Wednesday, Week Seventeen
The Responsorial (Psalm 99) declares words that should find a constant echo in our hearts: “Holy is the Lord our God.”
Exodus 34: 29-35 tells us what happens to those who engage in intimate conversation with God. After Moses had received the revelation of God’s inmost being, of his “glory,” his face became radiant — so much so that the people were “afraid to come near him” until he called them. And then he had to put a veil over his face.
This same thing happens to us, even physically. It is not as dramatic or intense as the Scripture describes of Moses, but just as real and visible. People who “see God” in prayer — not in the visions and ecstasies of the mystics, but just through deep, quiet reflection on his words and contemplation of his reality — have a radiance in their faces, a peaceful look, a “body language” that makes inner joy evident even when they are suffering, as all do, from the “sin of the world.” It is not so striking that they have to veil their faces, but it is noticeable. And instead of making people fear to come near them, it makes them approachable.
This is something that should characterize every Christian engaged in ministry. Like Moses, we should “go in before the Lord to speak with him,” and when we come out, we should communicate to others what we have heard and seen. It should be evident in our faces, in our words, body language and behavior, that we have “seen the Lord.” Our whole appearance should proclaim our awareness: “Holy is the Lord our God!”
Elizabeth when pregnant with John, saw this in Mary. When Mary appeared on her doorstep and she
heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth… exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?”
Whenever we, who have God consciously in our hearts, appear on the threshold of anyone’s consciousness, something within that person should “leap up” at the presence of the Lord.
In Matthew 13: 44-46 Jesus explains that for those who really appreciate the words, “Holy is the Lord our God” nothing else counts. They have seen the beauty of the “pearl of great price” and glimpsed the worth of the “treasure buried in the field.” Their experience of God makes them willing to give up everything else on earth. And their awareness is evident. This is what makes them able to draw others to him.
We reaffirm this fundamental stance of self-immolating ministry — the one we accepted at Baptism — every time we join ourselves to Christ in the host during the Eucharistic Prayer and offer ourselves through him, with him and in him for the life of the world. If we do this, the Mass will always have meaning for us. In every Mass we will celebrate the meaning of our lives.
Initiative: Be a priest. Seek the face of God in prayer and show it in action.
Luke 1: 41-43.