• Sarah Raad


“No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary.” (Pope Saint john Paul II).

Holy Family of the Streets (Kelly Latimore)

The other day, my husband told me that I talk so much that he struggles to fit a word into the conversation.

Now – though we laughed a little at this not-so-startling revelation – it stuck with me as a reminder to use silence too…

And I have been reflecting very much on contemplative and meditative prayer – the prayers we pray in the silence – over the last few weeks. You see, of all the different forms of prayer, this is the prayer that I personally find most difficult to engage in because mine is an active soul. And because I am forever bouncing around working on one thing or another all the movement makes it very hard for me to develop the sort of discipline required to sit still, emptying my mind of myself and allowing God Himself to fill my head my heart and my mind with HIM…

And because contemplative prayer is a difficult form of prayer for me, I am missing out on the joys of conversation with my Beloved – and that is something I dearly wish to change…

And when I seek an example of how to contemplate my Beloved, I turn to my Blessed Mother.

Pope Saint John Paul II said, “The contemplation of Christ has a remarkable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary.”

And I have been reflecting on this beautiful observation of this Saint ever since, for the TRUTH is evident in the Holy Face of Christ…

Saint Gregory Nazianzus said, “Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. He became man for us so we might become partakers of his divinity (2 Peter 1:4). He became poor, so through His poverty we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He took upon Himself the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7) so we might be delivered from slavery (Romans 8:21). He stooped down to us in our misery so we might be raised up to His glory. He was tempted like us so we might learn to overcome temptation like Him. He was despised so we might be given honour. He died to save us from death. He ascended to heaven so we who lie prone in sin may be lifted up to Him.”

You see, there is basically the entire manual to salvation written on the Holy Face of my Beloved – if only I could take the time and the quiet to listen to Him rather than filling the empty spaces with the yabbering of my own imperfect soul…

Saint Oscar Romero said, “We must not seek the Child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek Him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat...” And Father Raoul Plus said in his book, “Christ in the Home”, “True, heroic virtue is rare and where it does exist, it makes so little noise!”

And bearing this in mind, I focus on my Beloved in the silence in my heart – for that is where true heroic virtue could live – through Grace and no merit of my own – in the silence…

Right there, in the silence…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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