Urges us to pray before an icon of the Holy Face, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us
John the Baptist was astonished at the newness that Christ brought, says Pope Francis, since in Him came a true reversal. In all other religions it is man who sacrifices something to God, but in Christianity, it is God Who offers His Son in solidarity with sinners, for the salvation of humanity.
John manifests his astonishment and his consent to this newness brought by Jesus, through a meaningful expression that we repeat at each Mass: “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”
Francis said that we have to learn a lesson from John the Baptist in this respect: “not to assume that we already know Jesus, that we already know everything about Him.”
We cannot know everything about Him, the Holy Father assured, and invited us to “pause with the Gospel, perhaps even contemplating an icon of Christ, a ‘Holy face.'”
Let us contemplate with our eyes and yet more with our hearts; and let us allow ourselves to be instructed by the Holy Spirit, Who tells us inside: It is He! He is the Son of God made lamb, immolated out of love. He alone has been burdened, He alone has suffered, He alone has atoned for sin, the sin of each one of us, the sin of the world, and also my sins. All of them. He took them all upon Himself and took them away from us, so that we would finally be free, no longer slaves to evil. Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves, no, not slaves: children, children of God!
How to pray with icons: A brief guide