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jeudi 21 juillet 2016

From the Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambrose, bishop (Ps. 43, 89-90: CSEL 64, 324-326) We are sealed with the glory of your face



Why do you turn away your face? We think that God is turning his face away from us when we find ourselves in such distress that our senses are clouded in darkness and we cannot see the glory of him who is truth. We are convinced that if God would pay attention to our condition and be pleased to visit our souls, nothing could plunge us in gloom. If a person’s face is more enlightening than other parts of his body—so that when we look at someone we either see him as a stranger or recognize him as someone we know, whom our glance will not allow to pass unrecognized—how much more does the face of God enlighten those on whom he directs his gaze.

In his usual way Saint Paul has something striking to say on this subject. He employs his gift for making Christ better understood to bring him closer to us through the use of appropriate ideas and expressions. He tells us: God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has caused light to shine in our hearts, so that we might receive the revelation of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. We know, then, the place where Christ is shining within us. He is the eternal splendor enlightening our minds and hearts. He was sent by the Father to shine on us in the glory of his face, and so enable us to see what is eternal and heavenly, where before we were imprisoned in the darkness of this world.

There should be no need for me to speak of Christ when even Peter the apostle said to the man born lame: Look at us. He looked at Peter and was enlightened by the grace of faith. He would not have received healing had he not believed with faith. 

Such was the glory possessed by the apostles. Yet Zacchaeus, hearing the Lord Jesus was passing by, climbed a tree, for he was small in stature and could not see him because of the crowd. He saw Christ and discovered the light. He saw Christ and gave up what was his own, though he was a man who took what belonged to others.

Why do you turn away your face? We may say it in another way. Even if, Lord, you turn your face away from us, yet we are sealed with the glory of your face. Your glory is in our hearts and shines in the deep places of our spirit. Indeed, no one can live if you should turn away your face.