Last year I had not one, but three statues of St. Joseph in my house, old, broken, with decades of
different layers of flaking paint. I have restored countless numbers of such statues of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, Saints, Angels, even lambs and camels… large and small, in various distressed conditions; some nearly smashed to smithereens, seemingly beyond hope. Some of the worst had been through Hurricane Katrina. All the statues had one thing in common, they were dearly loved by someone who couldn’t bear to get rid of them.
The first one showed up on my doorstep twenty years ago. I am a watercolor artist, so when a friend asked me if I could “fix a statue” because I “painted,” I was confused but decided to give it a shot. The statue was in terrible shape –but it was me or the trash can. (Not a great choice.) So, I did some research on restoration and got to work. Statues have been showing up ever since and I repair them for one reason: I can’t bear to see them broken. For me, it’s a labor of love.
I’ve often wondered if this is how God looks at our souls; broken, disfigured, and in various states of decay. He looks on us with love and a desire to restore us to our original beauty. When we come back to His “doorstep,” which is the Church, and “turn back to His Face,” the Divine Artist restores His Image in us.
Our Lord revealed the work of reparation, which is devotion to the Holy Face, “the most beautiful work under the sun,” to Sr. Marie St. Pierre, a Carmelite nun. Jesus told her that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine Stamp, which, if applied to souls through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the image of God.
This is Sr. Marie St. Pierre’s beautiful prayer to reproduce the image of God in our souls, “I salute you! I adore you and I love you, Oh adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity! Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so that the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls. Amen.”
In fact, anytime we turn to His Face, in prayer, He is beautifying and restoring our souls… and that is THE “labor of love!”
Happy Feast of St. Joseph!