“May the Lord bless and keep you, may He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you: May the Lord turn His Countenance toward you and give you His PEACE.” (Num. 6:22-27)
Peace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said, is the summit of the six actions of God in this blessing, which are in our favor; “His most sublime gift, in which He turns toward us the splendor of His Face.”
January 1st is the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, who is the Queen of Peace and this is also the World Day of Peace. Today Pope Francis said, “She is the Mother of Mercy, because she bore in her womb the very Face of Divine Mercy, Jesus, Emanuel, the Expectation of the nations, the “Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:5) Jesus has given us His Mother so that we may never be left alone on our pilgrimage through life, especially in times of trouble and uncertainty.
Pope Francis has also said, “Our eyes need to focus on the particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand.” The Holy Father recalled the suffering, violence and death of many innocent people in the previous year, but he also noted the many acts of kindness, love and solidarity that go unnoticed but should not be obscured “by the arrogance of evil.” “The good always wins,” said Pope Francis, “even if at times it can appear weak and hidden.”
One of the “particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand” is the Face of Christ which He offers to all humanity as “the supreme revelation of the Father’s Mercy.” By contemplating and rejoicing in the splendor of His Face through devotion to the Holy Face we may obtain the peace that the world so desperately needs.
Pope Francis concluded his blessing by appealing to Mary saying, “Send us your blessing on this day consecrated to your honor. Show us the Face of Jesus your Son, who bestows upon the entire world mercy and peace.” Finally, the Pope concluded by calling on the faithful to pray each morning for God to “shine his face” on us, and invited those in the square to repeat after him: “Today, the Lord makes His Face to shine upon me.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written, “To rejoice in the splendor of His Face means penetrating the mystery of His Name made known to us in Jesus, understanding something of His interior life and of His will, so that we can live according to His plan for humanity. Jesus lets us know the hidden Face of The Father through His human face; by the gift of The Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.” “This,” Pope Benedict XVI says, “is the foundation of our Peace, which nothing can take from us.”
+Peace and have a Blessed New Year!
“Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us to have ‘hands innocent and a heart pure,’ hands illumined by the truth of love and hearts enraptured by divine beauty, that transformed by the encounter with Christ, we may gift ourselves to the poor and the suffering, whose faces reflect the hidden presence of your Son Jesus. Amen.” — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI