Unmasking the Devil – The Dawn of Victory

Truth is painful, sometimes horribly painful, to the innocent as well as the guilty. It is felt in the tremendous suffering it has caused in the Body of Christ by scandal. But, in spite of the pain, an old saying comes to mind; “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” The time of telling truth is here, because where Jesus, the Truth, is present — evil is unmasked.

“Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Thee flee from before Thy Face!” (Psalm 67, and prayer of the Little Chaplet of the Holy Face)

As the evil in the Church is exposed, Satan’s ugly face is exposed with it.  To the faithful this suffering may feel like utter defeat, but in reality it is the dawn of victory.  Many seemingly unanswered prayers of the little, unknown, and powerless souls, who for years upon years have had no one to hear them but God, are now being answered. It can be extremely discouraging to pray in emptiness — to pray day after day, year after year, and see nothing change — but don’t stop praying! Never stop praying!  It is not futile, as the devil would like you to believe.

Each time you pray the Rosary — contemplating the Face of Jesus in the Gospels together with His Mother Mary — Jesus’s Face shines in the world!  Each time you pray the  Little Chaplet of the Holy Face,  “For the triumph of the Church and the downfall of its enemies,” you not only wipe the Face of Jesus, as did St. Veronica, in reparation for the blasphemy and sacrilege which has occurred, but at the same time the devil is driven away “like smoke is driven away!” When you pray the  St. Michael  prayer, his angelic voice rings through the heavens, “Who is like God?!” and Satan is cast down into hell!

St. Michael, Old St. Patrick’s New Orleans (photo: Patricia Enk)

Sr. Marie St. Pierre, the Discalced Carmelite nun who received revelations about devotion to the Holy Face, understood well the relationship between the Holy Face of Jesus and His Holy Name.  To do battle against the enemies of the Church, the weapon she chose was the Holy Name:

“May God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before His Holy Face!

May the thrice-holy Name of God overcome all their plans! 

May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements!

May the terrible Name of the God of Eternity stamp out all their Godlessness!”

These imprecations are often recited at the conclusion of the Little Chaplet of the Holy Face.

And because God wills not the death of a sinner, but that they be converted and live, she also prayed the words of Christ from the Cross:

“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

Yes, Christians must pray not only for those who have caused scandal but that “they be converted and live.” They themselves must also live the Beatitudes, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  To do this is to have the Face of Jesus Christ painted in our own souls so that we may give witness to Him by our lives.

Finally, “bless and do not curse.” Build up the wounded body of Christ with the greatest and most beautiful blessing of the Church:

“This is how they are to call down my name on the sons of Israel and I will bless them…

May the Lord bless and keep you; May He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; May He turn His Countenance towards you and grant you His peace!” (Numbers 6:22-27)

This is “the most beautiful work under the sun” — devotion to the Face of Christ.  It is the means by which we can unmask the devil and make the Face of God shine in this darkened world.

Holy Face of Jesus of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

 

A Holy Priest – Holiness Begets Holiness

Fr. Willie Doyle S.J. Military Chaplain for the 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers WWI

In the midst of the latest gut-wrenching scandal in the Church it is good to remember that there have been holy priests, who loved  Christ and His Church, and were willing to lay down their lives for their flock. Such rare men did not spring out of nowhere, they were formed by holy families, schools, and good seminaries. They continued to be forged, as gold in a furnace, into the image of Christ through their perseverance in prayer, penance, and suffering.

EWTN recently aired an inspiring documentary “Bravery Under Fire” about the life of Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., a self-sacrificial, holy priest who inspired many Saints who came after him.  Men who aspire to the priesthood would do well to learn something about his life because “Holiness Begets Holiness” …

If it is true that the goal of a Christian is not only to behold God’s Face one day in Heaven, but also to bring with us as many souls as possible in our lifetime, then Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., was a true Christian.  Holiness begets holiness in others. Both St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Josemaria Esciriva were each inspired by Fr. Doyle, a little-known Irish Jesuit priest, who in a powerful yet humble way guided each saint on the path to holiness. Fr. Willie was an Irish Military Chaplain, who was killed in action during one of the worst battles of World War I on August 16th, 1917, on the muddy, bloody battlefield of Ypres, after having run “all day hither and thither over the battlefield like an angel of mercy,” one hundred years ago. But his story is just beginning to come to come to light and inspire many, many other souls who are also seeking God’s Face.

Fr. Willie was beloved by all the men he served, ministering to exhausted soldiers of all faiths or none, with little or no sleep himself and at great personal sacrifice.  There was little food, and no relief, sometimes stretching many weeks.  He suffered along with the other soldiers from the cold, waist-deep mud that filled stagnant trenches, suffered gas-attacks and all the horrors of war.  Fr. Willie risked his own life at every moment, administering absolution, anointing with oil faces which were so smashed by shells that they were barely recognizable as men, and then burying the dead.  Once, though sick himself, he laid face down in the mud of a trench, in order that a sick doctor could get a little sleep by lying on Fr. Doyle’s back.  On the last day of his life he was seen running back and forth across the battlefields giving absolution to dying men, until finally being hit by a shell himself.

St. Teresa of Calcutta

But, surprisingly it wasn’t Fr. Doyle’s battlefield heroism that inspired Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who learned of this holy priest when she was a young nun, as recounted in the book about her life, Come Be My Light.  Nor were his great mortifications and ultimate self-sacrifice noted in the writings of St. Josemaria Escriva.  They were both inspired by something most people would consider inconsequential: the smallest sacrifice of giving up butter on his bread and sugar in his tea; sacrifices Fr. Doyle considered intolerable.

St. Josemaria Escriva

St. Josemaria wrote to a friend of an example that set him on the road to sainthood; known as “The Butter Battle.” “We were reading–you and I–the heroically ordinary life of that man of God. [Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J.] And we saw him fight whole months and years at breakfast time: today he won, tomorrow he was beaten…He [Fr. Doyle] noted: ‘Didn’t take butter…; did take butter!’ I have read quickly the life of Fr. Doyle: how well I understand the butter tragedy.” [For St. Josemaria, his own battle was the small sacrifice of not reading the newspapers.]

Fr. Doyle, who was born the same year as St. Therese of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus, was himself inspired by her “Little Way.” And he was determined to follow it, by “doing little things for God with great love”:

“Kneeling at the grave of the Little Flower, I gave myself into her hands to guide and to make me a saint.  I promised her to make it a rule of my whole life, every day without exception, to seek in all things my greater mortification, to give all and refuse nothing.  I have made this resolution with great confidence, because I realize how utterly it is beyond my strength; but I feel the Little Flower will get me the grace to keep it perfectly.”

St. Therese

He did not ask God for the courage to perform great acts of heroism, but instead begged earnestly for the grace to give up butter, sugar in his tea, salt and other little things. “How many deceive themselves,” Fr. Doyle wrote, “in thinking sanctity consists in the ‘holy follies’ of the saints! How many look upon holiness as something beyond their reach or capability, and think that it is to be found only in the performance of extraordinary actions.  Satisfied that they have not the strength for great austerities, the time for much prayer, or the courage for painful humiliations, they silence their conscience with the thought that great sanctity is not for them, that they have not been called to be saints.  With their eyes fixed on the heroic deeds of the few, they miss the daily little sacrifices God asks them to make; and while waiting for something great to prove their love, they lose the countless little opportunities of sanctification each day bears within its bosom.”

“Self-love,” wrote Fr. Doyle, “is our own greatest enemy.” Little things are of great importance to God.  It was through being “faithful to God in little things,” those small sacrifices, that he was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, which is “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Fr. Doyle knew better than anyone the value of making those small sacrifices of love that become mighty weapons in the hand of the Living God — and He will win the war!

With her great reverence for the thirst of Jesus on the Cross, and the desire to seek His Face everywhere, it is possible that Mother Teresa may have found inspiration when she read the following passage in Fr. Doyle’s diary:

“The greatest thirst of Jesus on the Cross was His thirst for souls.  He saw then the graces and inspirations He would give me to save souls for Him… In what way shall I correspond and console my Savior?  I went on to ________ and once more had an opportunity of a quiet prayer before the life-sized crucifix in the church which I love so much.  I could not remain at His feet but I climbed  up until both my arms were around his neck.  The figure seemed almost to live, and I think I loved Him then, for it was borne upon me how abandoned and suffering and broken-hearted He was.  It seemed to console Him when I kissed His eyes and pallid cheeks and swollen lips, and as I clung to Him I knew He has won the victory, and I gave Him all He asked.” –Fr. William Doyle, S.J. 

 

“To Raise the Fallen” compiled and edited by Patrick Kenny

Last year was the one-hundredth anniversary of Fr. Willie’s death.  There is a new book available, on the inspiring life of Fr. Doyle, his writing and war letters compiled by Patrick Kenny, To Raise the Fallen, which may be found by clicking (here). If you are interested in reading more about the life of Fr. Doyle be sure to visit this wonderful blog dedicated to to Fr. Doyle: Remembering Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J.  

Remember “Holiness begets Holiness”…and please pray for Priests!

Transfiguration Procession in Manoppello

“Lord, God of Hosts bring us back; let Your Face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Psalm 80:7) 

Banner bearing image of the Holy Veil draped in front of the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face, Il Volto Santo.
Photo: Paul BAdde/EWTN

There are three celebrations each year in Manopello, Italy to honor the relic Veil of the Holy Face: “Omnis Terra” in January, the Feast of the Holy Face in May to commemorate the arrival of the Holy Veil in Manoppello, and also on the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Paul Badde’s latest book tells in a compelling way, the amazing history of this miraculous veil, and the deep significance of the processions. The Human Face of God; The Holy Veil of Manoppello, will be soon released in October, but may be pre-ordered now on Amazon. Paul has sent these beautiful photos of the most recent Transfiguration evening procession — the lights may be seen through the transparent veil but be sure to look closely, and you will also see the image of the Holy Face!

The lights lining the streets for the evening Transfiguration Procession shine through the sheer Veil of the Holy Face being carried in its reliquary frame. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Holy Veil of Manoppello. Look closely in the center of the frame where a portion of the Holy Face may be seen.
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Evening Procession of the Holy Veil of Manoppello
Holy Face now more visible together with lights shining through the Veil near the bottom of the frame.
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“We process toward our heavenly home in the company of God.  Procession is the function of faith, which burns in our hearts and beams in our faces, and makes our voices tremulous with emotion as our ‘Lauda Sion’ bids defiance to an unbelieving world.” –Fr. Frederick W. Faber 

 

Transfigured

And He was Transfigured before them, and His Face shone like the sun… –Matthew 17:2

Transfiguration – Raphael

 

Please pray today for men and women in every vocation in life, that in seeking God’s Will, they may transfigured into the image of Christ, and become faithful witnesses to Him in the Church and in the world:

Good Father, in Christ Your Son You reveal to us Your love, You embrace us as Your children and You offer to us the possibility of discovering in Your Will the lines of our true face.

Father, help us to be holy as You are holy.  We pray You, never allow Your Church to lack holy ministers and apostles who, with the word and the sacraments, may open the way to the encounter with You. 

Merciful Father, give to lost humanity men and women who, through the witness of a life transfigured to the image of Your Son, may walk joyfully with their other brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland.

Our Father, with the voice of the Holy Spirit, and trusting in the maternal intercessions of Mary, we earnestly beseech You; send to your Church priests who will be courageous witnesses to Your infinite beauty.  Amen!

–Pope St. John Paul II, Prayer for Vocations

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

” O God, you have scattered the darkness with your light and have poured your light into our hearts so that we might look upon the radiant Face of Jesus Christ, –Nourish in us the desire to contemplate your beloved Son. –Lord, in your light may we see light.” –from Divine Office

Holy Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Her Children

Queen Beauty of Carmel

“How fair you are, O Virgin Mary! Your face is resplendent with grace.” — Carmelite Proper

Mary has many titles, each having a special significance and meaning.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel recalls the ancient beauty of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, the place where the prophet Elijah, zealous for the worship of the one, true, and living God, steadfastly sought the Face of God in silence and in prayer.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel personifies the”enclosed garden” created solely for God and watered by Him, containing all beauty, grace, and virtues. All mankind has been entrusted to her maternal heart; she gathers her children into the garden of Carmel to learn from her the way of perfection. The children of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are drawn by her — to “contemplate God in the human Face of Jesus” and follow in her footsteps which lead to fullness of prayer and communion with her Son. With docility to the Holy Spirit, Mary’s children seek to imitate their incomparable Mother in her pilgrimage of faith, hope in trials, and faithfulness in love, with trust in His mercy and purity of heart which will enable them to see the Father’s Face.

“The Beauty of Carmel has been given to them, they will see the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God.”– Carmelite Proper

Here are a few of her sainted Discalced Carmelite children and what they have learned about seeking God’s Face in prayer …

St. Teresa of Jesus: “He is always looking at you; can you not turn the eyes of your soul to look at Him?”

“He will gaze on you with beautiful, compassionate eyes, and will forget His own grief to solace yours, only because you went to comfort Him, and turned to look at Him.”

“Never set aside the Sacred Humanity of Christ…If we can, we should occupy ourselves in looking at Him who is looking at us; keep Him company; talk with Him; humble ourselves before Him; have our delight in Him…the Lord is within us and we should be there with Him.”

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross:  “The soul can only be satisfied with God’s Face.” To seek God’s Face is to seek Him in prayer, to look at Him is to take the time to contemplate Him, even in the darkness of pure faith. When we do this, St. John of the Cross tells us, God is doing great things! He shines His Face upon us, to restore by a “gentle touch” His image in our souls.  

“O my God, the more gently You touch, the more You are hidden in the purified souls of those who have made themselves aliens on earth, and whom You hide in the secret of Your Face.”

“Courage then, O soul most beautiful! You now know that your Beloved dwells hidden within your own breast. Endeavor therefore to be truly hidden with Him.”

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: “Your Face is my only wealth./ I ask for nothing more./ Hiding myself in it unceasingly,/ I will resemble You, Jesus/ Leave in me, the Divine Impress/ of Your features filled with sweetness.”

“O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.”

St. Elizabeth the Trinity: “Nothing shows forth the love which the Heart of God bears for us as does the Eucharist. It means union, consummation, He in us and we in Him. Is not that heaven on earth, heaven in faith, while we await the face to face vision for which we so yearn? Then, when His glory appears, we shall be satisfied when we see Him in His light. Do you not find that it rests the soul to think about that meeting with Him whom we love supremely? Then all else vanishes and we feel that already we are penetrating into the Mystery of God!

It is Your continual desire to associate yourself with your creatures…How can I better satisfy Your desire than by keeping myself 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 it’s radiance so that it may imprint itself on us.” 

St.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “Prayer is looking up into the face of the Eternal. We can do this only when the spirit is awake in it’s innermost depths, freed from all earthly occupations and pleasures that benumb it. being awake in body does not guarantee this consciousness, nor does rest required by nature interfere.”

“Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood, because he was obedient even to death of the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God…The eyes of the Crucified will gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you…What will your response be? ‘Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life.’ “Ave Crux, spes unica! Hail to the Cross our only hope! 

St. Teresa of the Andes: “Are you perhaps afraid to draw near him? Look at him, surrounded by little children. He caresses them, he presses them to his heart.  Look at him in the midst of his faithful flock, bearing the faithless lamb on his shoulders. Look at him in the tomb of Lazarus, And listen to what he says of the Magdalene: ‘Much has been forgiven her, because she has loved much.’ What do you discover in these flashes from the Gospel except a heart that is good, gentle, tender, compassionate; in other words, the heart of a God?”

+++

Flos Carmeli

Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden,
Splendor of heaven,
Child-bearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.

Mother so tender,
Whom no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.

Hail Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa of the Andes, professed Discalced Carmelite nun, born July 15,1900. She died April 20, 1920, just before her 20th birthday. Feast Day July 13

“Right now, try to get to know Jesus. Walk in His presence always. Look upon Him constantly. It is essential that you fall deeply in love with Him.  After Communion, ask Him for that love. By loving Him, you will learn to overcome and offer yourself.”  — St. Teresa of the Andes, OCD

Benedictines and the Holy Face

“Truly Seeking God” – Benedictines and the Face of Christ

“It is Your Face, O Lord, that I seek.” (Ps 26:8)

St. Benedict
St. Benedict, Feast Day July 11

In the Rule of his Order St. Benedict gives the key to discerning a true vocation in those seeking admittance to the Benedictine Order: “Let us examine whether the novice is truly seeking God.” (Ch. 58, Rule)  Since the Order’s inception, up to this day, the sons and daughters of St. Benedict have taken for their motto “Ora et Labora.” This “Prayer and Work” for many Benedictines is truly seeking the Face of God in the “prayer” of contemplation and the “work” of reparation to the Face of God covered with the blood, wounds, dust and spittle of  blasphemy–to stand, together with the Blessed Mother, before the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified.  If there is a common thread among the holy men and women of the Order, it is woven through the veil of the Face of Christ.

But, they will tell you in their own words…

St. Gertrude by Migul Cabrera 1763
St. Gertrude by Miguel Cabrera 1763

St. Gertrude (1256-1302), while making reparation to the Adorable Face of Jesus, wounded and disfigured, said to Him, “Tell me, O Lord, the remedy that can soothe the suffering of Thy Divine Face!” Jesus replied: “If anyone meditates upon my sufferings with tenderness and compassion, his heart will be to Me as a soothing balm for these wounds.” Jesus gave St. Gertrude this promise: “All those who meditate frequently on my Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall receive within them, through 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 throughout eternity.”

St. Mechtilde (1240-1299) once exclaimed to her sisters, “Let us all, full of holy desire, hasten to venerate the sweetest Countenance of Our Lord, which will in Heaven be our all–all that a glorified soul can desire!” 

Bl. Columba Marmion
Bl. Columba Marmion

Blessed Columba Marmion O.S.B.(1858-1923) writes that our relationship with God hinge upon two things; our walking in the truth of our nature as creatures, who remain always in humble adoration before our Creator and our dignity as children of God.  “Our adoption as children supposes that we act always as loving children towards Our Heavenly Father, constantly seeking His good pleasure: Seek His Face evermore!  This Facies Dei, Face of God, is the smile of His loving approbation.  If you always keep the truth of this twofold relation, you will be more and more fixed in truth and in peace.”  “Look your Heavenly Father in the Face, and show him your soul in truth,” Bl. Marmion counsels, “…do not forget that He is God the Infinite!  The love of the creature, in order to be true, must be the love of adoration; the spirit of fear of the Lord.  If you keep the eye of your soul fixed on God alone, you will receive many graces.”  “It is good sometimes, when alone with God, to stretch out our hands and look at Him in faith showing Him the depths of our soul that His eye may penetrate into those abysses that are hidden in the recesses of the heart.  Then our prayer is pure and very powerful, for the child gazes into the Father’s Face, seeking His Face, that is to say His good pleasure:  “Seek ye the Lord, seek His Face EVERMORE!”

Mother Marie des Douluers, Foundress of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified
Mother Marie des Douluers, Foundress of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified

Mother Marie des Douleurs (1902-1983) Foundress of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified emphasizes the relationship between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His Holy Face:  “We must discover on this Face the revelation of the secrets of His Heart.” She also points to the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to restore the image of God in our souls: “Devotion to the Holy Face is the particular aspect by which the Holy Spirit makes us learn all we need to know to become the saints that Jesus desires.  This devotion is of such central importance and so vital for us that we cannot live without it!”

Bl. Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.
Bl. Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.

Blessed Ildephonsus Cardinal Shuster, O.S.B.  (1880-1954) wrote, “The Face of Jesus in Heaven is the cause of joy to the angels, but on earth it is a token of pity for sinners.  We say to the Father Respice in faciem Christi tui, (Ps 83:10) (Look upon the Face of Thy Christ) but let us fix our own gaze on that Face of Jesus, lest we lose sight of it.  As the Eternal Father, when He beholds the Face of Jesus, is touched with compassion for the wretched children of Adam, so let us show a holy reverence for that Sacred Face and for those pure eyes that look on us so tenderly; let us take care that all our actions are worthy of the ineffable sanctity of that Divine regard.”

Last but not least, is the Servant of God, Ildebrando Gregori O.S.B. (1894-1985) founder of the women’s religious congregation the Benedictine Sisters of Reparation of the Holy Face. The devotion to the Holy Face was rooted and imprinted on his Congregation: “The title that sets you apart is Reparation of the Sacred Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the story of Jesus’ Passion that manifests itself, in a particular way, in the love which St. Benedict had for that Face. The Face of Jesus which was seen dripping blood, crowned with thorns, spat upon; His eyes were bruised, the broken eyebrows, broken lips. His Face, more beautiful than Paradise, appeared like the face of a leper. So Adorers of the Holy Face, Reparation of his wounds in the contemplation of prayer (Ora), in the service of the needy (Labora)… (adoration of the Face of Christ) is essential to make reparation, to create harmony with Christ Jesus who makes us love what the beloved loves, to want what He wants and rejecting what brings Him pain, injury, suffering.”

This apostle of devotion to the Face of Christ applied the Rule of St. Benedict to a work of   human and spiritual formation for the poorest and most abandoned children, victims of World War II, in whom he saw the suffering face of Jesus.  He later extended that work to include the elderly.  At the time he was Abbot General he met Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception, to whom Our Lord gave the mission of the propagation of the Holy Face Medal.  He became her Spiritual father and director until the time of her death in 1945. Padre Gregori shared with Bl. Mother de Micheli the love, devotion and deep desire to make reparation to the Face of Jesus and to propagate the Holy Face Medal throughout the world.

Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB
Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB

 

“I wish that the Lord bless you as He blessed the holy pious women, that He will fill you with His holy Love.  His Blessed Face is your ideal, and will piously torment you with the desire to give Him love and praise, this is the perfect reparation. “–Servant of God Ildebrando Gregori OSB

The Precious Blood on the Face of Christ

“Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN)

“You were not redeemed with corruptible things as of gold or silver… but with the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.” (1 Peter 1:18)

Mankind is suffering, it seems, as though on a scale never before seen on earth, by countless acts of humiliation and degradation of human beings by other human beings: child abuse, slavery, human trafficking, pornography, abortion, euthanasia and countless other evils. Human beings have been stripped of their God-given dignity and intrinsic worth, which is derived from having been made in the image and likeness of God. This suffering is signified by the Precious Blood covering the Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Precious blood indeed, for it is a terrible thing to fall under the wrath of God. Precious blood, shed but not lost, given up by God to be gathered, every drop, by God and held for eternity: the boundless treasure by which self-made slaves are freed from the penalties sin demanded of the strong arm of God. Who else but God could stay the power of God’s justice? Precious Blood ‘because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon your souls: and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul.'” (Leviticus 17:11)  “The Precious Blood is the key to the heavenly Paradise.”–from the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Precious Blood 

So, let us offer to the Father, who loves each soul as though they were His only Son, this Precious Blood on the Divine Face of Christ, in expiation and atonement for the sins against humanity.  Contemplate the bloodied sorrowful Face of Jesus, crucified and then risen. It is a source of light, hope, and means of salvation for mankind…and by contemplating His Face, the image and glory of the Father, through the Holy Spirit, the dignity of mankind may be restored.

Precious Blood of Jesus, Save us!

Prayer of St. Therese

Eternal Father, since thou hast given me for my inheritance the adorable Face of thy Divine Son, I offer that Face to thee, and beg thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the ingratitude of souls dedicated to thee, and to pardon all poor sinners. 

O Jesus, who in thy bitter Passion became “the most abject of men, ‘a man of sorrows’, I venerate thy Sacred Face whereon once there did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize thy infinite love and I am consumed with the desire to love thee and make thee loved by all men. The tears which well up abundantly in thy sacred eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value.

O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore thee to fix deep within me thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with thy love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.

+++

For the Healing of a Nation

“…and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.” (2 Chr. 7:4)

To the Sacred Heart

“For God so loved the world”

To the Sacred Heart of Jesus

by St. Therese of the Holy Face and the Child Jesus

At the Holy Sepulcher, Mary Magdalene,
Searching for her Jesus, stooped down in tears.
The angels wanted to console her sorrow,
But nothing could calm her grief.
Bright angels, it was not you
Whom this fervent soul came searching for.
She wanted to see the Lord of the Angels,
To take him in her arms, to carry him far away.

Close by the tomb, the last one to stay,
She had come well before dawn.
Her God also came, veiling his light.
Mary could not vanquish him in love!
Showing her at first his Blessed Face,
Soon just one word sprang from his Heart.
Whispering the sweet name of: Mary,
Jesus gave back her peace, her happiness.

O my God, one day, like Mary Magdalene,
I wanted to see you and come close to you.
I looked down over the immense plain
Where I sought the Master and King,
And I cried, seeing the pure wave,
The starry azure, the flower, and the bird:
“Bright nature, if I do not see God,
You are nothing to me but a vast tomb.

“I need a heart burning with tenderness,
Who will be my support forever,
Who loves everything in me, even my weakness…
And who never leaves me day or night. ”
I could find no creature
Who could always love me and never die.
I must have a God who takes on my nature
And becomes my brother and is able to suffer!

Your heard me, only Friend whom I love.
To ravish my heart, you became man.
You shed your blood, what a supreme mystery!..
And you still live for me on the Altar.
If I cannot see the brilliance of your Face
Or hear your sweet voice,
O my God, I can live by your grace,
I can rest on your Sacred Heart!

O Heart of Jesus, treasure of tenderness,
You Yourself are my happiness, my only hope.
You who knew how to charm my tender youth,
Stay near me till the last night.
Lord, to you alone I’ve given my life,
And all my desires are well-known to you.
It’s in your ever-infinite goodness
That I want to lose myself, O Heart of Jesus!

Ah! I know well, all our righteousness
Is worthless in your sight.
To give value to my sacrifices,
I want to cast them into your Divine Heart.
You did not find your angels without blemish.
In the midst of lightning you gave your law!…
I hide myself in your Sacred Heart, Jesus.
I do not fear, my virtue is You!…

To be able to gaze on your glory,
I know we have to pass through fire.
So I, for my purgatory,
Choose your burning love, O heart of my God!
On leaving this life, my exiled soul
Would like to make an act of pure love,
And then, flying away to Heaven, its Homeland,
Enter straightaway into your Heart.

“Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate your sorrows.”~St. Therese

The Eucharistic Veil and Mary

“Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,

What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny, 

That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,

With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen”

–Last line of Hymn “Adoro te devote” by St. Thomas Aquinas   

 

“While they were eating, He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’” (Mk 14)  

Mary, Mother of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mother of the Church, pray for us!

How few truly believe the words of Jesus when He said, “This is my Body.”  God wills that the glory of Jesus’s Face be veiled under the humble appearance of bread, so we will not fear to approach Him.  Acknowledging ourselves to be sinners, we repeat the words of the centurion as we come in faith to the altar, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…” (Mt. 8:8)

Because our faith is weak, St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe recommends an even better way to approach Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; he says that one should never fail to remember Mary’s presence. She who was conceived without sin in order to receive the Son of God into her womb, will help prepare us to receive Him. Although Mary’s eyes sought and contemplated the Holy Face of her son Jesus from His infancy to His Ascension, like us Mary would have to look upon the Eucharist with eyes of faith. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29) So, we should invoke Mary, who is “most blessed” and unite ourselves to her, and she will help us receive Him with love and devotion, to know Him better, adore Him more, to increase in us the virtues of faith, hope, and love, until the time when the Eucharistic Veil is lifted–then, together with Mary, Our Mother, we will behold the glory of His Holy Face forever in Heaven.

Cardinal Tagle elevating the Body of Christ at the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“I need nothing in this world in order to be happy. I only need to see Jesus in heaven, Whom I now see and adore on the altar with the eyes of faith.” – St. Dominic Savio

What greater sign of His Love than the bread and wine become His Body and Blood?