One of the greatest blessings of the internet, at least for me, is something called “FaceTime.” If you have ever been separated from loved ones who live in another part of the country, or on the other side of the world, you know what I mean. A letter, an email, a phone call are all good but not quite as good as seeing them face to face. We need to look in the face of a person in order to truly have a good relationship; to read their expression and discover what is in their heart; to see their emotions and, when they are mirrored in our own face, show to them our empathy and our love.
When it is death that separates us from a loved one, we long to see that face again, gaze at a photo of them, a face frozen at a moment in time and try to re-kindle memories of our relationship with them; the smile, crinkle of the eyes, expressions of love that we hope to see again in heaven one day.
The longing to see the Face of our Creator has been written in our hearts. All of mankind long for that one, particular face, the Face of God, even if they don’t know what that feeling of longing is for. Unfortunately, man, seeking the object of its longing, sometimes cannot bear the mystery of God’s hiddenness. Rather than wait for God to reveal Himself when He is ready, mankind seeks “the face which is NOT a face,” –that is, an idol, as described in the encyclical “Lumen Fidei,” (“The Light of Faith”). The opposite of faith (longing to see God’s face) is idolatry, trying to fill our longing for Him with something else, an idol, which is a dead end, a one-way street in which there is no relationship.
Lent is a time in which, by faith, we turn toward God in conversion, enter into relationship with Him and let ourselves be transformed and renewed by God’s call and reject idols. “Those who believe come to see themselves in the light of the faith which they profess: Christ is the mirror in which they find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to Himself all those who believe and makes them His body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with other believers.” (Lumen Fidei sec. 22)
Without light or sound, there would be no Face Time. We would all be sitting silently in the dark. “Faith is hearing and seeing” (Lumen Fidei, sec. 37) God has shown us His Face in His Son, Jesus. We can now see His Face, we can hear His voice in the Scriptures, in our neighbor, in His images and in The Eucharistic Face of Jesus, in which He reveals to us all the love of His Most Sacred Heart. During Lent, by “turning away from idols” we turn toward the Face of God. When we open our hearts to God’s love, through this divine “Face Time” we hear his voice and receive his light, a gift which is so great we cannot keep it to ourselves but through word and light, invite others to “Face Time” with God and to believe.
“All of us with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2 Cor 3:18) “God…has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ.” (2Cor 4:6)