Monday, May 14, 2018

OF YOU MY HEART HAS SPOKEN: Seeking the Face of God - Eamonn Monson

Katie's First Communion 2017

When I was preparing to move to Hastings last year I asked God for a Word for this new venture in my life and what came to me is, "of You my heart has spoken, seek His Face; it is Your Face O Lord that I seek," from Psalm 27. This is also the entrance antiphon for the seventh Sunday of Easter. 

So, it has seemed to me that the core of my life here is to seek the Face of God, to seek it constantly. It is not, of course, a seeing in the ordinary sense and it can also be a hearing and an instinct which indicates the presence of God in a particular moment. 

The seeking and the seeing has to be true. "Keep those you have given me true to your name!" - the prayer of Jesus in today's Gospel. True to the name, the identity of who God really is and not who I want Him to be.  

God's identity is always Love. "We have come to know and to believe in God's love for us. God is Love and whoever lives in love lives in God and God lives in that person." (1 John 4:16) Wherever there is Love there is God! 

The Face of God comes to me especially in the Mass, in the Word of God, in the Eucharist and it also comes to me in the people I encounter. I find it in the baby I baptize, I find in in the faces of people approaching me for Holy communion or for blessing and I find it in other hidden or unexpected ways. 

There was a man who used to sell smiles in George's Street, sitting there on the cold hard ground in all weathers with a sign in front of him that said, "smiles for sale!" I bought a smile every time I came by him and, while we never got to know each other by name or anything else, a bond developed between us. He appreciated the fact that "you never pass me by!" I valued the smile he offered, valued the fact that he found plenty of reasons for smiling and he became the Face of God for me, the smiling, humble Face of God. Then he just disappeared, stopped being there and I think of him every time I walk down George's Street. 

The other day I was coming back from town when I saw a woman sitting in the sunshine with a sign that said, "smiles for sale!" I told her I knew a man who used to sell smiles. "He was my husband" she said, "he died on Christmas Day!" Died of pneumonia. I sympathized. Felt a huge sorrow in me, the sorrow of missing him, the sorrow of missing God. His name was Graham. 

Something that prevents us seeking the Face of God is our own sense of guilt, shame or hypocrisy; when we realize that we are not the good Christians we are meant to be or seem to be; when someone reminds us of these realities. It's easy then to get discouraged, to think there's no point seeking because I will somehow always be less instead of more. But it's important to keep seeking, keep striving, no matter how badly I feel about myself, remembering that there is not one of us without sin and only Jesus is perfect. 

A most beautiful discovery of the Face of God came to us in the First Holy Communions we celebrated today. The children participated so perfectly and when they read the Word of God I felt Him entering into my heart and soul. When I gave them Communion I was consumed in the perfect Innocence of God Himself. 

And a really special moment came at the beginning of Mass when I looked down at the congregation and I saw the parents of one of the boys. She was pregnant all during the time of his preparation for Communion. Today she was holding her new baby girl who was born just two days ago. Our eyes met, the three of us, and we smiled. 

Huruma Eamonn Monson
May 13, 2018

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