In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis states, “Introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplating the face of Christ,” (25) and similarly on June 29, 2016, he states in the newly released apostolic constitution, “Seeking the face of God has always been a part of human history.” (Vultum Dei quaerere “Seeking the Face of God” no. 1) From the beginning Adam and Eve experienced their greatest joy by gazing at the face of God in the garden; however, after the fall, they could no longer gaze upon the face of God.
Since then man unknowingly searches for the face of God in fame, pleasure, power, money, drugs, sex, and rock & roll, but each time he comes up empty, unfulfilled, and disillusioned. Yet, Pope Francis reminds us that from the beginning, “men and women called by God and in love with Him have devoted their lives exclusively to seeking His face.” (Vultum Dei quaerere no. 2)
Gazing at the face of God is our greatest desire, and if we could see His face, we would die of love and ecstasy, or as God explains to Moses, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” (Ex. 33:20) St. Paul explains this too, but he gives us the hope of one day gazing at His face fully, “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then, we will see face to face.” (1Cor.13:12)
St. Faustina expresses something similar, “God’s presence continued to pervade my soul. Oh, what happens to a soul that meets the Lord face to face, no pen has ever expressed or ever will express!” (Diary 691) and she further explains, “However, the soul receiving this unprecedented grace of union with God cannot say that it sees God face to face, because even here there is a very thin veil of faith, but so very thin that the soul can say that it sees God and talks with Him.” (Diary 771)
This is difficult to understand since we usually stop at the “‘Eucharistic Face’ of Christ, the new force from whom the Church draws her life.” (Ecclesia De Eucharistia no. 7) St. Gaetano Catanoso similarly says, “If we wish to adore the real Face of Jesus, we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Face of Our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host.” Miraculously, St. Faustina actually sees the “Eucharistic Face”, “I saw the face of the Lord Jesus in the Sacred Host which was exposed in the monstrance. Jesus was looking with kindness at everyone.” (433)
The reality is that the “Eucharistic Face” helps us to “constantly seek His face,” (Ps.105:4) since it is our deepest longing, “My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?” (Psalm 42:2) St. Faustina, again, expresses a profound yearning to see His face, “When will the veils be lifted for me as well? Although I see and feel to a certain extent how very thin is the veil separating me from the Lord, I long to see Him face to face.” (Diary 807)
Finally, in the Old Testament, “the prophets summoned the people to conversion of heart while zealously seeking the face of God.” (CCC 2595) So, too, in our millennium, St. John Paul II puts the entire Church on the path of seeking His face, “To contemplate the face of Christ, is the “programme” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium.” (Ecclesia De Eucharistia no. 6) Knowing that, “in the beatific vision…we shall see God ‘face to face’, ‘as He is,'” (CCC 163) let us “contemplate unceasingly the face of Christ” (Vultum Dei quaerere no. 7) for, “It is from the face of God that this JOY flows out upon ALL.” (Diary 1592)
ST. FAUSTINA PRAY FOR US.