and you will see God

You have undoubtedly been told or heard it said that you should see the face of Jesus in everyone you meet. So, how’s that working out for you? I suspect that most of us would have some difficulty in recognizing him even if he stood directly in front of us sporting a halo, wearing a name tag, and displaying his signature stigmata. We believe. We really do. But …

The problem is that we hold an idealized image of Jesus and no one can measure up. We also decidedly miss the point. Jesus told us “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” [Mt 28:20]. So if Jesus is with me always he must be with you always. And if he is with you always he must be with your neighbor, and his neighbor, and her neighbor, and so on.

My visit with Father John Pack, a long-time family friend convinced me, beyond any doubt, that I had seen Jesus. When I touched and hugged my friend, I knew that I had physically held Him in my arms. To say it was a defining moment would be more than an understatement.

But Father John didn’t look at all like the image I had of Jesus. And no, Father John isn’t Jesus, he’s Korean not Jewish. Is he a holy man? Without a doubt. Is he a saint? Most certainly, at least to me. But in fact, he is a normal human being, flesh and blood, not God. But at that moment, when I really needed God, when I needed His presence so desperately, He filled my friend with Himself, and I saw God, I saw Jesus.

I would like to say that my life changed completely that day, but that would be untrue. Oh, it changed for sure, just not as suddenly as one might expect. It is amazing how resistant we can become to change, even when we know it is for the better. I fought God for a long time, resisted, refused to listen.

It was several years before I found myself no longer able to resist. I remember that day. I was alone when I happened upon a poem that I had read years before but had forgotten. As I read it gave new meaning to me. While a lengthy poem, it was the first few lines that jarred my senses and gave me the nudge I needed. It began:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
    I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
    Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
    From those strong feet that followed after, followed after.
But with unhurrying case, and unperturbed pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat — and a Voice beat more instant than the feet —
    “All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

That poem, The Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson, spoke to me. God spoke and I finally listened.

Look into the eyes of a stranger and you will see, listen to the voice of a friend and you will hear, touch the face of someone you love and you will touch… God.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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