Sunday 18th February 2018

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, — 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.

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

ROME, January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview two weeks after issuing a profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is inviting his brother bishops around the world to join in raising a common voice…Continue Reading

Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

Where are all the Catholics at the nation’s largest Catholic school

When Selena Miller, a practicing Catholic, applied to DePaul, she had no idea it was a Catholic university. Damita Meneves, another practicing Catholic, said she has met only one other Catholic student in her first year at DePaul. DePaul is…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: It is a “source of anguish” to hear suggestions “that I would lead a schism”

His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, spoke recently with Thinking with the Church, hosted by Chris Altieri, who is also a regular contributor to Catholic World Report. Cardinal Burke responds to questions regarding the interpretation and reception of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris…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 . . .

Planned Parenthood Sues President Trump After He Defunded Its Programs Pushing Sex on Kids

There’s nothing, it seems, that the abortion chain Planned Parenthood won’t sue over. On Thursday, affiliates of the abortion chain in seven states sued the Trump administration for cutting funding for their questionable teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Daily Nonpareil reports the lawsuits argue that the Trump administration wrongly cut their funding prematurely and without cause. Nine groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, South C

Scholar stumps Cardinal Cupich, asks if Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ means ‘radical’ doctrinal change

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice. Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge Universityin which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lect

Cardinal Schönborn outraged at bishop’s critique of blessings for homosexual unions

VIENNA, Austria, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Austria’s bishops, led by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, are indignant over a retired bishop’s passionate defense of Catholic teaching in opposing Church “blessings” for homosexual unions. After Bishop Andreas Laun, the retired Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, Austria, published Monday his strong rebuke of the German bishops for proposing to bless homosexual couples, there has been an inten

The Clarity of Cardinal Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he was bishop of Rapid City, he called for “civility and clarity” in discussing legislation that would limit abortion, but he…Continue Reading

Catholics warn of church schism if Vatican makes a deal with China

BEIJING — A group of influential Catholics published an open letter Monday express their shock and disappointment at report that the Vatican could soon reach a deal with the Chinese government, warning that it could create a schism in the church in China. The Holy See has been in negotiations for several years with the Chinese Communist Party and is now belie


President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a week of taking office on January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, which bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. The expanded policy prohibits $9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from funding foreign organizations that perform or…Continue Reading

Approval Of Miracle Opens Door To Paul VI’s Canonization

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Pope Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year. According to Vatican Insider, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle by a…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A Catholic Reaction To Trump And The Media

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. 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 cofounder and president of…Continue Reading

Priest Says… Excommunicate 14 Catholic Senators Who Voted Against Late-Term Abortion Ban

By LISA BOURNE (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews ran this story on February 5.) + + + A Catholic priest is calling on bishops to excommunicate the 14 Catholic-identifying U.S. senators who voted two weeks ago against banning late-term abortions. He is also calling on priests to deny the Catholic pro-abortion senators Holy Communion. “Today is the…Continue Reading

Limbo And Eastern Orthodoxy

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The centuries-old theological debate concerning the existence of Limbo for unbaptized babies (the limbo puerorum as a state of natural happiness) led to the 2007 publication of the document The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized by the International Theological Commission (ITC). The commission concluded there are “serious…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

By DON FIER For a variety of reasons (a defect of consent, a diriment impediment, or a defect of the required form), many supposed modern-day marriages entered into by Catholic persons are invalid from their origin in the eyes of God and the Church. However, as we saw last week, depending on the circumstances, the Church has procedures by which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

Abraham Had To Be Tested

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Lent Readings: Gen. 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9:2-10 In the first reading today we hear about Abraham’s nearly incomprehensible act of faith and love for God shown in his willingness to sacrifice his own son. We have to be careful not to read this in a vacuum. This test, which…Continue Reading

Questioning Humanae Vitae?… The Vatican Has Already Had Its Say

By ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI (Wanderer Editor’s Note: Catholic News Agency on February 3 published a commentary concerning a 1989 Vatican response to dissent against Humanae Vitae. Below is an excerpted version of that commentary. Following that, we reprint the full text of the 1989 Vatican response, which, as the CNA commentary explains, is now available on the Vatican’s website. Please also…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Bishops Promote Sin “In Some Cases”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A joke sometimes recounted among clergy goes along these lines: Someone greets a wise old priest by asking, “What’s new?”, and he responds, sagely, “Christ is risen!” The humor here is less about what’s new than about the fact that everything, other than the only true revolution of Christ’s Incarnation and triumph over death, is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Joseph Allamano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the lives of the saints one thing is very common: They have such a strong desire to do God’s will that nothing will hinder their work. Many saints, despite illness, weak health, or many other obstacles achieved their goals. Frequently the amount of work accomplished by such individuals seems humanly impossible — and, of course, it…Continue Reading