Happy New Year 2018 – Let His Face Shine Upon You!

In God’s beautiful design, the Christmas liturgy continues at the beginning of the New Year by drawing us toward the Face of Christ with three holy feast days. We begin on January 1, with the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, who teaches us how to contemplate the Face of her Son. The first reading for this feast day is the priestly blessing on God’s chosen people from the book of Numbers.

Virgin and Child,1510

The Feast of Mary, Mother of God

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.” (Num 6:22-27)

In celebrating the centenary of Fatima, Pope Francis gave this reflection of that scripture passage: “This blessing was fulfilled in the Virgin Mary. No other creature ever basked in the light of God’s Face as did Mary; she in turn gave a human face to the Son of the eternal Father. Now we can contemplate her in the succession of joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of her life, which we revisit in our recitation of the rosary…With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true Face of Jesus the Saviour.”

At the last New Year Pope Francis said,

“Begin the year by recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary, in the maternal face of the Church, in the faces of our own mothers…”

The next holy feast, on January 3 is…

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI teaches us, The expression “name of God” means God as He Who is present among men.  His name, is the concrete sign of His Existence. The Hebrew term, “panim”, which means “face” means to see The Face of God, or the presence of God.  “Panim” is a term that describes relationships.  The Hebrew word “shem” meaning “name” is also a term of relationship.  God has a Face and a Name!

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, is the foundation of our Peace, which nothing can take from us.”

And the third great holy day drawing us to adore the Holy Face is…

Adoration of the Magi,
Fra. Angelico & Fra. Lippi

The Feast of the Epiphany

 The Epiphany is closely linked to the Holy Face–because the Epiphany is the feast on which Jesus Christ first shows Himself to the world represented by the Magi–and He shows Himself through a human face, the face of an infant. On the feast of the Epiphany, we ask God to shine His Face upon us, to reveal His Face to us once more as we come before Him in adoration.

On the occasion of the Closing of the Holy Door, January 6, 2001, Pope St. John Paul II prayed for the Church:

“May the Lord grant that in the new millennium, the Church will grow ever more in holiness, that she may become in history a true epiphany of the merciful and glorious Face of Christ the Lord.”   


May Our Lord grant us, in this New Year, through intercession the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grace to contemplate always His Holy Face.

“Vladimirskaya” icon

Happy New Year!

We Saw His Glory

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

“And the Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us,
and we saw His glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

God is pure light, and Jesus is the light of God, “the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness,” which “the darkness has not overcome” (John 1). Jesus reveals God’s glory, the radiance of His truth and love in a human Face.

The hidden face of an unborn baby in the womb.

Why does humanity not see His glory or recognize His Face? We need light to see.  If we are not turned toward the Face of Jesus, who is the Light, we will see only shadows and darkness in this life. If we do not recognize God’s Face, in His Word and in our neighbor, perhaps we need more light. If God’s glory is hidden from us, like the face of a baby in the womb, it does not mean He is not there. He exists. He is present. He loves us, and is waiting for us to return His love–to shine the light of His Face upon us.

After the angels proclaimed that the glory of God had appeared on earth in the Christ Child, the shepherds hastened to see Him. They were enlightened by grace to recognize “the glory of God’s only Son” shining on the Face of the poor, humble babe that lay before them.

Let us pray this Christmas that all those who live in darkness may hasten to Him–so that, by the grace of God, they may seek and find the Face of Jesus. And in turning to Him, they may see a great light: His grace and truth!

“While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human Face.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI 

Merry Christmas!


The Blessed Virgin Mary, Longing to See His Face

 “The church is like Mary awaiting a birth. Like her, we should say of Jesus and mean with our hearts: Come! I want to see your face!”

–Pope Francis

The Expectant Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe

During Advent the Church celebrates the longing to see God’s Face, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a Triduum (three days of prayer beginning on December 15) and a Feast (on December 18th)–It is called The Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Longing to See His Face.  (a bit of the history may be found here.)

Prayer for the Triduum and Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Longing to See His Face

IMG_1179“Mary, your life with Jesus was one of the purest, most fervent, most perfect emotions of longing and most eager expectation of the Birth of the Divine Child! How great must have been that longing!  You were longing to see the Face of God and to be happy in the vision.  You were soon really to see the Face of God, the created image of divine perfection, the sight of which rejoices heaven and earth, from which all being derive life and joy; the Face whose features enraptured God from all eternity, the Face for which all ages expectantly yearned.  You were to see this Face unveiled, in all the beauty and grace as the face of your own child. 

Most just indeed it is, O Holy Mother of God, that we should unite in that ardent desire which you had to see Him, who had been concealed for nine months in your chaste womb; to know the features of this Son of the heavenly Father, who is also your own; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which will give glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will.  Yes, dear Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to satisfy your desires and ours.  Make us re-double our attention to the great mystery; complete our preparation by your powerful prayers for us, so that when the solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our hearts.  Amen.” (Prayer by Rev. Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D.)