Lent Day 22 – The Gaze of God

by Bishop Robert Barron


What is it about a face? When we meet someone, we study that person’s face. The face gives away the soul. We can read so much in a person’s facial expression. So much of the texture of what she’s thinking, feeling, and experiencing can be sensed in the face. When we want to be honest and direct, we look someone in the face. When we resolve to meet a difficult situation, we face up to it.

On other hand, standing before the face of another can be threatening and shaming, but also sometimes enlivening.

In the book of Numbers, the Lord instructs Moses how he wants the priests to bless the people: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: this is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace” (Numbers 6:23-26).

This is all about the face of Yahweh. We often speak about man’s search for God. But the thrust here is in a different direction. It is much more interested in God’s quest for us. God looks upon us with love and searches us out when we run from him.

Think of Psalm 139 in this context: “Lord, you search me and you know me; you know my resting and my rising; you discern my purpose from afar. Before ever a word is on my lips, you know it, O Lord, through and through…”

Many of us are, despite ourselves, deists. That is, we think of God—if we think of him at all—as a distant force, a creative power indifferent to the world.

But that just isn’t biblical religion. God knows us, loves us, searches us out, and makes his face to shine upon us, looking upon us kindly.

Think of the experience of being gazed upon by someone who loves you and whom you love. In that gaze—penetrating, knowing, benign—you find, not oppression, but joy and peace. That’s how God looks upon you.

   

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  • nimaju

    “God knows us, loves us, searches us out, and makes his face to shine upon us, looking upon us kindly. ” — How can we read these lines and not take away immense comfort, gratitude, and peace? No matter what we struggle with, He is there. These words were the best way to start my day!

  • Maggie

    We can also see the face of God in one another. What a blessing and a challenge!

    • ber

      You are so reign Maggie thanks for reminding me bless you

  • ber

    Good morning everyone blessed be your day for me the face look or gaze of Jesus is love it can be nothing more for in it is the love that he is if you want to experience this love go to the foot of a big cross and gaze into his eyes there is nothing but love if you feel your sins are too many stand with Mary as the lord gazed on her so his gaze will fall on you see the beauty in the face wonded and bruised then look to the eyes you will see only love I believe in the blessed sacrament gazing on our lord it is like sitting in the sun on a glories day beaming down on us so to Jesus radiates light the light of graces but we have our sunglass on because otherwise we would be blinded it can not fail to leave an impression on us for beauty is hidden only that we may delight in the descovery of what it holds may you all experience this love today blessings bernie

    • Alicia

      Beautiful!

    • Dude_Abides

      Thank you Bernie, for your daily writing’s I feel come from your heart/soul and are an inspiration.

      • ber

        Thank you dude I’m enjoying the journey you too have said some insightful things as we have grown with each other bishop barrons reflectionsI will miss all your time words after lent

  • Alicia

    Just way too much to put into words. I can’t even breathe when I see & experience a tiny glimpse of the Face of God! and the Pure Expression in Jesus Christ. Whew I hope & pray that I may be apart of Divine Love forever…..

  • concerned citizen

    Jesus is the Face of God and as Pope Francis mentioned recently, He is the Face of Mercy and Compassion. And so when we pray to God, we remember the love that Jesus had shown on the sick and the suffering, on the poor and oppressed. We remember the love that Jesus had when He was teaching the crowd how to live and and how to love.

  • Jane

    The Lord calls us out by name has our brothers and sisters remove our death shroud all the while gazing upon us with love. Thank you Lord Jesus, I am yours…

    Thank you brothers and sisters.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hi Jane,

      This happened to me once during a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting, literally!

      At the end of the meeting we prayed over those who requested it. At this particular meeting, one person, who had the gift of prophesy, (God speaking through her) went to each person in the meeting, one on one!
      I usually pray and watch what the Holy Spirit does for others and sometimes I would get a “word of knowledge”, confirming Sharon’s prophetic response.
      Well, I was the last one she prayed over, expecting only peace, which was the norm for me, but God had something to say to me.

      Sharon put her hands on me, paused and said, “Michael…….. Michael…… Michael………., I love you!
      The four generational curse on your family has been broken! ”

      I was so overwhelmed I cried like a child. When the tears had passed and it was cookie and coffee time I started wondering why Jesus called my name three times!
      Sometime later, while thinking about it, I realized that it wasn’t Jesus calling me three times, it was The Father calling me, the Son calling me, and the Holy Spirit calling me, one at a time.

      When God calls your name it is always the Blessed Trinity calling you name!

      Never did find out who cursed my family four generations ago. Being Irish it was probably better that way! Ha, ha !

      Peace and prayers,

      Mixhael

  • Nancy Rynders

    Just last night my husband and I were discussing wedding plans with our daughter. They were talking about which song they would dance to. They chose one he had written to her in her baby book, by one of his favorite artists. The song is about a father seeing his daughter for the first time when she was born, and how much joy that brought to him, when he “gazed upon her face.” I trust that is how God sees me – it’s hard at times, to think I’m worthy, but the feeling is beautiful when I embrace it.

    • Jackie

      These moments are too infrequent, probably because we are afraid to gaze into the other person’s eyes in case they reflect back to us something that we are not comfortable with and so we turn around and we don’t take the chance. Maybe, we don’t think we are worthy or maybe the other person won’t return the gaze. But gazing into a your newborn baby’s soul that hasn’t been tarnished by outside forces, well that is the face of God.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Jackie,

        We all seek acceptence for who we are, a child of God but as you said, we often fear rejection.

        We are not alone….. Jesus did also! As Jesus prayed for those who rejected Him. A difficult situation for anyone.

        If rejected for whatever reason always seek God’s help.
        This is one of the evil one’s tricks. Together with Jesus we are strong and the evil one knows the strength of having Jesus with us so he tries to divide us, not always in a dramatic way but in a hidden way…. “If they reject you, forget them… don’t bother to pray for them…. they are not worth it”!

        We have those moments, and sometimes walking away may be the better thjng to do. Give them to God!

        Peace and prayers,

        Michael
        The Prayer Warrior

        • Jackie

          Michael, I’m not sure what you meant when you quoted “If they reject you, forget them… don’t bother to pray for them…. they are not worth it”!

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Jackie,

            That refers to “what the evil one would say to you so you “wouldn’t bother to pray for them”.
            He knows the power of prayer and tempts you to do nothing rather having you pray”

            Make sense now?
            Thanks for asking.

            Michael

          • Jackie

            Yes. I wasn’t sure where you were going . Reminds me of C S Lewis, book ” Screwtape Letters”. Have you read it?

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Jackie,

            Yes and I have a copy. Very good book for understanding temptation !

            Thank you for responding!

            Peace and prayers,

            Michael

    • Mark

      In high school wood shop class, I made a dog house. I remember looking at the finished product with great joy. Then I think about the joy with which God looks upon a newborn baby, his own creation, brought into being through the love of a husband and wife. That’s how God looks at all of us.

  • Elizabeth

    This past Sunday our Lenten Reflection program was the movie entitled: Full of Grace Mary of Nazareth spends her final days helping the church regain its original encounter with the lord. The following is a definition of faith through Mary:

    Faith is not about explaining things. It is about living and breathing and walking in that Light that is upon us.

    And we will suffer in that Light.

    At times our souls will be squeezed and dried down to the very deepest roots.

    We will weather and grow weary to where we cannot take one step more.

    The Light will fade to the faintest glimmer nothing more than a grain of sand on the shore.

    But the Light will never disappear.

    This walk of faith comes with a promise.

    The promise we will never be abandoned.

    • Carla Archuleta

      Elizabeth, so we’ll said. Thank you for the insight.

  • Becky

    This one really tugged at my soul….what a beautiful description on how God sees us and how we should see others!
    On a Day of Reflection the Priest once told us, if you want to know how close God is to you, cover your face with both hands and know that is how close he is! That blew me away also….
    Face to Face with God….at every moment! If I could only remember that and not turn my face away from him!
    God Bless You All!

  • Carla Archuleta

    God, thank you for your constant love for us. I am grateful that you are the one I know gets me through each and every aspect of life. Continue to shine your love and light upon me/us.

  • Dayna Ellis

    Such a powerful reflection today, Bishop Barron. It is amazing how you can talk with someone and know without mentioning religion or God that the person you are talking to is filled with the Holy Spirit. It is in the face just as you said. Jesus Christ allows himself to project his light through you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Trudge forward prayer warriors and have a blessed day!

  • Joseph T. Garcia

    Seek Ye The Kingdom of God .

  • Patrick Cassidy

    God definitely searches us out. This weekend, we read about the Prodigal Son. The son only had to talk those first few steps towards his Father, but then the Father ran to him, embraced him (he was really unclean, ritual sense as well for a Jew regarding pigs), and then He swept the son into His arms. He clothed him in the finest linens, fed him and put a ring on his finger.

    While those first few steps of repentance are tough, the snowball effect of love from Adonnai is completely worth it.

  • Anton D

    Amazing Gaze that saves a wretch like me.

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    Hello brlthers and sisters,

    Want to see what The Face of Jesus looks like?

    Akiane K’s vision and painting of Jesus Face.
    Take a deep look at Jesus eyes. Tell me they don’t pierce your soul!

    Enjoy,
    Michael

    https://www.pinterest.com/tnbarbaraduncan/art-work-by-akiane-kramarik/

    • Dude_Abides

      Wow, wonderfully inspired painting! Incredibly talented girl (I guess young woman now). Didn’t know about this gifted person, thank you for sharing this Michael Lee.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Dude,

        She is 18 now!

        Michael
        The Prayer Warrior

    • ber

      Thank you Michael beautfull

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Michael I went to your picture of the painting. The thing that struck me most is that one side of the face is bright and shining. The other side is darkened to where only the eye of Jesus is visible. To me it said that this is the face of Jesus when we have traveled into the darkness. His eyes are always visible.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Hi Barbara,

        Very enlightening!! When I look at it, I put a face with my encounter with Jesus when I was kneeling before the tabernacle!!

        Note that the color of Jesus eyes is the same as Akiane’s painting of the Blessed Mother!

        Peace,

        Michael

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          My encounter with Jesus was in darkness perhaps that is why I saw the face looking into darkness.

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Jesus sees you wherever you are

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Barbara,

            Could be!

            Michael

  • Corinne

    “The Gaze of God”, Lenten Reflection Day 22, uplifted my spirit this morning, to give thanks for God’s blessings and graces. Most importantly, mercy . . . it is a humbling and beautiful stated Lenten Reflection of true love. Your prayer friend, Corinne R. Rivituso

  • Murieta Marsha

    I so enjoy and am blessed by all of the comments and insights from the unity of reading on this site. Thank you to each who share- I am indeed enriched. In this day of texting and writing emails the depth of being present with and to someone is often exchanged for a quick tap or two on the iPhone, iPad, or computer. I resolve today to make an attempt to be more present in person to those gifted in family and close friendship, rather than merely a quick word – when possible. Face to face, God’s loving gaze-great visual.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

    I am so happy you wrote that. Too many people shuffle along and say if I just do this little thing or that little thing in my practice, then I am ok as long as everyone sees it. They miss the point. They miss sitting in God’s love because it is all about them and what they do . I had to learn the hard way. Being 52, I had to seriously learn the hard way in my 30s. What? Surrender is surrender to the face of God in the Eucharist. Boom, enough said. Keeping your heart there all day while you go about your biz is further surrender. We need to pray for this. :) amen.

  • Corine Richenelle

    The only Gaze that I ponder is when Jesus look at Peter after the cock crows 3 times. It is a gaze of profound and sincere love that I always ask our Lord to have on me though my sinfulness and weaknesses. I`m glad to know that he loves me as I am. God bless you all.

  • June-Ruth A. Canonico

    Psalm 139 has deep significance for me. It was given to me after a very initially frightening retreat where I chose finally to face things in my past that I felt separated me from the face of God and away from the love of Christ. Of course, nothing can! As a Christian, non-Catholic, I had read the Bible in Sunday school and church in my youth. These words from Psalm 139 were in my mind as I talked with the Priest who quietly opened his Bible to that passage and asked me to read the first half of the chapter aloud. What a great a awesome truth it is to know we may know that our lives, our face, is known to God from our mother’s womb. How much more comforting to know we are loved in spite of ourselves and our sins.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    A reflection I have not thought. I believe for the most of my life I have been hiding for the face of God like Adam and Eve. I reread the beautiful Psalm 134. It is both comforting and a little worrisome to know that God is always there. But we remember that God is always there even “if I make my bed in Sheol” I can’t imagine the times God has pulled me out of Sheol

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Barbara,

      Good use of a Hebrew word!
      Incidently, and you may know this, my name is a question in Hebrew.
      “Who is like God “?.

      I often tell people I am an Irish, Roman Catholic with a Hebrew question for a name!

      Peace,

      Michael

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        I love the distinctions be tween Gehenna (don’t know if I spelled it right) which is liberally translated “garbage dump” and Sheol which in the view of some of my reformed Jewish friends is a concept very near to Purgatory.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hi Barbara,

          Very good! For others who don’t know here is a link.

          http://www.gotquestions.org/sheol-hades-hell.html

          Peace,

          Michael

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            I seem to remember that gehenna was an actual burning landfill outside of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. I once had to take some hazardous waste to the garbage processing plant I remember seeing the garbage moving on a huge conveyor belt into some processor. Since I had heard about this before the image stuck in my mind.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Barbara,

            Your correct! A continual fire existed because they kept throwing stuff in it pdlbably every other day or so.

            Where you took the bio-waste was probably a incinerator because putting it in a landfill would cause bacterial contamination. When burned they can safely put the ashes in the landfill.
            Read Joshua’s comment. Tell me what you think.

            Michael
            revmike123@yahoo.com

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            I was disappointed to see that Gehenna has been replaced by Hell in the New Revised Standard Bible CE. has dropped gehenna in favor of hell. I think this was a bad choice. The balanced images of gehenna and Sheol are for me the best explanation of purgatory and heal. That distinction gives me hope.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Barbara,

            I agree! When translating multiple lauguages makes it difficult to “find the closest word” to the original meaning.
            If many people could read the original text they would be shocked!
            Original Hebrew had no vowels or punctuation. I am sure with the help of Hebrew scholars, they divised such a system. So determaning what was a question or declarative statement etc, was quite a challenge.

            Peace,

            Michael

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            I also see dumbing down of the current translations. The New American Bible used in the liturgy, I believe is the best. However the Douay Rheims is a good translation for deep study. When studying the Bible I always read the footnotes.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Barbara,

            I have the New American study Bible I used in college, the Jerusalem Bible, my farvorite, written in the Yahwehist tradition, the Jerome Biblical commentary and other sources of study.

            I have allot of books concerning scripture in the Catholic tradition.

            I love books! I go crazy at Barns and Noble!

            Peace and prayers,
            .michael

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            I too love books unfortunately chemo dimmed my eyesight. I have had cataract surgery on one eye and will have it done one the other. It will have to wait until the first eye is paid off until I can have the other one done. That still won’t completely restore my sight. That being said there are many wonderful resources online including several editions of the Catholic Bible, encyclicals, and most of the writings of Sts. Augustine, Jerome and Thomas Aquinas as well as the Catechism I am hoping to get a kindle so I can get even more books

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Hi Barbara,

            We have allot in common!

            I had cataracts. But the main issue is I have and had since, 1972 is Corio-retenitis
            an infection of the inter eye. It was stopped in 1972 but could not be reversed. The cataracts grew slowly over the years. Eventually I lost my licensed 25 years. Now I see via Windows 10 screen magnification makes a difference so my books are difficult to read. That is why the internet is great. They have allot of my books online and I can change the font size.

            Barbara, be patient. The time is near when I will be able to take care of the bills for your eye surgery. Ask the Holy Spirit for confirmation to what I just told you!

            Peace and prayers,

            Michael

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Thank you for your prayers Michael I will soon get some money when my mother’s estate is liquidated and the trust settled. I feel sad about using these funds for my health, but my mother would want this

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Barbara,

            I believe she would and I believe the Lord wants that for you, also!

            Peace and prayers,

            Michael

  • Katherine

    Oh, that is so beautiful, so comforting. Thank you for these healing words.

  • Deng

    I love this reflection GOD’s face to face with us through our journey of life. HE is always there for all HIS children.

  • Barb McSweeney

    “God…searches us out…” – stunning, overwhelming, humbling thought! The Creator of the UNIVERSE, MY Creator seeks ME… I PRAY to be found – and to find; to be loved and to love; and to be granted AWARENESS of God’s PRESENCE in the DAILYNESS of life…

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Barb,
      .Amen and Amen !!
      When you pray as you do, your saying, “Lord, catch me and never let me go!!

      Peace,

      Michael
      The Prayer Warrior

  • Joshua Francis Balian

    Dear Bishop Barron, you are welcome to pray for me, perhaps if G-d is real and he exhists and cares, one day I will be able to send you a donation. You have good taste in Sacred art and I have a better vocabulary because of your network. Keep up the good vocabulary and pray for me, one day I want to be able to send you a good donation…. Cheers and Godspeed.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Joshua,

      God does exit!
      Here is something to think about.
      In science there is a law of physics that says ” where there is an action or result of an action there has to be a cause”. So who or what is the cause. If you have an explosion something had to cause that explosion. It could be dynamite, C-4, methane gas and so on.

      Now you have probably heard of the “Big Boom Theroy” ? Atheists and other scientists believe the universe came to be or come into existence all of a sudden “from nothing” ! Now the “big boom” was the result of an action, BUT in order to have an action, you have to have a cause. So the big boom could not have happened unless something or “some one” caused it!!
      An orange could not have come into existence without the tree and the orange tree could not have come into existence without a seed from an orange!

      Think about it! That being said where did everything come from or better yet “who caused it”?

      Peace,

      Michael
      The Prayer Warrior

      • Joshua Francis Balian

        Dear Michael,

        My Patron is Michael The Arch Angel, I welcome you to pray for me to. I have a question for you, do you know how Convents and Monasteries have a skill or craft or product that they do to keep them stable economically? Pray that I can do that, you are welcome to pray to G-d or my Patron. I endorse The Psalms, and The Rosary. I hope that I can come up with a something as so many Monastic Traditions have skills…. This is how I know that G-d is real and personal, until this happens I do not know if G-d is real or personal… Cheers Michael.

  • Mariaeugenia

    Bishop Barron, would you please review David Bowie’s last song/video LAZARUS?

  • Mary Jane Madeline

    Thank you Bishop Barron, for reminding us how personal our God is and calls each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Just in reading this reflection is a consolation knowing that God really does love humanity despite our sinful nature. So we pray and persevere.
    Psalm 19:14…”May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, My Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer”..

  • rtclovesmac

    God has sought us from the beginning.

    He sought to bring us into Hiis presence through our creation.

    He became one of us fulfilling His promise of redemption and desire to unite with Him.

    Even today, He seeks us daily at Mass in the gift of the Eucharist giving us yet another opportunity to be with and unite with Him again.

    Lord let me always recognize you wherever you are and come to you with arms wide open.

  • Penelope

    I have a friend who ends her emails to me with these words from Numbers. I always feel blessed when I read the words.

    I also pray the Examen prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a prayer that takes 10-15 minutes. With the Lord, I look back on my day. The beginning moment of transition into prayer always touches me in a special way:
    ‘I become aware of the love with which God looks upon me as I begin this examen.’
    I close my eyes as I pray this…and I feel enfolded in God’s love and arms. I almost always want to stay in that place, and I often do. How Good is our God.

    If you want to know more about the Examen Prayer, Timothy Gallagher has written a great book entitled, The Examen Prayer, Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today, or visit this site:
    http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen#examen-part-of-your-day

  • Linda Dokey

    THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER FOR LOVING ME. I YEARN FOR THE DAY TO COME SEE YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE OF LOVE FOR YOUR PEOPLES. AMEN

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    Yes God’s Love is ever lasting.