The Holy Face of Jesus photograph by Samuel Epperly uploaded on October 14th
Based off of the Shroud of Turin
Have you ever had the feeling like someone was watching you? That is such a creepy feeling isn’t it? I remember once stepping out of a Church one day and I just had this cold feeling like someone was watching me… then, I heard a noise! It was very close…I took another step…there was the noise again. My body turned…it was like a horror movie. Then…there it was!!! A raccoon coming out of the garbage can! I bursted out laughing…it was really funny…of course after the shock.
God loves us so much that his eyes are fixed on us! Through the great gift of the Incarnation (God became man), the face of God was revealed to the world! “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God revealed His face when He sent His Son into the world and so through the eyes of the Son of God, there is truth, beauty and love. When Jesus walked the earth two-thousand years ago, so many people saw His face and were never the same! Sinners of all kinds came to Him! Why? Because in His eyes they saw that they were loved.
In order to get over the “selfish me,” one must learn to contemplate the face of Jesus. To a pious nun, Sister Mary of St. Peter who died in the odor of sanctity, Jesus revealed what he would do for those who reverence His Sacred Face: “According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of yours which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint upon it My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the baptismal font.” (Catholic Tradition “Chosen Souls Who Have Venerated the Thorn Crowned Head of the Savior” accessed January 21, 2020 http://www.catholictradition.org/Christ/holy-face10.htm) Jesus promises that the more we contemplate His face, the more will our face reflect His face in the world. It will be “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
The eyes of Jesus speak to us the truth about ourselves and the truth about who He is. Our selfish tendencies come, because we do not realize how much we are loved and so we turn inwards and struggle with loving others. Jesus’ face speaks mercy and says, “I love you for who you are!” Have we allowed ourselves to contemplate the face of Jesus? Have we allowed ourselves to be loved by Jesus?
Jesus looks at you and me in a way that no one else does. Sometimes we can be ashamed to look into the eyes of truth. Sometimes the weight of our sins and past wrongs can crush us and we do not have the strength to raise our eyes to Christ. The evil one tries to plant lies into our head saying: “you are not good,” “you are not worthy,” “look how bad you are.” The eyes of Jesus tell a completely different story. Jesus’ face of love says, “I LOVE YOU!” “YOU ARE MINE” “YOU ARE LOVEABLE.” We do not have to be afraid anymore to look into the eyes of our Savior, for in His eyes we see Truth.
To be loved by someone is a big deal. Our modern culture speaks of love in so many different ways, especially with thoughts like: “I will love you only if you love me back” or “I will love you only if you give me what I want.” However, the reality is when someone says to another “I love you” they are saying “You belong to God and I wish God to be present in our relationship.” To say “I love you” to someone means to see the face of Jesus in that person and to be willing to pray and sacrifice for that person so that one day they can be in heaven with God forever. “I love you” means “I see Jesus in you and I love Him in you.” It is only when we contemplate the face of Jesus in our prayer life that we can see His face in others and then really learn how to love.