I Have Sought Thy Face

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I arrived home from Ireland last evening and returned to my post this morning. The "mission" in Ireland was in every way blessed. Even the weather was lovely! I made many new friends in Ireland and saw old ones with joy. After three days at Knock in County Mayo, I went on to Drumshanbo in County Leitrim to preach a retreat to the Poor Clares of the Perpetual Adoration Convent. People from the surrounding towns were present at daily Mass in the morning and at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the evening. Thanks to John Flynn who drove me from one place to another, I had the opportunity to visit two families of Irish "Travellers" to pray with them and bless their sick. I was humbled and blessed by their faith.

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The Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 12: 1-4
2 Timothy 1: 8-10
Matthew 17: 1-9

Vultus Christi

My heart hath said to Thee:
I have sought Thy Face.
Thy Face, O Lord, will I still seek:
turn not away Thy Face from me.
V. The Lord is my light and my salvation:
whom shall I fear?
Psalm 26: 8-9, 1.

Today's sublime Introit (Tibi dixit cor meum) summons us to lift our eyes to the transfigured Christ and to fix our gaze on His Holy Face. One who seeks the Face of Christ will find the strength to do whatever God asks of him.

To seek the Face of Christ is to place all one's trust in Him. It is to await from Him all that one needs. The contemplation of the Holy Face of Jesus
— exorcises the fears that paralyze us spiritually;
— frees us from anxiety and fills the soul with peace;
— purifies us of our sins and opens us to an infusion of grace;
— glorifies Our Lord because He desires that we should discover on His Face the glory of the Father (2 Cor 4:6), and the secrets of His Heart.

The Example of Abram

Abram trusted God with his life, his family, his possessions, his past, his present, and his future. It was Abram's faith expressed in an unconditional trust in God that enabled him to leave "his country, his kindred, and his father's house" (Gen 12:1). Abram consented to such a radical uprooting because he was deeply rooted in the faith that places no limits on God's faithfulness to what He has promised.

One who seeks the Face of Jesus is saying, albeit wordlessly, what Abram demonstrated by setting out as the Lord commanded him: "I trust Thee, Lord, with my life. I trust Thee with my family, my loved ones, my possessions, my past, present, my future . . . and even with my sins." There is no better place to do this than in the presence of the Eucharistic Face of Christ.

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A Holy Place

In the little Convent of Drumshanbo in County Leitrim, Ireland, where I just finished preaching the annual retreat, people kneel before the Blessed Sacrament from the opening of the chapel doors at 6:00 in the morning to their closing at midnight, seven days a week. The Convent of Drumshanbo is a hearth radiating warmth and light to the surrounding towns, to all of Ireland and beyond. People from all over the world entrust their intentions to the "praying nuns" of Drumshanbo. It is, I think, one of the holiest places in Ireland, a country rich in holy places by any account.

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

In the Second Reading, Saint Paul says that grace is manifested in the "bright coming and appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Tim 1:10). Where does Our Lord appear for us here and now, and day after day, if not in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The Irish used to greet the "bright coming and appearing" of Our Lord at the elevation of the Sacred Host in every Mass by wishing him "a hundred thousand welcomes."

Hard and Arduous Things

Saint Paul says that we are to "bear our share of suffering for the sake of the Gospel" (2 Tim 1:8), and Saint Benedict speaks in his Rule of the "hard and arduous things by which one goes to God." This is possible only by living from the Eucharist — celebrated, contemplated, and adored — by living from one Mass to another, and by saying to Our Lord with Saint Peter, "Lord, it is good for us to be here" (Mt 17:4).

Do this and sooner or later, in one way or another, two things will happen. First, you will hear the Father's voice saying inwardly, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him" (Mt 17:5). Second, Jesus will come to you. He will touch you, saying, "Arise, and fear not" (Mt 17:7), that is, "Arise, and get on with your life."

Only Jesus

Lifting up your eyes, you will see no one, "but only Jesus" (Mt 17: 8). Only Jesus: this is the secret to seeing Jesus everywhere and in everyone. It is this that transfigures all of life. It is this that will allow us to say when Our Lord calls us out of this valley of tears to Himself, "I have sought Thy Face" (Ps 26:8).

3 Comments

Yesterday at Mass, instead of the Gospel of the Transfiguration, we had the Woman at the Well. I don't know why they change the readings so much, especially when the Transfiguration is so important for the Second Sunday of Lent.

Very strange, dear Elena Maria. The Woman at the Well is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, the Man Born Blind, the 4th, and the Resurrection of Lazarus, the 5th. One wonders who "they" are.

I don't know, Father, whoever puts together the paperback missal that they use in our parish- some of the usual readings for the Sundays of Lent have been changed. Next time I am there and I will check and get the specifics-- and make sure I was not imagining things.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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