“Sadness is looking at oneself, happiness is looking at God. Conversion is nothing but a movement of the eyes.” ~ Blessed Carlo Acutis
Sin is ugly. It reared is ugly head last week in our diocese when two priests were removed from ministry. Both were priests I had known, that had given the sacraments to our family, and “high-fives” to my children and grandchildren. By outward appearance, they seemed pious. It was all a lie. The reasons for their removal have caused deep pain and sorrow to those already feeling beaten down by the betrayals and failures of members of the Church. They have spit on and disfigured the Face of Christ.
There are endless questions among the faithful: Why? How did this happen? Why didn’t we see the signs that something had gone grievously wrong? The answer to the questions are true for all who fall into sin. The answer is that at some point they turned away from the Face of God — either gradually, by venial sins, or by a deadly, deliberate decision — they chose to look away.
It has been said that if we are not moving toward God, by constantly striving to grow in faith and love of Him, we will fall away and more than likely, drag others down as well. There is no standing still in the spiritual life. Any one of us can fall miserably because we forget we are in the presence of God.
“We need only to realize that God is close to us and to turn to Him at every moment.”~Brother Lawrence
Judas caused the deepest wound to the Sacred Heart, which is reflected on the Face of Jesus, by the sin of betrayal. He chose perdition rather than look in the Savior’s Face and ask forgiveness. Peter, however, after having denied our Lord three times, turned back to look at the Face of Christ, and in one glance received the grace of repentance. God is merciful. There is always hope. We need to continually be aware of being in the presence of God, which is turning to look at His Face. He is always looking at you with love. Please don’t look away. Don’t ever look away.
In contemplating Christ’s face, we confront the most paradoxical aspect of his mystery, as it emerges in his last hour, on the Cross. The mystery within the mystery, before which we cannot but prostrate ourselves in adoration.
The intensity of the episode of the agony in the Garden of Olives passes before our eyes. Oppressed by foreknowledge of the trials that await Him, and alone before the Father, Jesus cries out to him in his habitual and affectionate expression of trust: “Abba, Father.” He asks him to take away, if possible, the cup of suffering (cf. Mk 14:36). But the Father seems not to want to heed the Son’s cry. In order to bring man back to the Father’s face, Jesus not only had to take of the face of man, but he had to burden Himself with the “face” of sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 For 5:21).~Pope St. John Paul II