28 Feb Holy Face of Jesus
Today is the feast day of the Holy Face of Jesus.
By Donna Sue Berry
First published in Oremus Press February 2017, reprinted with kind permission
Jesus appeared to Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli on November 21, 1938. She was a sister of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception, Rome, Italy, and said, “See how I suffer, and how I am understood by so few souls. What ingratitude, even on the part of these who say they love Me. I have given My Heart as the perceptible object of My great love for men, and I give My Holy Face as the perceptible object of My grief for the sins of men, and I desire that it may be honoured by A SPECIAL FEAST ON THE TUESDAY IN QUINQUAGESIMA’S FEAST PROCEEDED BY A NOVENA, in the course of which all the faithful will make reparation with Me, in uniting them and sharing My grief.”
On January 7, 1942, Blessed Maria Pierina, had her first audience with His Holiness, Pius the XII and wrote,
“I exposed briefly to him the desire which Jesus had to see His Holy Face honoured and the necessity, in these sad times, to give souls with this devotion a precious means to sanctify the sorrow and so that the Faith may triumph in heart. The Holy Father listened to me with interest and said, “It is good, it is very good.” I spoke to him about the diffusion of the medal of the Holy Face, and he was content with this. I added: “Holy Father, if you permit, I remind you that I wrote to you last year for that which is the Feast of the Holy Face, the Tuesday or Quinquagesima
The Blessed Virgin reinforced the desire of her Son when she appeared to Mother Maria Pierina as well on April 7, 1943, and said, “I have at heart the Feast of the Holy Face of My Divine Son. Tell the Pope that I am very much desirous of it.”
The next day, Blessed Mother Maria Pierina, went back to the Vatican for a private audience with the Holy Father and returned from it very happy. The Holy Father had agreed to consider her request.
Several years earlier during the month of April 1909, Mgr. Rene France Renou, Archbishop of Tours, addressed this same request to His Holiness Pope Pius X, “In our Archdiocese, the devotion which the clergy and faithful show towards the Picture of the Holy Face is great. That is why, having learned that your Holiness recently granted the annual celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Face in Cambria, this humble servant eagerly asks that it may please Your Holiness to grant the same feast to the Archconfraternity of Tours, with the same contributions prescribed in the said rescript.”
The Holy Father Pope Pius X, granted the Archbishop of Tours his request on April 22, 1909, and on April 17, 1958, His Holiness Pope Pius XII confirmed the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on the Tuesday of Quinquagesima, for ALL THE DIOCESES AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS who would ask for the Indult from Rome in order to celebrate it.
The Holy Face Devotion and Sr. Mary of St. Peter
“My Name is everywhere blasphemed! There are even children who blaspheme!” These were the words of Jesus to Sister Mary of St. Peter as she knelt in prayer in her Carmelite Monastery in Tours, France that stormy August day in 1943. She had felt the justice of an angry God as she had never felt in her life and she had thrown herself spiritually at the foot of the cross with her forehead touching the ground. She began to ceaselessly offer our Saviour, Jesus Christ, to His Eternal Father, for the expiation of her sins and for the needs of Holy Church.
He then made her see that the frightful sin of ‘blasphemy’, of saying His name in vain or in other misuses, wounds His divine Heart more grievously than all other sins. He showed her that by blasphemy the sinner curses Him to His Face, attacks Him publicly, nullifies his redemption, and pronounces his own judgment and condemnation.
He made her understand that the act of blasphemy was like a poisoned arrow continually wounding His divine Heart. Then he gave to her a “Golden Arrow” which would have the power of wounding Him delightfully, and which would also heal those other wounds inflicted by the malice of sinners. This is the prayer that our Lord Himself dictated to Sr. Mary of St. Peter for the reparation of blasphemy against His Holy Name:
The Golden Arrow
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven, on earth and in the hells, by all the creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.
Jesus then let Sr. Mary of St. Peter know that he wanted this devotion spread everywhere! He also made her to understand that the Angels sing “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” without ceasing!
He instructed her that she must imitate the courage of St. Veronica, who bravely broke through the mob of His enemies to reach Him, and He now presented her to St. Veronica to be her Protectress and her model. Our Lord told her that by praying the Golden Arrow and making reparation for the sins of blasphemy that we render Him the same service as did the pious Veronica, and just as He looked with kindly eyes upon this holy woman during His passion, so would He regard with affection all those who make reparation. He wanted her to be particularly honored in her community and invited her to ask for whatever favor we wished through the service which St. Veronica rendered Him when she wiped His Holy Face, promising her that He would grant it.
Our Lord asked that this devotion be established in every diocese; that it be most zealously propagated; and granted a papal brief so that it will never perish.
This devotion is to have as its PURPOSE REPARATION FOR BLASPHEMY and REPARTION FOR THE PROFANATION OF SUNDAY (and Holy Days of Obligation). The Savior made her understand that His justice was greatly irritated against mankind particularly for its sins that directly outraged the Majesty of God – Communism, Atheism, cursing, and the desecration of Sundays and Holy Days. He said, “The executioners crucified Me on Friday, but Christians Crucify Me On Sunday!” (This was the first revelation from heaven concerning Communism. Our Lord said that this devotion would defeat it. It is, therefore, the sister-devotion to the Fatima devotion–necessary to save the world. There are many knowledgeable people who say that the present “collapse” of Communism is a deception, and that these devotions are needed now more than ever before.)
Besides “The Golden Arrow” prayer Jesus asked for other works of “reparation” to be promoted such as the “Litany of the Holy Face” and the Chaplet of the Holy Face. He asked that those who practice this devotion do so “…each day, in a spirit of REPARATION, saying one Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be To the Father, and the “Golden Arrow” prayer. On Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation ALL the prayers of reparation are to be said. He asked that members to refrain from work on Sundays themselves, and do what is in their power to see that others stop all unnecessary servile work on the holy days of the Lord. He also asked that members wear a cross of the Holy Face engraved with the words “Blessed be the Name of God” on the front and “Begone Satan!” on the back.
Our Lord also made many promises to us concerning the Work of Reparation – Devotion to His Holy Face.
PROMISES OF THE HOLY FACE
|1. By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.|
|2. By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners.|
|3. All those who honor My Face in a spirit of reparation will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica.|
|4. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the Seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.|
|5. Those who by words, prayers or writings defend My cause in the Work of Reparation, especially My priests, I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.|
|6. As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the King's effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.|
|7. Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.|
|8. They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.|
|9. 1 will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.|
Sister Mary of St. Peter passed away in the odor of sanctity on July 8, 1848. But the work of Reparation through Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus continued. Here’s a quick timeline of events:
1849: Pope Pius IX ordered public prayers be offered in all churches in Rome to implore God’s mercy on the Papa States due to revolution occurring at the time. Part of these public prayers was a three day exposition of the relic of St. Veronica’s veil (which is kept at the Vatican). On the third day the Lord’s face became very distinct and glowed with a soft light. The Canons of the Basilica ordered the bells rung at the sight of the miracle which attracted crowds of people. The miracle lasted for three hours and was attested to by an apostolic notary during the incident. It was also document in the daybook of the Vatican Basilica. Detailed copies of the image were made and touched to Veronica’s veil, to a relic of the true cross, and to the lance which pierced our Lord’s side.
1849-1876: Venerable Leon Dupont (friend of Sr. Mary of St. Peter) obtained one of these Holy Face relics and placed it in a position of honor in his parlor, keeping an oil lamp burning before it. Many miracles were brought about in his humble home by the devotion to the Holy Face.
1885: Pope Leo XIII established an Archconfraternity of the Holy Face for THE ENTIRE WORLD, and “3” Papal Briefs. He granted Indulgences, too.
1885-1897: St. Therese of Lisieux and family were registered members of the Archconfraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face, and St. Therese was so devoted to this work of reparation that she added it to the title of her name at the time of her clothing.
“St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face”
1910: Pope Saint Pius X approved a Mass of the Holy Face
1945: The Holy Face medal is approved by Pope Pius XII after another devotee, Sr. Maria Pierina, receives further revelations on the Holy Facing urging the medal to be made.
1958: Pope Pius XII declares the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday)
Since the middle of the 20th Century there has been a decline in the Devotion to the Holy Face, and this in a time when we need him more than ever. The evils of our day are increasing and souls are being lost as never before in the history of the world. Our Lady said at Fatima that many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray for them and to make reparation. Our Lord told Sr. Mary of St. Peter that the Devotion to His Holy Face, offered to the Eternal Father, would hold back the hand of justice. “…Oh if you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once, Admirable is the Name of God, in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy.”
Other Words of Jesus to Sr. Mary of St. Peter:
“If you knew how pleasing the sight of my Face is to My Father.”
“The treasure of My Holy Face in itself possesses such tremendous value that through It All the affairs of my household can readily be settled.”
“Every time one hears a curse he should repeat the two short inscriptions on each side of the cross, and he will thus overcome the evil one, and render glory to God.” Blessed be the Name of God! Begone Satan!
“Woe to those cities that will not make this Reparation!”
“Sinners are snatched from this world and they are swept into hell like the dust that is carried away by the fury of a tornado. Have pity on your brothers and pray for them!”
“Rejoice, My Daughter, because the hour approaches when the most beautiful work under the sun will be born.”
(Our Lord To Sister Mary of St. Peter about the devotion of His Holy Face.)
Veronica could not compete with the roaring, raucous mob,
Though no one heard her plea to move, she pushed with one last sob.
Compassion and persistence had begged her try again,
And just that quick she found herself before the man condemned.
It’s then he fell beneath the cross that forced him to the ground,
Which ripped his skin and tore his face; head pierced by thorny crown.
Blood mixing with the dirt and stones, they spit upon him too
This cursed man whom they reviled, as winds of hatred blew.
But quickly moving to his side she felt a sudden chill
The world around her disappeared and time itself stood still.
She slid her veil from off her head, and with it cupped his face
A touching act of mercy in response to heaven’s grace
Then as she pulled the veil away, a tear ran down her cheek,
His look of love made her cry out and made her knees grow weak.
His sacred eyes, His Holy Face, his body racked with pain,
A memory she’d not forget long after he was slain.
A soldier then wrenched her away into the screaming crowd.
She pushed and shoved her way through them, heart pounding with head bowed.
At last she found a quiet street, and knelt in shear relief.
The bloody veil clutched to her chest; she cried from fear and grief.
Then as she held the veil she saw the imprint of his face,
Majestic in Its blood and wounds; the source of every grace.
The image burned upon her soul, she found she could not speak,
But bowed in adoration as she kissed her Savior’s cheek.
Donna Sue Berry
January 18th, 2015
*Veronica, O Veronica,
Such a pious deed you’ve done!
Upon the road to Calvary, a crown you’ve surely won.*
O Lord Jesus Christ, in presenting ourselves before Your adorable Face,
to ask of You the graces of which we stand most in need, (here mention the grace or favor you desire)
we beseech You, above all, to give us
that interior disposition of never refusing at any time
to do what You require of us
by Your holy commandments
and Your divine inspirations.
O good Jesus, Who hast said:
“Ask and you shall receive,
Seek and you shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened to you,”
Give us, O Lord, that faith which obtains all,
or supply in us what may be deficient.
be merciful to us, O God,
and reject not our prayers when, amid our
afflictions, we call upon
Your Holy Name and seek with love and
confidence Your adorable Face.
For more information on the Holy Face and for one Free Chaplet of the Holy Face, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org