Seeking the Face of God
Author: Father Barry O’Toole, LC | Source: Catholic.Net
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you revealed to Peter, James and John a glimpse of your future glory in order to strengthen them for the cross. I know that you also wish to strengthen me with your presence so that I may carry my cross well and one day see you face-to-face. I entrust myself to you now through this prayer, seeking to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: Lord, show me your face.
1. Man’s Desire for God: Jesus spends much time in union with his Father through prayer. In the Gospel today he climbs the mountain to pray, as is his custom. It is an attitude that reflects man’s desire to be in contact and in union with the divine. There must have been something truly awesome in how Our Lord prayed, for his apostles ask him to teach them. They want the same intimacy they see that Jesus has with the Father. Can I truly say that I ardently long for a greater intimacy with Christ? Do I believe confidently that anyone who seeks God with a sincere heart will find him? How pleasing it is to God the Father when we, his children, turn to him in earnest, filial prayer.
2. Climbing the Mountain of Prayer: The image of the “holy mountain” is found throughout the Scriptures from Abraham to Moses, and it is often present in Jesus’ public ministry. A mountain is a physical place, but it also represents for us our seeking God’s face in prayer. Our prayer is the ascent of this “holy mountain” to an encounter with our Father. Are we prepared to make this ascent, knowing this involves setbacks and dryness along the way? The Catholic Catechism describes prayer as a battle: “Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray…” (CCC 2725). Am I ready to make the effort of climbing ever upwards through prayer? Do I live as I pray, and am I satisfied with that kind of praying and living?
3. The Tools for Climbing: Every good mountain climber has the tools he needs to make the ascent. We, too, have the tools we need. First, we have the Gospels themselves, which give us a clear picture of Jesus. “He who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9). Let us meditate frequently on them and ask Our Lord to reveal himself to us through them. Second, we have the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist. In the former, we encounter God’s merciful love lavished upon us, restoring us to our filial relationship with him. In the latter, we receive Love himself, Jesus Christ, who has remained in the sacrament so that we could be united with him. Is my prayer well-grounded in a fervent sacramental life?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you for remaining with us in the Eucharist. It is here especially that I can go to seek your face, to know you more intimately and to grow in my love for you. Increase my love for you; may I return love for love.
Resolution: Today I will take at least five minutes of my time to seek Our Lord in prayer, asking his grace for my needs and the needs of all my loved ones.