lundi, avril 28, 2008

Quaero vultum tuum!

Sermon for the 5th sermon after Easter
It took some time, but now the disciples finally understand who Jesus is. Now we know that you know all things… We believe that you came forth from God. (Jn.16:30) The works and the words of Jesus show us the true face of Christ. Now we cannot see His face. It will be the reward for the good servants, in heaven. But we have a mark of Christ’s face through His works and words. It is something important, something beautiful, and yet it is not enough. It is not enough for those who search for God. They want to see His face and will have no rest until they see it.
Saint Anselm was one of those seekers of God. Quaero vultum tuum - I am looking for Thy face, O Lord! And then he asks: Teach me how to seek Thee and show Thyself to those who seek Thee. Here is the concern of the Saints. Here is their greatest desire: they want to see the face of the Lord. From morning to evening, and even during the night, their mind is full of the thoughts of the Lord. They constantly sigh after Him. They want to see Him so much, that they do anything for that. Love is their strength and the motive of their actions. They do the word of God, because they know that it is the way to go to Him.

Many men look at their face in the mirror and when they look too much, they forget the face of Jesus. They are hearers of the word, but not doers. And finally, they even forget their own face when they go away. There is no constancy in their lives. They hear the word, they look at themselves, they go and they forget.
Such a behavior is certainly stimulated by our modern society. In a society of productivity and consumerism, where profit is extolled, there is not much place for meditation. In a society where the notion of acting is more important than the notion of being, there is not much place for silent contemplative prayer. Modern thought makes us believe that in order to blossom you have to do many different activities. But we can lose ourselves in the midst of too many activities, not because they are bad in themselves, but if they don’t give us time to think and to consider the reality of things, there is a great danger of forgetting who we are and what we are really supposed to do. For us Catholics, there is a danger of thinking that our Catholic activities are just more activities among many others. We come to the church, we hear the word of God and then we go away and return to our worldly activities, forgetting who we are. We introduce a certain dichotomy in our lives, because faith is not really the principle of our lives, but rather a kind of peripheral phenomenon.
There is one way to avoid such a danger, which is the deepening of our interior life. If we want to find the face of Jesus, we have to look first into ourselves; because we know that Jesus is there. It is the purpose of the Divine grace that He allows to dwell in us.
In today’s gospel, Our Lord says that if we ask, we will receive. But we still have to ask for the good things. The first thing should be to ask for the face of Jesus. We can pray with these beautiful words from Psalm 118:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Or again with psalm 79:4 let thy face shine, that we may be saved.
Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you. (Jn.16:23) These are the words of Jesus and they are true. They are true, but we do not understand them completely. Therefore, we might think sometimes that God does not hear us or does not answer our requests. It is certainly because we do not ask in the name of Jesus, but maybe in our own name. Our Lord tries to explain to us: Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name. (Jn.16:24)
Hallowed be Thy name! What should we ask first? We should ask anything that makes the name of God hallowed, makes His kingdom come, and makes His will done on earth as it is in heaven. If our requests are not related to these ends, then they are not presented in the name of Jesus.

May Our Blessed Mother teach us how to ask in the name of her Son, so that our joy may be full. Let us learn from her how to find the face of Jesus for His glory and our greatest joy. Let us pray with her: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!

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