July 30, 2010

The Joyful Catholic / Rick Hermann

Like a little child, seek and find the face of God

Rick HermannClutching her crayon tightly, a little girl drew intently on a piece of paper.

Her teacher asked, “What are you drawing?”

The girl whispered, “It’s a picture of God.”

“Oh, dear,” the teacher replied, “but no one knows what God looks like.”

Without hesitating, the little girl replied, “They’re about to find out.”

If you are struggling to find God in your life, remember to look with the simple faith of a child.

God wants us to find him. “Seek my face,” God tells us (Ps 27:8). He eagerly runs to embrace us, like the father of the prodigal son.

Jesus found God by praying alone in the desert and, on a mountain, his face “shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2).

We find God the same way—in prayer—and we have the sacraments to help us.

How do we know when we have seen God?

Moses’ face became radiant. The disciples were inspired to follow Jesus and left their boats. Paul felt scales falling from his eyes, and was blinded by light.

We know one experience is common to all—an overwhelming sense of God’s love. This is “the peace which transcends understanding” (Phil 4:7).

Once we see God clearly, we are suddenly able to see ourselves as clearly as God sees us.

When we see God for who he is, as our Creator who loved us before he formed us in the womb, we are free to look fearlessly in the mirror to recognize our God-given gifts and limitations.

When we are in right relationship with God, he puts us in right relationship with others and the pieces of our lives fall gently into place.

Gradually, we begin to see God’s face when we look in a mirror and we recognize a familiar friend. “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect God’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:18).

This is an awesome privilege, knowing that we can reflect God’s image to others.

Soon we see God in everyone, for “God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them (Gn 1:27).

God’s face is glimpsed in a newborn child, a suckling mother, a hard-working father, a praying nun or a humble priest.

Looking closer, we see the face of God disguised in people we normally overlook—the poor, the sick, the suffering, the disfigured, the grieving and the dying.

God is also apparent in the depressed, discouraged and downhearted. He is visible in the beggar, the diseased, the ugly, the handicapped and the unborn.

With new eyes, we cast our gaze on the outcasts of society—the thief, the liar, the adulterer, the murderer and the imprisoned.

God’s face is almost entirely masked in some people.

Can we look upon our enemies, those who hurt us, and see the face of God, however obscure?

This is the ultimate test of love—to look upon our enemies with the love of God.

“Love your enemies,” Jesus said, “and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44).

I pray that I find the face of God in everyone. Let me be transformed, Lord, so that I become a reflection of your radiant face to the world.

Let people see a glimpse of God in my face. It may be the only glimpse of God that they see this week.

O Lord, let me see your divine face in everyone I meet, and let me be a reflection of your face to a joyful and sorrowful world.

(Rick Hermann of St. Louis is a Catholic author and career coach. His e-mail address is RH222@sbcglobal.net.)

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