By: Nqobile Ngcobo

 

There is a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus that hangs in the church office. For a long time, each day I walked into the office, I would feel it staring at me and I would struggle to look back at it. I struggled so much because I always felt like Jesus was trying to say something, but I couldn’t quite figure out what that was.

I don’t know why I find it difficult to contemplate His Holy Face. Perhaps it’s because I struggle to look into the eyes of Jesus. I don’t think the struggle comes from looking at Him, but rather, seeing Him looking at me makes me question what He sees; question what He sees when looks at me.

This bugged me for a long time until I discovered that St. Therese of Lisieux, known as The Little Flower who reminded us that it’s the small things done with great love that really count, had a devotion to The Holy Face of Jesus. She once wrote “Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth.”

Discovering this made me wonder what she saw in His face that would inspire such great devotion. This question lingered in my mind until recently when I was struck by an image of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus, as depicted in the sixth Station of the Cross. This particular image was not focused on Christ’s image imprinted on the cloth, but rather of Veronica looking into the eyes of Jesus after wiping His face. It made me wonder what that moment must have been like. What did she see in His eyes? What did He see when He looked into hers? Did she feel the same as I felt when confronted with His face in the church office?

Looking at that image I finally began to realise that in that moment, something was imprinted in her soul. As she stretched out her hands and heart to a beaten Christ, Veronica was let into the depth of Christ’s love for us. Christ was “walking the sinner’s distance from the Father, and retrieving him there” (The Impact of God, Matthew, I. 1995). That was the depth of the love.

Now, as I look into His eyes, I see tenderness and great love. He gazes at me, as a husband would a bride. There is a patience in His eyes as He waits for me to understand this. Hands outstretched, He waits for the moment when I would look at Him and begin to see myself. He is in me, and I in Him. I am looking at what I was created to be. I am looking at love.

I finally understand the joy that St Therese of Lisiuex felt when she cried, “Jesus, my love. At last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love”.

My vocation is to love as He loved. To die to myself each day, and live as He lived. In doing so, I choose to be Veronica. In the midst of the sin, I choose to reach out and wipe the face of Jesus. To comfort Him as He humbles Himself.

As I look into His eyes…. I finally see that He came for me.

 

Nqobile


About the AuthorIMG-20160309-WA0009

Nqobile Ngcobo

I studied geology but I currently work in youth ministry. I love Jesus, coffee and pink roses. Above all, I’m just a catholic young woman trying to make it to heaven. I think St Therése and I will hang out there. I haven’t figured out how to adult yet, so until I do, I keep reminding myself that “Each woman who lives in light of eternity, can fulfill her vocation” – Edith Stein. Please pray for me, I’ll be praying for you.