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Pontiff: Meditate on Christ’s face, learn from the faces of children

January 05, 2010

Devoting his homily on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God to “the face of God and the faces of men,” Pope Benedict recalled that several Old Testament passages that refer to God’s face found their “full manifestation” in Jesus Christ: “the face of God has taken a human face.”

Observing that the “first face that a child sees is his mother’s,” the Pope discussed how Byzanitine icons of the Virgin of Tenderness depict Christ’s face touching the Blessed Mother’s.

“Meditation on the mystery of the face of God and of man is a privileged path that leads to peace,” he continued. “The face[s] of children are like a reflection of God's vision of the world. Why, then, dampen their smiles?” he asked. “Why poison their hearts? Unfortunately the icon of the tender Mother of God has its tragic opposite in the disturbing images of so many children and their mothers who are at the mercy of wars and violence. ... faces hollowed out by hunger and sickness, faces disfigured by suffering and desperation.”

“The faces of these little innocents are a silent appeal to our sense of responsibility,” the Pontiff said as turned his reflections to the World Day of Peace, which the Church also commemorates on January 1. “In the face of their defenselessness, all the false justifications for war and violence collapse. We must simply turn to projects of peace, lay down arms of all kinds and together commit ourselves to building a world more worthy of mankind.”


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