae

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