selected from the annals of history unto our current day
'Say now, O my whole heart, say now to God, "I seek Thy face; Thy face, Lord, do I seek." Come now then, O Lord my God, teach Thou my heart when and how I may seek Thee, where and how I may find Thee?'
St. Anselm of Canterbury
On the Sunday Omnis terra (Second Sunday after Epiphany), St. Gertrude prepared herself, by a spiritual confession, to behold the Sacred Face of the Lord, as the faithful do on this day at Rome; and she represented this Face to herself as all disfigured by her sins, and cast herself at the feet of the Lord, to ask pardon for all her transgressions.
Then He lifted up His venerable Hand, and blessed her thus:
"I grant you, by the bowels of My mercy, the pardon and remission of all your sins; and that you may truly amend your life, I enjoin you this satisfaction -- that each day during this year you will perform some action in union with, and in memory of, the mercy by which I grant you this indulgence."
The Saints accepted the satisfaction with great thanksgiving; but fearing her frailty, she said: "But what shall I do, O Lord, if I should fail in this, through my negligence?" "Why should you fail in so easy a matter?" he replied; "for I will accept the least thing which you do with this intention, if it be only to lift a pebble or a straw from the ground, to utter a single word, to show kindness to any one, to say the Requiam aeternam for the faithful departed, or to pray for sinners or the just."
The Saint was exceedingly consoled by this, and began to pray for her particular friends, beseeching our Lord to grant them the same favour. He granted her petition, and said: "All who wish to share with you in the satisfaction I have imposed on you, will also receive a similar indulgence and remission of their sins."
And then, extending His sacred Hand, He gave her His benediction a second time. After this He said: "O, what abundant benedictions I will pour forth on him who returns to Me at the end of this year with works of charity exceeding the number of his sins!"
But the Saint exclaimed distrustfully: "How can this be, since the heart of man is so prone to evil, that scarcely an hour passes in which he does not sin in many ways?"
Our Lord replied: "Why should you think this so difficult, when there are many things that please Me, and there is nothing, however difficult, which My grace cannot accomplish."
"Lord," inquired Gertrude, "what will you give to him who accomplishes this in Thy strength?"
"I can give you no better answer than this," He replied, "That I will give, 'What eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.'" (1 Cor. ii. 9).
How happy will he be who has practiced this devotion for a year, or even a single month, since he may expect the same reward from the liberality of His God!
On the following day, as she prayed for those who communicated according to her advice, but could not approach the Sacrament of Penance, on account of the absence of their confessor, it appeared that our Lord clothed them with a white robe, as a sign of innocence, adorned with precious stones, which had the form and the scent of violets, as a type of the humility with which they had followed her advice. A rose-coloured mantle was also given to them, covered with flowers of gold, which signified the loving Passion of our Lord, in virtue of which they obtained a worthy preparation for Communion. "Let them be seated near me," said our Lord, "that it may be known that it is not by accident, but on purpose, that the first place is kept for them; because from all eternity it has been ordained that those who have followed your advice shall receive extraordinary favours from Me today; and those who have communicated without confessing and without asking your advice, resting on the goodness and grace of God, shall receive a rose-coloured mantle with gold flowers, and shall also be seated at the table of the Lord." Those who, through humility and compunction, had abstained from Communion, appeared as if standing before the table, and rejoicing in its delights.
Then the Lord, moved by His own mercy, blessed them with His Hand, saying these words:
"All those who meditate frequently on the vision of My Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall receive within them, by the virtue of My Humanity, a bright ray of My Divinity, which shall enlighten their inmost souls, so that they shall reflect the light of My countenance in a special manner in eternity."
Extracts from the Revelations to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, Carmelite of Tours (1816-1848 A.D.)
as related in 'The Golden Arrow' or 'The Autobiography and Revelations of Sister Mary of St. Peter on Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus'
'I seek another Veronica to soothe and adore my Holy Face, which has so few worshippers!'
Words of Our Lord
Made by Our Lord Jesus Christ to
Sr. Mary St. Peter in favor of
those who honor his most
"By my Holy Face you will work marvels."
"You will obtain from my Holy Face the salvation of a multitude of sinners."
"If you could comprehend how agreeable the sight of my Holy Face is to my Heavenly Father!"
"According to the care you take to repair my countenance disfigured by blasphemy, so shall I be animated in the same degree to transform your soul which has been disfigured by sin; I will imprint thereon my own image, and I will render it as beautiful as when it came forth from the baptismal font."
"My adorable Face is the seal of the Divinity, having the power to imprint itself on the souls of those who apply it to their persons."
"As in an earthly kingdom, the subjects can procure all they desire by being provided with a piece of money stamped with the effigy of the monarch, so also shall you be able to obtain all that you desire in the kingdom of heaven, on presenting the impress of my sacred humanity, which is my Holy Face."
The Work of Reparation through the Holy Face was suddenly revealed to her. She was transported in spirit to the road leading to Calvary.
"There," said she, "Our Lord gave me to behold in a most vivid manner, the pious Veronica, who, with her veil, wiped his adorable Face covered with spittle, dust, sweat and blood. My divine Saviour gave me to understand that the wicked by their blasphemy renew all the outrages once offered to his divine Face; these blasphemies, poured forth against the Divinity, like the vile spittle of the Jews, disfigure the Face of Our Lord, who offered himself as a victim for sinners.
Then he told me that I must imitate the zeal of the pious Veronica who so courageously passed through the crowd of rough soldiers to offer him some relief, and whom he gave me for my protectress and model. By endeavoring to offer reparation for blasphemy, we render Christ the same service as this heroic woman, and he looks upon those who act thus, with the same complaisancy as if they had performed this act during his Passion.
I observed that Our Lord had much love for this holy woman. For this reason he said that he desired to see her particularly honored in our monastery, and he invited me to ask any grace that we wished, in the name of the service rendered him by Veronica."
After relating the preceding facts, our carmelite adds:
"The effects of this communication in my soul were so marvelous, that I could not but admire the power and condescension of Our Lord. Before receiving this communication, I was in an abyss of sorrow; and after having partaken of this Bread of Life, I was as if resuscitated from death, and my soul was dilated with joy; I went to seek our reverend mother to inform her of what the Divine Master had just communicated to me concern ing his Holy Face, in regard to the Work of Reparation.
I said to her: "Reverend Mother, Our Lord promised to grant any grace asked for through the intercession of the pious Veronica. What shall I ask for you?" I felt interiorly urged to propose this question to our reverend mother, for Our Lord assured me that I would be heard; and I thought that if he granted the favor proposed, it would be a proof of the truth of the last communication I believed to have received.
Our mother replied: "If God desire that we should soothe his Divine Face, and if he be disposed to grant us a grace in consideration of the services of the pious Veronica, the favor which I desire to ask is, that he would have the goodness to veil the faces of his spouses, who will be exposed to the eyes of seculars, if the ground adjoining our garden be sold to strangers; therefore, intercede with him to obtain it for us; if he grant you this grace, your superiors will have a visible proof of the spirit which conducts you."
The mother superior, Mary of the Incarnation, was at that time occupied with the construction of the new monastery on the Rue des Ursulines. On one side of the enclosure, there was a piece of ground which commanded a view of the Carmelites garden, a great inconvenience, as can easily be understood for cloistered religious, who by their rule, should be sheltered from the curiosity of the world. . .
For the present, let us listen to her describing the manner in which she rendered homage to the Holy Face, from the time she received the first communication. "I experience a special protection from the pious Veronica, and I am continually occupied in the adoration of the august and most Holy Face of Our Saviour. I feel that my soul is in the hands of God, like an instrument of which he makes use at his own good pleasure. I felt urged during those days, to expose to Jesus that which our worthy archbishop had suggested to me concerning the work of Reparation for Blasphemy, when I had the privilege of speaking to him. Yesterday, after holy communion, I conjured Our Lord to deign to give me more light on this subject, saying to him: 'Thou knowest, my Lord and Saviour, that it is for Monseigneur I make this request, and in virtue of holy obedience.' But my Divine Saviour did not judge it necessary to answer me. He only concentrated the powers of my soul most profoundly in the contemplation of his adorable Face."
. . .
"Our Lord, having concentrated the powers of my soul in his Divine Heart, applied me to the contemplation of his adorable Face; he made me understand by internal rays of light, that this holy and august Face, offered to us for our adoration, is the mirror of the ineffable perfections comprised in the most Holy Name of God."
"It is impossible for me to express this intellectual view, unless in the words of the Apostle St. Paul, 'God is the head of his Christ.' (Cor. xi 3.) Which words I have since read; they struck me most forcibly, for I recognized in this thought what had been communicated to me supernaturally." *
. . .
* May there not be, in effect, a mysterious sense applicable to the devotion of the Holy Face in these words of the Apostle: Caput Christi Deus? (God is the head of his Christ.) May we not infer that the word, Caput, (head), signifies not only the authority God possesses over Jesus Christ considered as man, but that the head of the Saviour, taken in its literal signification, expresses in a particular manner the figure of the Divine Majesty?
What favors this interpretation, is the unity of idea contained in the passages in which these words are found, and the conclusion drawn by the Apostle. Jesus Christ is the head of mankind, as man, is the head of woman, and as God is the head of Jesus Christ. If it were here only a question of the power which God possesses over the humanity of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ over man, and man over woman, it would suffice to conclude, that woman ought to be submissive to man, man to Jesus Christ, even as Our Lord himself is submissive to his Father.
But St. Paul goes still further. He desires that man should respect Jesus Christ, his chief, his head, by uncovering his head when at prayer. That woman should veil her head when praying, for man is her chief. We observe here an idea of dignity attached to the word chief, or head, taken in its literal or physical sense: dignity of man as head of woman; dignity of Jesus Christ, the chief of mankind, dignity and majesty of God in the august head of Jesus Christ.
Still better, we may infer the dignity of the adorable head of our Lord from one of the following passages in which St. Paul says: "Man should not cover his head, being the image and glory of God."
True, the sacred text simply says, that man is the image and the glory of God, without particularly mentioning the head; but according to this, why forbid him to cover his head, if not be cause this image and glory reside principally in the head? Now, if the head of man be worthy of so much dignity, with how much more reason should we not consider the august head of Jesus Christ as the picture and the emblem of the Divine Majesty, and his Holy Face as the image and the glory of God?
The above is found at the end of Sr. St. Peter's writings. It reveals to us an extended horizon of information and light on the devotion to the most Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and is its own commendation.
. . .
"I understood that as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the visible object offered to our admiration to represent his immense love in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, likewise, in the Work of Reparation, the Face of Our Lord is the sensible object offered for the adoration of the associates, to repair the outrages of blasphemers who attack the Divinity, of which it is the figure, the mirror and the image. In virtue of this adorable Face, offered to the Eternal Father, we can appease his anger and obtain the conversion of blasphemers."
The co-relation existing between the devotion to the Sacred Heart and that of the Holy Face, could not have been better expressed. The Holy Face is a picture of the Divinity outraged by the opprobrium, of blasphemers, as the Sacred Heart is a picture of the immense love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
The sister was also favored with another light. "Our Lord," said she, "showed me that the Church, his Spouse, is his mystical body, and that religion is the face of this body; then he showed me this face as the butt of all the scoffs coming from the enemies of his Holy Name; and I saw that blasphemers and sectarians renew in this holy face, all the opprobrium of the Passion. I beheld, also, by this divine light, that the wicked, in uttering profane words and in blaspheming the Holy Name of God, spat in the Divine Face of Our Lord and covered it with filth; that all the blows aimed at the Church and at Religion by sectarians, were the renewal of the numberless buffets which our Divine Lord received in his Holy Face, and that these unfortunate wretches drew forth perspiration in drops of blood from his Divine Face, by thus maliciously destroying his works."
The word religion, employed here to signify the face of the mystic body of Jesus Christ, is easily explained. We may understand it to mean the doctrine of Jesus Christ, which teaches us what we are obliged to believe and practise, and the worship which we must render to God. Religion, in this sense of the word, is the face of the Church, because her doctrine renders visible the features by which we recognize her even as we distinguish and recognize a person by the features of his countenance. This face of the Church is, at the same time, the Face of Jesus Christ; for the Church can have but one head, which is Jesus Christ, and consequently but one face which is likewise that of Jesus. Finally, in a mystic sense, it can be said that the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that is the Christian religion, is as much his face as that of the Church, be cause it is by this doctrine that we recognize him as he is himself. Therefore the expression inspired to the sister, justifies itself, and we can but admire the nicety and depth of the word.
Nothing, therefore, could be more conform able to the spirit of Reparation which Our Lord proposes to himself. In our days, more than ever before, the face of his mystic body, the Church, is the butt of all the outrages of his enemies. Sectarians vomit forth their blasphemies into his face, as so much ignoble filth; they launch at her a thousand injurious invectives, even falsehoods which recall to mind the buffets received by the Saviour during his Passion; thus do they seek to destroy his labors; and after the lapse of centuries since the time he passed in the world, doing good, they exult in their endeavors to overthrow what he has established, and to counteract the fruits of the salvation brought to man. This face of the Church, also, stands in need of being consoled and comforted, and we are not surprised that Christ has repeated to his servant, the request already made in favor of his Spouse, placed like him on the road to Calvary.
"Then, at this sight," she continued, "our Lord Jesus Christ said to me: 'I seek for more Veronicas to console and adore my Divine Face, which has but few worshippers.' He made me understand anew, that all those who devoted themselves to this work of Reparation, would perform the same office as Veronica. After which he addressed to me the following consoling words: 'I give you my Holy Face as a recompense for all the services you have rendered me for the past two years; you have done but little, it is true, but your heart has conceived great designs; therefore, I give you this Face in presence of my Eternal Father, in virtue of the Holy Ghost, and in sight of the angels and saints; I present you this gift by the hands of my Holy Mother, and of St. Veronica, who will teach you how to honor it.' Our Lord continued: 'By this Face, you will perform prodigies.' She understood that this precious gift was not for herself alone, but that it was to become the distinctive symbol of the projected work.
"For," said she, "my Divine Master manifested his desire to see his Holy Face offered as the appropriate object of devotion to his children, the members of the Association of Reparation for Blasphemy, and he seemed to invite me to reveal his adorable Face under this aspect." She undoubtly felt, at the same time, the excellence of the grace accorded her by Our Lord. "It was, he told me, the greatest grace he could have given me after that of the sacraments, and for which he had prepared and cultivated the soil of my soul by the interior trials which I had suffered a short time previously. I also learned that he deputed St. Louis, king of France, protector of this Work of Reparation, because of his zeal for the glory of the Name of God; and for protectress, he designated the pious Veronica, in gratitude for the services rendered him on the road to Calvary."
"After having favored me with these remarkable revelations regarding the Reparation for blasphemy, he added: 'Those who do not now recognize in this, my work, close their eyes, and will not see.' "
For further devotional insights into the love of the Holy Face, see 'The Life of Sr. Mary of St. Peter, Carmelite of Tours', especially chapters 12 and 13.
Litany of the Holy Face
IN REPARATION FOR BLASPHEMIES,
AND TO IMPLORE OF GOD,
BY THE ADORABLE FACE OF HIS SON,
THE CONVERSION OF BLASPHEMERS.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Holy Virgin Mary, pray for us.
O adorable Face, which wast adored with profound respect by Mary and Joseph when they saw Thee for the first time,
RESPONSE: Have mercy on us. Gloria.
O adorable Face, which in the stable of Bethlehem didst ravish with joy the Angels, the Shepherds, and the Magi,
O adorable Face, which in the Temple didst transpierce with a dart of love the saintly old man Simeon and the prophetess Anna,
O adorable Face, which wast bathed in tears in Thy holy infancy,
O adorable Face, which, when Thou didst appear in the Temple at twelve years of age, didst fill with admiration the Doctors of the Law,
O adorable Face, white with purity and ruddy with charity,
O adorable Face, more beautiful than the sun, more lovely than the moon, more brilliant than the stars,
O adorable Face, fresher than the roses of spring, O adorable Face, more precious than gold, silver, and diamonds,
O adorable Face, whose charms were so ravishing and whose grace was so attractive,
O adorable Face, whose every feature was marked with nobility,
O adorable Face, contemplated by the Angels,
O adorable Face, sweet delectation of the Saints,
O adorable Face, masterpiece of the Holy Ghost, in which the Eternal Father is well pleased,
O adorable Face, delight of Mary and of Joseph,
O adorable Face, ineffable mirror of the Divine perfections,
O adorable Face, whose beauty is always ancient and always new,
O adorable Face, which appeasest the wrath of God,
O adorable Face, which makest the devils tremble, O adorable Face, treasure of graces and of blessings,
O adorable Face, exposed in the desert to the inclemencies of the weather,
O adorable Face, scorched with the heat of the sun and bathed with sweat in Thy journeys,
O adorable Face, whose expression was all divine,
O adorable Face, whose modesty and sweetness attracted both the just and sinners,
O adorable Face, which gavest a holy kiss to the little children, after having blessed them,
O adorable Face, troubled and weeping at the tomb of Lazarus,
O adorable Face, brilliant as the sun and radiant with glory on Mount Thabor,
O adorable Face, sorrowful at the sight of Jerusalem and shedding tears over that ungrateful city,
O adorable Face, bowed to the earth in the Garden of olives and covered with confusion for our sius,
O adorable Face, bathed in a bloody sweat,
O adorable Face, kissed by the traitor Judas,
O adorable Face, whose sanctity and majesty smote the soldiers with fear and cast them to the ground,
O adorable Face, struck by a vile servant, shamefully blindfolded, and profaned by the sacrilegious hands of Thine enemies,
O adorable Face, denied with spittle and bruised by so many buffets and blows,
O adorable Face, whose Divine look wounded the heart of Peter with a dart of sorrow and love,
O adorable Face, humbled for us at the tribunals of Jerusalem,
O adorable Face, which didst preserve thy serenity when Pilate pronounced the fatal sentence,
O adorable Face, covered with sweat and blood, and falling in the mire under the heavy weight of the Cross,
O adorable Face, worthy of all our respect, veneration, and worship,
O adorable Face, wiped with a veil by a pious woman, on the road to Calvary,
O adorable Face, raised on the instrument of most shameful punishment,
O adorable Face, whose brow was crowned with thorns,
O adorable Face, whose eyes were filled with tears of blood,
O adorable Face, whose mouth was drenched with gall and vinegar,
O adorable Face, whose hair and beard were plucked out by the executioners,
O adorable Face, which wast made like to that of a leper,
O adorable Face, whose incomparable beauty was obscured under the dreadful cloud of the sins of the world,
O adorable Face, covered with the sad shades of death,
O adorable Face, washed and anointed by Mary and the holy women, and wrapped in a shroud,
O adorable Face, inclosed in the sepulchre,
O adorable Face, all resplendent with glory and beauty on the day of the Resurrection,
O adorable Face, all dazzling with light at the moment of Thy Ascension,
O adorable Face, hidden in the Eucharist,
O adorable Face, which wilt appear at the end of time, in the clouds, with great power and majesty,
O adorable Face, which wilt cause sinners to tremble,
O adorable Face, which wilt fill the just with joy for all eternity,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, OLord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
I salute Thee, I adore Thee, and I love Thee, O Jesus, my Saviour, outraged anew by blasphemers, and I offer Thee, in the heart of Blessed Mary, as an incense and perfume of sweet odour, the homage of the Angels and of all the Saints, humbly beseeching Thee, by the virtue of Thy Holy Face, to repair and renew in me and in all men Thy image disfigured by sin. Amen.
I salute Thee, I adore Thee, and I love Thee, O adorable Face of Jesus, my Beloved, noble Seal of the Divinity; I apply myself to Thee with all the powers of my soul, and I most humbly beseech Thee to imprint in us all the features of Thy divine likeness. Amen.
Pater, Ave, Gloria.
By a Rescript dated January 27th, 1875, his Holiness Pope Pius IX. grants to all who recite, with a contrite heart, the above prayers in honour of the Holy Face of Jesus Christ an indulgence of a hundred days, for each time, applicable to the souls in Purgatory.
'The mouth of a humble man speaks the truth; but he who speaks against the truth is like the servant who struck the Lord on the face. (cf. Mark 14:65)'
St. Mark the Ascetic
Devotions and novenas bring new strength to the spiritual life.