Tuesday 21st November 2017

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Seeking The Face Of God

September 5, 2017 Featured Today No Comments


Our whole lives as Catholics, our daily battles to do God’s will, to sin no more, to fight evil and falsehood, to uphold, defend, and promulgate truth, are all ordered to one supreme destiny — to behold the face of God in Heaven, as promised in the Book of Revelation: “. . . his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face” (Rev. 22:4).
The Old Testament is replete with aspirations to see the face of God. Psalm 42 expresses this most eloquently: “As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God….When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). This quest is likewise voiced in Psalm 27: “Thou hast said, ‘Seek ye my face.’ My heart says to thee, ‘Thy face, Lord, do I seek.’ Hide not thy face from me” (Psalm 27:8-9).
The great patriarch of Israel Moses was revered above all else for having been granted the sacred privilege of conversing with God “face to face,” whereby it became necessary to veil his face due to the radiance that such sacred converse imparted to his countenance (Exodus 34:29-30, 33-35; Deut. 34:10).
In the light of these Old Testament intimations of what it is to encounter the face of God, and the sight of Christ’s transfigured face shining like the sun on Mount Tabor (Matt. 17:2), one is left almost speechless at the thought of what the Temple guards and the Roman soldiers did on Good Friday to the face of Christ, a face both divine and human. For these men spat upon the face of God; they struck the face of God.
But for the faithful the face of the suffering Christ, the Holy Face, has become an object of consummate and loving contemplation. In her poem Canticle to the Holy Face, St. Therese of Lisieux writes:
“Dear Jesus! ’tis Thy Holy Face / Is here the star that guides my way. . . / Thy Face is now my fatherland, — / The radiant sunshine of my days, — / My realm of love, my sunlit land . . . / Thy face, in its unearthly grace, / Is like divinest myrrh to me” (Poems of Sr. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, known as the “Little Flower of Jesus,” trans. Susan Emery, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, p. 7).
In the sacred liturgy, there are certainly moments that impart a tangible intimation of what it shall be to see God face to face. Whenever we raise our eyes to the elevations of the Host and the chalice following the consecration, or to the elevation of the monstrance during benediction, we gaze upon our as yet unseen God with the eyes of faith. In Holy Communion we converse intimately with Him as Moses did, albeit with the veil of our mortality interposed.
And in the Good Friday ceremony of the unveiling of the cross, the solemnized withdrawal of the veil from the crucifix anticipates that moment to come when leaving Earth and Purgatory behind us we shall pass into the bliss of beholding God in Heaven. It is little wonder that medieval theologians saw in the unveiling of the cross a dramatization of the Passion as a theophany, a revelation of Christ’s divinity.
The anticipation of seeing God is also referenced in the papal funeral liturgy. It was for the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II on April 8, 2005 that newly revised rites for the death of a Roman Pontiff given in the Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis (promulgated in 2000) were employed for the first time. Before the closing of the casket a silken white veil was spread over the face of the deceased Pontiff, an action explained in an introductory locution delivered by the cardinal chamberlain:
“Reverently we shall cover the face of the deceased, supported by the hope of his being able to contemplate and delight in the face of the Father, in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints” (translated from the Latin text in Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis, © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, chapter 2, n. 95, p. 135).
Similarly the prayer for this ceremony declares, “May his face, which has searched through thy ways that he might show them to the Church, see your paternal face. May his face, which departs from our sight, contemplate your beauty and commend his flock to you, the eternal Shepherd” (ibid., n. 98, pp. 135, 137).
Of course our attempts to imagine the face of God while here on Earth pale by comparison with what awaits us in the Beatific Vision, for as Dom Anscar Vonier explains, “. . . it is not a mere image of Him, a mere idea of Him, however clear; it is Himself. It is a direct, uninterrupted gazing on God’s beauty” (The Human Soul and Its Relations With Other Spirits, London and St. Louis, B. Herder, 1925 ed. p. 299).
Simply the anticipation of the Beatific Vision can serve as a compelling incentive to endure all things for Christ. In his Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, St. Thomas More writes:
“. . . We shall by the little sipping that our hearts should have here now, and that sudden taste thereof, shall have such an estimation of the incomparable and uncogitable joy that we shall have (if we will) in Heaven, by the very full draught thereof, whereof it is written, ‘. . . I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form’ (Psalm 17:15).
“I shall be satiated, satisfied, or fulfilled, when thy glory, good Lord, shall appear, that is to wit, with the fruition of the sight of God’s glorious majesty face to face; that the desire, expectation, and heavenly hope thereof, shall more encourage us, and make us strong, to suffer and sustain for the love of God and salvation of our soul, than ever we could be made to suffer here worldly pain, by the terrible dread of all the horrible pains that damned wretches have in hell” (Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, book 3, chapter 26, in The Workes of Sir Thomas More Knyght, sometyme Lorde Chauncellour of England, wrytten by Him in the Englysh Tonge, ed. William Rastell, London, 1557, p. 1258).
An attempt to express in music what it must be to behold the face of God can be found in the Third Act of Richard Wagner’s 1882 opera about the Holy Grail and the spear that pierced the side of Christ, Parsifal.
In the course of a supplication addressed by the character Amfortas to the soul of his virtuous and pious father Titurel, sublime chords accompany the words, “O you who in divine radiance behold the Redeemer’s very self” (Richard Wagner, Parsifal, Act III, as translated into English by Lionel Salter — translation © Lionel Salter, www.LionelSalter.co.uk — published in libretto booklet for Richard Wagner: Parsifal, cond. Herbert Von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsche Grammophon, 413 347-2, 1981, compact disk, p. 131).

The Veil Of Time

To be worthy to see the face of God in Heaven, we must keep alive the state of sanctifying grace within our souls here on Earth; we must keep our hearts, minds, and bodies pure. Recall the words of our Lord, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Speaking of the beatific vision, St. John observes, “. . . we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
Throughout the course of the day, we should repeatedly remind ourselves, especially when temptations threaten, that we must keep ourselves ready to behold the face of God.
Sin makes us ashamed to be seen by God, as Adam and Eve were after they had sinned, hiding themselves upon hearing Him approach (cf. Gen. 3:8). At the Crossing of the Red Sea, the charioteers of Pharaoh were terrified when “the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down upon the host of the Egyptians” (Exodus 14:24). And Satan in his wicked and infernal pride has no choice but to flee from the face of God.
Prayer predisposes us in this life for the vision of God in Heaven. Reflecting upon the effort of the rich man Zacchaeus to see Christ by climbing up into a tree (cf. Luke 19:3-4), the English Jesuit Fr. Bernard Vaughan writes, “Be resolved, no matter what it may cost you, to get sight of Jesus…swing yourself up into the branches of prayer and contemplation, where, above the dust and noise of the passing city, you may rest your soul on the beauty of Jesus” (Loaves and Fishes: Extracts from Father Bernard Vaughan’s Notebooks, London, Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1932, p. 102).
As we who are en route to the Heavenly Jerusalem await and prepare for the day when we shall look upon the face of God, we can ask our Lady, who already enjoys the unutterable bliss of this sublime sight, to look upon Him, to behold Him, on our behalf, until at long last the veil of time and of mortality is lifted and we see Him face to face.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

Bishop McElroy decries extremism on religious freedom, calls for solidarity in American politics

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In an address at Georgetown University, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego criticized both extremes in the fight over religious freedom and called for public consensus based on solidarity to heal our nation in this hyper-partisan age. McElroy…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day after the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.…Continue Reading

Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. The former prefect of…Continue Reading

Notre Dame reverses decision to end coverage of birth control in university insurance plans


In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune. The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement…Continue Reading

House Tax Reform Bill “Unacceptable” As Written, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON—In a letter of November 9, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio called for amendments to the current draft of the House…Continue Reading

Truck honoring Dubia Cardinal stopped by police while circling Vatican

ROME, November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome, a publicity truck carrying billboard-size images of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the dubia Cardinal who passed away three months ago, and Pope John Paul II made its way through the streets of…Continue Reading

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to ‘discipline’ lawyers for rushing teen’s abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to punish the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for lying to the government about the timeline of an underage illegal immigrant’s abortion.…Continue Reading

Christian nurse sues hospital for requiring her to assist abortions

DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions. Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee…Continue Reading

It’s ‘impossible’ to change Catholic teaching against contraception: Cardinal

ROME, October 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church’s teaching against contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae is an “extraordinary example” of how the “truth of faith” deepens and develops while “continuing to be identical to itself,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated at a…Continue Reading

Thousands sign online petition to remove Madison’s bishop

MADISON (WKOW) — There’s an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community.  Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the…Continue Reading

Pontifical Academy of Sciences welcomes leftist California Governor Jerry Brown to keynote

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is again throwing open its doors to abortion and population control activists. From November 2–4, the Vatican’s scientific academy will host a conference on the environment that will feature, among others, far-left…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

U.S. bishop defends pro-LGBT priest speaking at Catholic college as thousands protest

DALLAS, Pennsylvania, November 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. bishop is defending a local Catholic university’s invitation to a pro-homosexual priest to have him speak at its winter commencement in the face of almost 20,000 Catholics having signed a petition asking that the invitation be cancelled. Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is defending Jesuit homosexualist Fr. James Martin’s speaking engagement at Misericordia University’s winter commencement on December 17, saying that the priest’s latest book condoning…Continue Reading

Progressives hate everything old, including the elderly

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this year, Maclean’s Magazinepublished an article asking a question that seemed to capture the prevailing mood on the Left: “Should older people lose the right to vote?” Because old people are practically dead, the author explained, there are some today who feel that they vote with only a short-term vision in mind, and thus should be barred from interfering with the Progress that would be brought about should young people be allowed…Continue Reading

Venerable Solanus Casey: the priest who answered the doorbell.

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Venerable Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest from Wisconsin, was humble before all else, said the postulator of his cause for sainthood. The life of Venerable Solanus Casey is the story of his “humility, his simplicity, as well as his acceptance of whatever life gave him,” Franciscan-Capuchin Fr. Carlo Calloni told CNA Nov. 15. Fr. Solanus Casey is an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957.…Continue Reading

Swiss Planned Parenthood president invited to speak at Vatican

November 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life co-hosted a conference on the topic of end of life issues that included several speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on the right to life, including the president the board of Switzerland’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, and the president of the pro-euthanasia Royal Dutch Medical Association. The conference, entitled the “WMA Europ

Catholic priests, activists to stand trial for pro-life witness inside abortion facility

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, November 20, six pro-lifers will stand trial in a State of Virginia courtroom for their defense of the unborn—facing a possible jail term of up to 90 days. On Friday, September 15, 2017 in three different cities across the United States, pro-lifers entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. By refusing to leave the clinics when told to do so by law enforcement, they offered…Continue Reading


A Book Review… The Sacred Heart Vs. Secularism

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed, by Roger Buck (Angelico Press, 2016, 482 pages; $21.95 paperback, $10.12 Kindle). The Cor Jesu Sacratissimum of the title is the Latin for “Sacred Heart of Jesus,” and the premise of Roger Buck’s sizable volume is that the Sacred…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “The Star” Shines For Christmas

By REY FLORES As children, many of us grew up watching television, particularly memorable special broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz, Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course, all the holiday-themed Peanuts animated specials. My favorite was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where Snoopy and his little bird friend Woodstock fix a Thanksgiving…Continue Reading

Saints Francisco And Jacinta Of Fatima

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + So far in this series of articles published in commemoration the centenary of our Lady’s…Continue Reading

Mary Ann Glendon… A Voice For The Voiceless

By DONALD DeMARCO Mary Ann Glendon was born on October 7, 1938, in Dalton, Mass., a small town nestled in the Berkshire Hills. Her father was an Irish Catholic, her mother a Yankee Congregationalist. She learned a great deal from her mother’s religion about social organization and from her father, how Catholicism “enlarged the spirit,…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Kingmakers Reject A Papal Favorite

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The approval of one’s peers is a highly prized trophy in the complicated world of adult professional relationships. Many work for years in obscurity with little acknowledgment. The opportunity to be championed and appreciated is a blessing not to be taken askance when other forms of promotion are no longer possible for those already at…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Cisterns Of Grace

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the last article, I finished the text with a prayer for the bishops of Malta, who now allow people living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. May our Lady guide them to repentance, and to correct their wrong teaching, lest they answer before God our Lord for leading people into committing a…Continue Reading

The Recipient, Minister, And Celebration Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER A significant reform of Vatican Council II, as we saw last week, was the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy” (Lumen Gentium, n. 29 § 2). An ordained ministry that has always been retained by the Churches of the East, it can be conferred on…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Asked in the past whether we will know family and friends in Heaven, we have responded in the affirmative. We would now like to call your attention to a book that provides additional confirmation of this belief. It is called In Heaven We’ll Meet Again: The Saints and Scripture on Our Heavenly Reunion, and was written by Francois…Continue Reading

King And Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of Christ The King (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 34:11-12, 15-17 1 Cor. 15: 20-26, 28 Matt. 25:31-46 In the first reading today we hear God speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel saying that He will tend His sheep as a shepherd tends his sheep. This might strike us as strange since the feast is about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Vietnam received its first missionaries of the Catholic Church in the 1500s. These missionaries were predominantly Portuguese in the 16th century, with French Jesuits and the Dominicans coming in the 17th century. Throughout the following centuries the priests and missionaries suffered excruciating tortures and martyrdom. When the Communists captured northern Vietnam, Catholics fled to the south and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who…Continue Reading