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Sunday, January 01, 2012

May the Lord uncover his face to you

Awhile back I heard or read about le`hem ha panim, I think from Catholic Answers live (podcast) -- the bread of the presence, or the bread of the face. This article is good reading on this subject, which comes up in today's readings in the feast of Mary, Mother of God. In the first reading, the priestly blessing is formulated that Aaron and his sons are to use:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.

Mary is the new ark of the covenant, a singular vessel of the real presence of God through his Son, whom we also know as the bread of life, the prince of peace. In the Incarnation of the Word made flesh through Mary, the Lord uncovered his face in Jesus who is the image of God. Truly, the Lord was gracious upon us for sending his Son. This reminds me of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic adoration. The monstrance is covered with cloth but uncovered at the exposition.
   We also get the model of prayer in Mary from today's Gospel reading: As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. It would be so like me, a man, to jump up astonished and say "Eureka! I've got it!" at some realization. True and significant as that realization might be, I think that Mary's example of contemplation is a superior approach. We men can get too excitable, but I think that contemplative prayer, unassuming and constant, daily, will go much deeper.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

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