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Do not hide your face from me…

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Do not hide your face from me…

‘Do not hide your face from me for in you have I put my trust.’

This is the antiphon from Tuesday compline.  It is based on this excerpt from the psalm it accompanies (142):

Lord make haste and answer;

for my spirit fails within me.

Do not hide your face

lest I become like those in the grave.

In the morning let me know your love

for I put my trust in you.

Make me know the way I should walk:

to you I lift up my soul.  

It is pretty clear that the psalmist is imploring the Lord; desiring His presence and declaring his allegiance and confidence in Him.

It struck me however, that this antiphon could be turned round.  God could be saying to me or to you, ‘do not hide your face from me, for in you have I put my trust’.  This week, let’s just focus on that first part, ‘do not hide your face from me.

I am reminded of God calling Adam in the garden of Eden:

‘Where are you?’ he asked.

‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ 

Adam is not the only one.  When my twins were toddlers, I always knew when one had really walloped the other because when I came to investigate, I’d find him hiding his face under a cushion.

God wants nothing better than to share his divine life with us.  However, we too tend to hide our faces from the Lord, by distracting ourselves with other matters, being ‘too busy’ to pray and definitely too busy for an examination of conscience.  This is because somehow, at some level, we manage to forget that the Lord’s is the face of mercy; we forget that image of the Good Shepherd, searching tirelessly for the missing sheep.

It might be hard to turn again and face Love itself but what have we got to lose?  God already knows us through and through… and each day he seeks us, his lost sheep, urging us, ‘do not hide your face from me.

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