By Stephanie Landsem
“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face”;
your face, Lord, do I seek! (Psalm 27:8)
On St. Valentine’s Day, our hearts turn toward those we love: our sweethearts, spouses, family and friends. When we love someone, we want to see that person face-to-face. We sit across from our sweethearts or spouses at our favorite restaurant, candlelight illuminating their beloved faces. We give special cards or small gifts to our friends and family, watch them smile, their eyes lighting up with the knowledge that they are loved by us.
The Lord also wants us to see his face.
To know God’s face is the greatest gift his people can possess. In the Old Testament, the desire to see the face of God is expressed over one hundred times in words like these:
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8)
For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. (Psalm 11:7)
The incarnation of Jesus gave a face to the God of the universe. As Pope Benedict Emeritus says, “God can be seen, God has shown his face, he is visible in Jesus Christ.”
Jesus himself told us as much, in John 14 when Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father,” and Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Where can we find the face of Jesus and, in Him, the face of his Father? In his wisdom, Jesus has given us many ways to seek Him. Here are just a few:
1. The scriptures. When we read the scriptures, we learn to know and love the Son who did his father’s works. By reading and meditating on The Word Made Flesh, we draw closer to seeing Jesus in both his humanity and divinity.
2. Prayer brings us closer to Jesus. We must take time to listen and talk to Jesus, as our friend and beloved, just as we make time for our spouses, children, and friends. Even five minutes a day in prayer will bring you closer to the face of Jesus.
3. The sacrament of reconciliation. Confessing our sins empties us of our own selfishness and pride and makes room for the grace that Jesus offers to us. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
4. Adoration. When we sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, we are literally sitting face-to-face with Jesus. This is a time to talk to him, to listen, and to be in his presence, as we would be in the presence of a beloved friend.
5. Works of mercy. Jesus tells us very clearly where we are to find him. We can see the face of Jesus, and the face of his Father, in the poor, the hungry, strangers, and those in need.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)
Today, as we seek the faces of those we love, let’s remember that the joy we feel when we look at our spouses, family, and friends is a small reflection of what we will encounter when we reach our heavenly home and behold the face of God, who loves us as no other can.
Let us seek his face now, by seeking the face of his Son.
What other ways help you to seek the face of God?
About the Author:
Stephanie Landsem is a wife, mother, lifelong Catholic, and author of authentic biblical fiction. The Living Water series (The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha) published by Simon & Schuster, is based on encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John. Her website is stephanielandsem.com.