Let Your Face Shine On Your Servant

Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., looks on smiling, between Pope Benedict XVI, Paul Badde, and Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, on the occasion of the Pope’s pilgrimage to see the Holy Veil of Manoppello, Italy, in 2006.

Born on February 22, 1939, in Tübingen, Germany, Heinrich Pfeiffer had a passion for art history, philosophy, and theology. Answering God’s call, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1963, and was ordained a priest in 1969. As a teacher of art history and Christian iconography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he quickly established a highly respected reputation for his expertise in art history, and as a “sindonologist” (Shroud of Turin studies). However, he risked the ridicule and scorn of others when he announced the discovery of the “True Icon” otherwise known as the “Veronica Veil,” in the small mountain Village of Manoppello, Italy. His joy in finding the veil became a heavy cross, as time and time again, he would defend the authenticity of veil to “experts,” who shut their eyes to the evidence, often denouncing the ancient holy relic without ever bothering to go see it for themselves.

Fr. Heinrich, however, could not deny what his years of study, and his own eyes knew to be true: the gossamer-thin, transparent veil that, in light, revealed the Face of Jesus in a miraculous way, was believed to be the veil placed on the Face of Jesus in the tomb, and received His first breath at the Resurrection.

This incredible, steadfast priest entered into eternal life, on the night of November 26, 2021, in Berlin. Germany. May he gaze on God’s Face now for all eternity. Requiescat in pace, Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer.

The Holy Veil of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Living on Love - Stanzas 9-11- by St. Therese of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus
Living on Love, when Jesus is sleeping
Is rest to stormy seas. 
Oh! Lord, don't fear that I'll wake you.
I'm waiting in peace for Heaven's shore...
Faith will soon tear the veil.
My hope is to see you one day.
Charity swells and pushes my sail. 
I live on Love!...

Living on Love, O my Divine Master, 
is begging to spread your Fire
in the holy, sacred soul of your Priest.
May he be purer than the seraphim in Heaven!...
Ah! glorify your immortal Church!
Jesus, do not be deaf to my sighs. 
I, her child, sacrifice myself for her. 
I live on Love. 

Living on Love, is wiping your Face,
It's obtaining the pardon of sinners. 
O God of Love! may they return to your grace. 
And may they forever bless your Name
To efface it. I always want to sing:
"I adore and love your Sacred Name. 
I Live on Love!"

Keeping our Eyes on the Face of our Crucified King

Jesus, our Crucified King — to Him be glory and power forever and ever!

When Jesus is questioned by Pilate as to whether or not he is a king, Jesus answered him, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “you say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

(John 18:33B-37)

There is but one time in all four Gospels when Our Lord is addressed by His Holy Name, “Jesus.” It is surprising, but true. He was called “Rabbi,” or “Master” by his disciples. He was mockingly called “the King of the Jews” by Pilate and the soldiers at His Crucifixion, and even, with contempt, “Messiah” by the bad thief. As Jesus was dying a shameful death on the Cross, crucified between two criminals, the crowds were shouting, “If he is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” One of the thieves hanging with Him reviled, and mocked Jesus to His Holy Face. “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the one called “the Good Thief” or “St. Dismas,” is also known as a saint of the Holy Face, because although he too was suffering on a cross, St. Dismas acknowledged his own guilt and publicly defended Jesus, rebuking the thief who had blasphemed Him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” (Lk, 23:40-41)  What came next is a testament to heroic faith, because although the thief saw the suffering, humiliated, and disfigured Face of Jesus, he addressed Him, (the first time in the Gospels) by His Holy Name — Jesus — and he acknowledged Him as  King: “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” 

St. Dismas, calls Jesus, “Jeshu” recalling the successor of Moses — Joshua — who led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. St. Ambrose wrote that the Good Thief “prayed that the Lord would remember him when he reached His Kingdom, but the Lord responded, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ Life is being with Christ, because where Christ is, there is His Kingdom.” 

Though Dismas was on a cross himself, he kept his eyes on the Face of Jesus — and his suffering was then transformed into a supreme moment of grace and mercy for the Good Thief. By turning to the Holy Face, pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus, and accepting His kingship,  St. Dismas bears witness to the saving power of faith and devotion to the Face of  Christ. The Good Thief had stolen the Kingdom through sharing in the suffering of Christ and reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus, and so entered into the divine glory, welcomed by his Crucified King. 

“Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”

— Prayer for Feast of Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

O God, be gracious and bless us, and let your Face shed its light upon us. So will your ways be known upon earth, and all nations learn your saving help. (Psalm 67)

Novena to Christ the King

Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary, and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:

O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations.
We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things.
Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth.
Guard us we pray Most Faithful One.
Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment
Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.
Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.
We have deserved Your Just Judgment
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We trust in Your Great Mercy.
O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray;
May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth.

Amen.

Luminous With His Light

Young Elizabeth Catez

“The Word will imprint in your soul, as in a crystal, the image of His own beauty, so that you may be pure with His purity, luminous with His light.”  

Ten years before entering the Carmelite Convent in Dijon, France, eleven year-old Elizabeth Catez met the prioress on the afternoon of her First Holy Communion. What the prioress told her on that occasion left a deep impression in her soul; upon learning Elizabeth’s name, the prioress told her that her name meant “House of God.” She later wrote on the back of a holy card for Elizabeth: “Your blessed name hides a mystery, accomplished on this great day. Child, your heart is the House of God on earth, of the God of love.”

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)

Waiting to enter Carmel–St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Upon entering Carmel at the age of twenty-one, Elizabeth sought God’s Face within the temple of her own soul, in prayer and silence, with a growing desire to be united with Jesus, to share in His life and sufferings–to be transformed into His image–so that God the Father would find in her the image of His Son, in whom He was well-pleased. Elizabeth wrote, “God bends lovingly over this soul, His adopted daughter, who is so conformed to the image of His Son, the ‘first born among all creatures,’ and recognizes her as one of those whom He has ‘predestined, called, justified.’ And His Fatherly heart thrills as He thinks of consummating His work, that is of ‘glorifying her by bringing her into His kingdom, there to sing for ages unending’ the praise of His glory.”  She prayed that the Holy Spirit “create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery.”

“I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light.”~St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD

“We must become aware that God dwells within us and do everything with Him; then we are never commonplace, even when performing the most ordinary tasks.” 

This was the fruit of contemplation that St. Elizabeth of the Trinity wanted to share with everyone; the secret of transforming love hidden within our own hearts. By gazing steadfastly upon God, in faith and simplicity, the Word of God, Jesus Christ–as in the legend of St. Veronica’s Veil–will leave the imprint of His image on the veil of the soul. By her continual loving gaze at Him, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was transformed into His image. When she died at the young age of twenty-six, she had already fulfilled her mission in the Church as a ceaseless “Praise of Glory,” reflecting the luminous, pure light of the Holy Trinity.

“It is Your continual desire to associate Yourself with Your creatures…How can I better satisfy Your desire than by keeping myself simply and lovingly turned towards You, so that You can reflect Your own image in me, as the sun is reflected through pure crystal? …We will be glorified in the measure in which we will have been conformed to the image of His divine Son.  So, let us contemplate this adored Image, let us remain unceasingly under its radiance so that it may imprint itself on us.”

— St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD, Feast Day November 8.
St. Veronica with the Veil of the Holy Face, 1485, Maestro, Viennese

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