The compassionate face of Christ

Last night I had a strange dream in which I was playing “O Sacred Head surrounded,” a Lenten hymn, on an organ. I was playing it without sheet music.

I woke and the hymn went through my mind numerous times.

When I woke up I brought an image of the Head of Christ I have and placed it in my prayer corner. Before praying I listened to five different renditions of the hymn.


Gazing on the head of Christ, I am reminded of the compassion, the compassionate mercy of God for us. God wishes to be with us, born poor, living and dying poor.

Today just happens to be the feast of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, who saw the face of Christ in the poor, in the least of these.

But I think she could do this because she sought to place herself in the presence of God and, though she suffered a long dark night of the soul, I believe that sustained her.

Today I also watched the ABC program of the pope speaking with people from the margins in Mac Allan, Texas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is worth the 45 minutes. Here in English; here in Spanish

One young man asked him how to respond to the pain and suffer. Before he spoke about some practical responses, he first urged him – and all of us – to look to Jesus.

May we learn to gaze upon the Sacred Head, “surrounded by crown of piercing thorn,” and upon the faces of all those who suffer and respond with a love that is real, rooted in an encounter with Christ and directly with those who suffer.

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