Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

June 28, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103 which paints an incomprehensible God in the soft colors of kindness and mercy.

Face detail from Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo

Writers as early as the Genesis story have worked to put a face on God.

Artists have done the same.

And of course, the face is human because that is the only one we know.  In our first reading, we see the Lord reflecting, turning options over in his mind, keeping secrets, and allowing himself to be cajoled. It’s a very human conception of the Divine – because it’s the best we can do with our only human paint brush.

Reading today’s Genesis verses, I hear their counterpoint in the elegant hymn from Romans:

O the depth of the riches
of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments,
and untraceable His ways!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?”
“Who has first given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11: 33-36

How incalculably gracious of God to show us the Divine Heart in the human face and story of Jesus Christ.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation:
for by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Colossians 1 15-16

In Christ, we find the true human face of God’s Mercy. As we deepen in prayer and imitation of Jesus, that Face becomes visible in us.

With the psalmist, we offer praise and thanks for:

The Lord is kind and merciful,
dealing with us not  according to our sins,
    nor requiting us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is God’s kindness 
    toward those who live in holy awe.

Psalm 103: 10-11

Poetry: Creature of God – Jessica Powers

That God stands tall, incomprehensible,
infinite and immutable and free
I know. Yet more I marvel as His call
trickles and thunders down through space to me.

that from His far eternities He shouts
to me, one small inconsequence of day.
I kneel down in the vastness of His love,
cover myself with creaturehood and pray.

God likes me covered with my creaturehood
and with my limits spread across His face
He likes to see me lifting to his eyes
even the wretchedness that dropped his grace.

I make no guess what greatness took me in.
I only know, and relish it as good,
that I am gathered more to God’s embrace
the more I greet him through my creaturehood.

Music: The Face of God – Manoling Francisco

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