God the Father, by Masolino da Panicale (c. 1383 – c. 1447)
The other night, I was tucking my 6-year-old son into bed and we were chatting before saying our prayers. The topics of conversation were dictated by him and varied widely. He recapped his favorite part of the day, asked me how magnets work, and wondered if I had “bad” dreams when I was little—something he has been struggling with lately. After a bit, I said, “okay, now it’s time for prayers. How are you going to talk to God tonight?” I folded my hands, closed my eyes and waited while he proceeded to thank God for “everything.” After giving him a blessing, I stood up to leave and said, “Goodnight son!”
As I was walking away he said, “Wait! I have one more prayer!” I sighed, turned around, and must admit, was feeling a little impatient as I was already thinking about the next task for the evening. He closed his eyes, folded his hands tightly and prayed, “Dear God, help me get another teddy bear. Amen.” I assured him that God likes all of our prayers and that He loves it when he talks to Him. Then I stood to leave. He smiled and then turned thoughtful as he explained, “when I close my eyes and I see God’s face in my mind I see you, Daddy.” Gulp…my impatience drained away. I know that it is very common for children to have an image of God in their parents, but talk about big shoes to fill! So I smiled at my son with a greater awareness that my glance, my touch, my words and my actions all speak to him about who God is. “Goodnight my little one” I whispered with a kiss.
This got me thinking, by my words and actions do people recognize the face of God or does my life fade into the background of worldliness?
Jesus says, “this is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). To have a life where our actions, words and beliefs are all in agreement means to live authentically and this is the life that God has destined for us–a life of love. It is by living authentically that we bring the Gospel to the people we come in contact with and is where we can make the greatest difference. This is how we show the face of God. What an honor! What a blessing! What a challenge!
Today, as you and I look in the mirror we must ask, “Whose face do I see?” We must pray for and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit in how we live our lives. Lord, transform our lives that we might be an image—an icon—of You. May all those who come in contact with us see the face of God. Amen.