Holy Face Novena 2019 – Day Two

+++The Holy Face Novena for 2019 – Sunday, February 24  to Monday, March 4.  The Feast of the Holy Face is then celebrated on “Shrove Tuesday” March, 5th, 2019 – The day before Ash Wednesday.In your charity, please include in your intentions: May God grant that the face of the Bride of Christ, the Church, may be restored to her original beauty.

Day 2:

image-13“All those who attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue  of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity.  This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance.” (Our Lord to St. Gertrude)

 Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayers and Consecration – Day 2

Daily Preparatory Prayer

(to be said each day as you console the Holy Face)

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Second Day

Psalm 51: 5-6

My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; What is evil in your sight I have done.

Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt you so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus.  Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another, and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity.  Amen.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to The Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations.  We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity.  May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever.  Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello photo: Paul Badde
Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
photo: Paul Badde

“O God, Who did constitute Your only begotten Son the Savior of mankind, and did command that He should be called JESUS; grant in Your kindness that our heart’s joy in Heaven may be the Face of Him Whose Holy Name we venerate on earth.” Amen. — Blessed Mother Pierina De Michelli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

 

 

 

Holy Face Novena 2019 – Day One

+++The Holy Face Novena for 2019 begins Sunday, February 24  to Monday, March 4.  The Feast of the Holy Face is then celebrated on “Shrove Tuesday” March, 5th, 2019 – The day before Ash Wednesday.  In your charity, please include in your intentions that the face of the Bride of Christ, the Church, may be restored to her original beauty.

“Whoever who gazes upon me already consoles me.” –Our Lord t Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli
image1
Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli known for her extraordinary devotion to The Holy Face of Jesus and The Holy Face Medal

The great “Missionary of the Holy Face,” Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Michele, was asked by Our Lord to have a Feast of the Holy Face, which was to be preceded by a novena. (The Feast was approved in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, who formally declared  the Feast of the Holy Face on “Shrove Tuesday” (The Tuesday which precedes Ash Wednesday.)

Bl. Mother Maria Pierina inspired her Daughters of the Immaculate Conception to make a novena with all the fervor of their hearts, uniting themselves to Jesus in grief and suffering, in the Garden of Gethsemane.  She exhorted her nuns to honor the Face of Jesus by giving Him “a kiss of love.”

 “Honor the Holy Face of our dear Jesus, sorrowful for the sins of men–ours–everyones–but specially for those who should be His intimate friends…Let us gaze profoundly at that Divine Face–speak heart to heart–and we will share His most bitter griefs–and He will say, ‘Console Me, you at least who say you love Me–in order to be all Mine.'”  –Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face” 

Day 1:

Daily Preparatory Prayer

(to be said each day as you console the Holy Face)

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

First Day

Church of St. Veronica, Lecco, Italy c. 1280

Psalm 51: 3-4

Have mercy on me, O God in your goodness, in your great tenderness wipe away my faults; wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.

O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners.  You are a merciful God, full of love and compassion.  Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always.  Mary, our mother, intercede for us.  Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to Our Almighty Father

Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with your love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace you, our only good.  Show us, O Lord our God, what you are to us.  Say to our souls, I am your salvation, speak so that we may hear.  Our hearts are before you; open our ears; let us hasten after your voice.  Hide not your Face from us, we beseech you, O Lord.  Open our hearts so that you may enter in.  Repair our ruined mansions, that you may dwell therein.  Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of your only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (St. Augustine)

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

St. Veronica, the model of reparation, with the sudarium veil of the Holy Face

“Behold, O God, our protector, and look upon the Face of Thy Christ!”

 

Blasphemy: Attacks against the Face of God and Reparation

Mocking of Christ by Bloch

Catholic News Agency recently reported an increasing number of acts of desecration of Catholic churches in France.  Tabernacles have been knocked down, the Eucharist scattered or destroyed, crosses torn down, altar cloths burnt…in other words: blasphemy.

When God became man at the Incarnation, He showed us His human face in Jesus Christ. Through the Face of Jesus we enter into relationship with God. He lets us know the hidden Face of the Father through His human Face, by the gift of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts. Blasphemy is rejecting the tender love God offers to mankind, then attacking and spitting in His Face.

Because of this relationship between God and man — reflected in His Name and Face — sins committed against Him cause pain and suffering to His Sacred Heart, and are reflected in the Face of Christ. The manifestation of our sins on His Countenance come about through blasphemy, atheism, disrespect of God in sacred things, the profanation of Sunday, hatred of God’s Church.  These crimes, committed by those who do not know God, pale in comparison to the most horrible and destructive blasphemy which has been committed by those who should be closest to the Heart of Jesus, within the Church, who have betrayed Him. All these indignities suffered by Our Lord in His Face represent the most serious sins, because they are against God Himself.

Left: The Holy Face of Manoppello / Right: Painting by Hans Holbein
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The damage done by our sins to our precious relationship with God, reflected in the Face of Jesus Christ, needs reparation. For this reason, devotion and reparation to the Holy Face and the Holy Name are fitting in order to make amends for what we have done to Him.  If you would like to console Jesus, prayers of reparation may be found in the “Prayer tab” above. In addition, The Holy Face Novena for 2019 will be from Sunday, February 24 to Monday, March 4.  The Feast of the Holy Face  is then celebrated on “Shrove Tuesday” March 5, 2019 – the day before Ash Wednesday. The Novena prayers will be posted each day of the Novena on this website, or if you would like to receive each day’s novena prayer by e-mail, just click the “Follow” button.

“For God so loved the world

“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful! I have given my HEART as the sensible object of my great LOVE to men and I give my FACE as the sensible object of my sorrow for the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special Feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.” –Words of Our Lord to  Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli  

 

 

 

 

A Miracle of Light

The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the temple is a feast of light, signifying by the lighting of the candles that Christ our radiant Light shines in the world.  Mary carried the Christ Child, the true Light of the World, to present Him in the Temple, but so few recognized Him, because the world had been eclipsed in darkness. It was only the prophetess Anna, “who spent night and day praying in the Temple,” and the aged Simeon, who longed to see the Messiah before  he died, who saw the light on the face of the Child Jesus and recognized their Lord.

The transparent veil on which, by a “miracle of light” the Face of Christ is visible. Hand of Cardinal Koch Photo: Paul Badde

The world today is also eclipsed in darkness, but a glimmer of light still shines, bringing hope and peace to souls. If you are prayerful, like Anna, if you long to see His Face, like Simeon the high priest, you too will recognize your Lord — in the Scripture, in the faces of those around you, and in the Most Holy Eucharist.

There is yet another “miracle of light,” a means by which the Face of Jesus shines: It is called the Veil of Manoppello.  It is a sign to a darkened world that God became man for our salvation.  As was true at the Presentation in the Temple, there are few that recognize this great sign for what it is: An *”Iconic Turn,” a gift from God to draw mankind back “to seek His Face.”

Paul Badde has written a wonderful article for Vatican Magazine, on the Omnis Terra celebration honoring the “miracle of light,” the Face of Christ on the Veil of Manoppello, and the humble men who recognized their Lord there. Thank you, Paul, for the permission to post this article, and thanks too, to Raymond Frost for your translation in English from the original German.

*”An Iconic turn…a new picture that is essentially true: with the sun in the center! –Paul Badde”

Veil of Manoppello, photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Omnis terra in Manoppello

A Copernican turn in the fog of Abruzzo

BY PAUL BADDE

“Omnis terra adorate, Deus, et psallat tibi”

(Let all the world adore you, O God and sing psalms to you).

Psalm 100

Cardinal Muller, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

On the feast day of St. Agnes the Virgin, martyred for Christ in the third century in Rome, there appeared in the New York Magazine a glossy cover story about the “gay church” by the avowed gay writer Andrew Sullivan.  That was to be expected sooner rather than later.  What was wholly unexpected was that, a day before, Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, arrived in Manoppello to come together with the archbishops Bruno Forte from Chieti-Vasto in Abruzzo and Salvatore Cordileone from San Francisco, California, to bless the city, the world and the Church with the face of Christ on his sudarium.

The Aaronic Blessing

In Hebrew, kohanim birkat םיִנֲהֹּכ תַּכְרִּב, by which God is entreated that his face might shine upon us, is the oldest recorded blessing of the whole entire Bible. But this blessing is not given to be received from the outstretched hands of the priests, but with the “true Icon “of the human face of God- from the hands of three bishops from Germany, Italy and America –

This was unheard of and has never been this way before. The American news outlet Catholic News Service CNS had beforehand pointed to the event and could not guess what was about to happen.

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

Because as Benedict XVI on September 1, 2006, as the first Pope after four hundred years for the first time who again had bent his knee and bowed to the true facecloth of Christ,

Nevertheless, the circumstances and much resistance had allowed him little more time before the precious icon than would any Japanese tourist be allowed.  Neither the local bishop nor the guardian of the shrine could not then dare to ask the Pontiff to bless the world with the true icon. So this Sunday it was no less than a theological turning point, as Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller with two chief shepherds from the Old and the New Worlds, blessed the city of Manoppello, the world and the church with the face of Christ.

Omnis Terra Procession of Pope Innocent II in 1208 carrying “the Veronica” Face of Christ (from “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia” manuscript 1350)

It was an unprecedented celebration dating back to 1208 when Pope Innocent III first made known in Rome the face of God to the Latin world of the West on the second Sunday after the feast of the apparition to the peoples (Epiphany), bearing in his hands the hitherto unknown Sanctissimo Sudarium in a solemn procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the nearby Hospital Church of Sancto Spirito in Sassia.

This Sunday bears the name “Omnis Terra” after the Latin entrance psalm for the day. This tradition was renewed again in the same churches three years ago by the archbishops Georg Gänswein and Edmond Farhat from Lebanon with pilgrims from Manoppello. It was in the “Year of Mercy ” which Pope Francis had proclaimed. And it borders on a miracle that the spark only three years later jumped to California where the brave archbishop, whose diocese adjoins the Silicon Valley and includes the headquarters of YouTube and Facebook, on the same evening sent the following statement on the internet:

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.

Archbishop Bruno Forte and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

I will also always be thankful for the opportunity to concelebrate the Mass with Cardinal Muller, along with the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, the next day – “Omnis terra” Sunday.  To participate with them in blessing the people with the Holy Face and then having the privilege to carry it in returning it to its place of safe keeping was a blessing I will never forget.

I encourage everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ and love for him to cultivate a devotion to this holy image he has left us – a picture of the first instant of the Resurrection.”

. – Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, California,

– Manoppello, on January 20, 2019 ”

L-R: Archbishop Bruno Forte, Cardinal Gerhard Muller holding the Veil of the Holy Face, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The American archbishop “Lionheart” from San Francisco and his Italian brother and Manoppello’s local bishop Bruno Forte, fellow celebrities at the side of the German cardinal, could not be more different from each other. The savvy Monsignor Forte had already fourteen years prior laconically stated that the enigmatic veil icon “sorrow and Light are brought so close together, as only love can do “. Since then – and especially after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI -numerous Cardinals have streamed here and are so very enthusiastic in their homage to the image, as the evangelist Matthew related of the biblical wise men from the East in front of the child in Bethlehem.

Kurt Cardinal Koch observes the transparency of the Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde
Cardinal Tagle delivers homily at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
Robert Cardinal Sarah (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

Most recently it was the Cardinals Kurt Koch from Switzerland, Robert Sarah from Africa and Antonio Tagle from Asia. Who knows the portrait, knows: the power of silence rests in it.   It has been scientifically proven for decades that it is not painted and contains no imaging color or blood traces. Nevertheless, there is a decades long conspiracy of professors and experts (who have for the most part never seen it) against the spiderwebs sheath made of mussel silk, since it was first identified in the seventies of the last century by the Capuchin Domenico da Cese as the hagion soudarion, which the evangelist John prominently mentioned next to other cloths in the empty tomb of Christ in his report on the resurrection of Christ from the dead.  The dispute should be no surprise. Already in the first millennium the Soudarion led to the extremely violent wars and dislocations of the “iconoclast controversy”. In fact, the issue raised today is not about images but about the question of God: “You, who do you think I am?”.  The spectacular response of Cardinal Muller, is even more of a breakthrough than the visit of Pope Benedict to Manoppello, in which one of the most prominent Church theologians at the end of the Gutenberg Age (dominated by Dr. Luther’s maxim “Sola scriptura”) in front of this great icon and mother of the images not made by human hands, but still, so to speak,  before the book of evidence has been closed, and without even speaking in his homily of the day’s Gospel (the wedding of Cana), but said the following:  link to homily

“Il Volto Santo” the Holy Face of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde

Thus the words of Cardinal Muller’s sermon. Even more telling, however, were the photos taken at the end of the solemn pontifical Mass with his brothers in their common blessing gesture with the facecloth.. It was a Copernican revolution, and yes, it really was a breakthrough that in its meaning must be compared with the book “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” of Nicolaus Copernicus of 1543. The analogy is neither reckless nor indiscriminate. A lot of the facts of Copernicus were wrong and almost all the details.  Nevertheless, we honor him for being one who has drawn a new picture that is essentially true: with the sun in the center!

Archbishop Bruno Forte (L), Cardinal Gerhard Muller (Center), Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (R) Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

And now the three bishops raised like hardly ever before in the liturgy this new blessing with the human face –God’s return of the visible Jesus Christ to the center of the world and the Church– and made it clearer than ever that the Creator of the Heaven and the earth has not become a book at the end of days, but man, and with it also picture. It was an unprecedented translation of all theology into the new and universal imagery that has become the digital revolution of the world in its entirety

“Iconic Turn” as a new means of communication.

Now it was suddenly as if the time of the eclipse haunting the earth, the world and the church finally ends in the misty Abruzzo with the look into the merciful eyes of Christ by the three shepherds

Venice, Illustration for the Divine Comedy of Dante, 13th Century”

There was no further dispute on the overwhelming, sometimes almost suffocating, problems and capital sins that the Church of our day poses, but with the holy facecloth Christ has steered a whole new look towards his face, as the head of the church and the face of love, “that moves the sun and the other stars” as Dante, the prince among poets, still formulated at the goal of the cosmic pilgrimage in his Divine Comedy. Ω

Miraculous Veil of the”Holy Face of Manoppello” in Italy Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN
The Holy Sudarium: the Veil of Manoppello, Italy Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Blessing the World With The Holy Face

(Update with new photos, thanks to Antonio Bini, Communications Director of the Shrine, Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy.) 

Mass for Omnis Terra – Archbishop Bruno Forte (L) , Cardinal Gerhard Muller (Center), and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (R) Photo: Antonio Bini

If video above does not play — Click here to view video of Omnis Terra blessing in Manoppello

Today, in a small corner of the earth, a mountain village in Manoppello, Italy, the faithful gathered to represent “All the Earth” — to rejoice in God, who has revealed His Glory to all mankind — by the celebration of the Solemn Feast of Omnis Terra.  “Omnis Terra” which is Latin meaning “All the Earth” is celebrated on the second Sunday following Epiphany.

Blessing the world and the kneeling faithful in the Sanctuary with the relic veil of the Holy Face are: Archbishop Bruno Forte, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.  Photo: Antonio Bini

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Germany, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, together with the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, USA, and the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy presided at the Holy Mass. At the conclusion of the Mass Cardinal Muller read the prayer of Pope Benedict XVI in honor of the Holy Face of Manoppello, then the Cardinal, together with the two Archbishops blessed the world with the sacred Veil of the Holy Face.  The Holy Veil of the Face of Christ has been called by St. Padre Pio  “The greatest relic of the Church.”  Mankind’s greatest blessing is to have the Face of God turned towards them:

Holy Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

“May the LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let His face shine upon
you, and be merciful to you!
The LORD turn His Countenance towards you and
give you peace!“–Num 6:22-27

The event was live-streamed on YouTube from the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy, with commentary in both English and German and may be viewed again by clicking the video above.

 

Antonio Bini presents book, in German,on the holy life of the Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, to Cardinal Muller. The book was written by Sr. Petra-Maria. Archbishop Cordileone, and Rector of the Sanctuary Basilica Padre Carmine Cucinelli look on.  Photo: Francesca Bini  (Read about Padre Domenico here.).

Omnis Terra Homily by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller may be read below:

Manoppello, 20 January 2019

In Jesus’ farewell speeches before his Passion, Jesus provides the Apostle Philip with an answer that brings us to the very center of our Faith. After Jesus had said: “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” (John 14:7), Philip wonders how one might be able to see God, “who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). Jesus answers him: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

When we are thus face to face with Jesus, person to person, and gaze upon his human face, then we see in Jesus’ eyes the benevolent, discerning, judging and saving power of love, which is God in the unity and communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We see Jesus with our physical eyes and recognize his divine nature and power with the “the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened,” (Ephesians 1:18). In the divine person of the Son of the Father, Christ’s eternal divine nature and his adopted human nature are united. Only through Jesus do we come to the Father, because He alone bridges the infinite distance of the creature to the Creator. “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) He is the universal, divine plan of salvation made flesh, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus, in his human nature, is “the way” by which “the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) were brought into this world.

The Apostle Paul calls the human nature of Christ, through which we recognize God’s glory and from which we are fulfilled, the “likeness of God” – imago Dei (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is not an image of God conceived in a finite mind and made by man.

Even before the incarnation of the Word, the Son in the Triune God is the image of the being of God the Father, in the Greek words of the New Testament: “the character of his Hypostasis” (Heb 1:1). Christ is true God of true God. In the darkness of sin, which “blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), God has let his light shine in the hearts of believers, “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

He, who through his word brought forth all creation, becomes a man like us, “tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), which is what He came to deliver us from. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. (Hebrews 2:14f).

We recognize this when we look Jesus in the eye and offer ourselves to His look at us without malice. God surrounds us with his infinite mercy and in his love he goes so far as not only to die for us, but to die our death. He bore the debt of our sins until death on the cross and even took them to his grave. Death no longer has any power over Jesus and us, who form one body with Christ. And this is the creed of the Church, which Paul delivered to the Corinthians as he himself received it: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve”. (1 Cor 15:3-5).

The Gospel of John tells of the discovery of the empty tomb. When Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, she saw that the stone in front of the burial chamber had been taken away. And because she feared that the body had been taken away, she brought Peter and the other disciple there. Peter went first into the tomb and “he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself” (John 20:6f). Peter, then, is the first witness of the empty tomb. In the apparitions of the Risen One, it is Jesus who gives him and the other apostles proof that he lives with God and that he has returned to his Father. But he has not discarded his human nature, rather living with his glorified body forever as the Word made flesh in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the head of the body that is the Church. Through Him, as children of God, we have access to the Father and may expect the inheritance of eternal life. And the exalted Lord remains with us with his Gospels and encounters us in the sacraments of his grace. Especially in the Most Holy Eucharist he takes us into the mystery of his dedication to the Father. In Holy Communion we receive communion with Him in His flesh and blood as food and drink for eternal life.

St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine, in their comments on the Gospel of John, asked themselves why the evangelist, when discovering the empty tomb, described these trivialities, such as the linen bandages and the folded sudarium, in such detail. They were convinced, however, that the evangelist would not communicate anything in a manner so intricate if it were unimportant for our Faith.

When Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, the stone is rolled away from the outside of the burial cave. Jesus calls him out. When the deceased comes out, his feet and hands are still wrapped in bandages and his face is covered with a sudarium. But everything must be removed from him, because he cannot free himself from the bandages of death (John 11:44).

Jesus, who says of himself, “I am the life (John 14:6), rises from the dead with the power of God Himself. The stone before the tomb was taken away before the women came to the tomb. Jesus does not need to be freed from the bonds of death, because he has overcome his and our death by his own divine power.

St. Thomas Aquinas recognizes in his commentary on John a reference to the church in the relationship of the many bandages to the one sudarium “which had been on his head” (John 20:7), rolled up in a place by itself. In the Godhead united with his human nature, Christ is the head of the Church, for “the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

In Jesus Christ the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior has appeared and shone in this world (Titus 3:3f). In his face he looks at us and wants us to respond with the love within our heart. By believing we do not adopt a theory to explain the world. The Gospels are not abstract ideas or values clothed in beautiful stories. God really became man and stays with us. Jesus is an historic person. His resurrection from the dead really did happen. He has not risen into Faith, but is recognized in our faith as the living Christ, the Son at the right hand of the Father. For no one can say, “Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

If the historical, sacramental and ecclesial presence of the Son made man is decisive for our salvation, it is not unimportant that we also seek out His historical traces. They save us from the danger of a Gnostic and idealistic evaporation of God’s human presence in this world. Without entering into scientific debates, the encounter with Christ in the imprint of His face on the Manoppello Sudarium seems to me to be of great importance for the piety of today’s Christian. The uneven history of its rediscovery has come to a good end, arriving at the point of deep veneration and adoration of Jesus Christ, who as a man is the image of God, his Father and our Father in heaven.

Much remains hidden from the wise and prudent, that God however does reveal to lesser minds in the humility of Faith. Gazing into the most holy face of Jesus, as it was traced into the sudarium on his head, should give us new strength that our life may hold true in the eyes of God. For we believe and know that we will one day see God through and in Christ, the image of God, “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

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Below is the testimony, given to Make Hickson of LifeSite News, of the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco on the occasion of his visit to the Holy Face of Manoppello: 

Antonio Bini and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Photo: Francesca Bini

“My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.

I will also always be thankful for the opportunity to concelebrate the Mass with Cardinal Muller, along with the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, the next day – “Omnis Terra” Sunday.  To participate with them in blessing the people with the Holy Face and then having the privilege to carry it in returning it to its place of safe keeping was a blessing I will never forget.

I encourage everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ and love for him to cultivate a devotion to this holy image he has left us – a picture of the first instant of the Resurrection.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Archbishop Cordileone enjoying the hospitality of Padre Carmine Cucinelli, the Rector of the Sanctuary Basilica, and his fellow Caupuchins.  Photo: Antonio Bini 
Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Sr. Blandina Pachalis Schloemer

 

Omnis Terra! – Sing With Joy All the Earth!

Detail from The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)

Omnis Terra, Latin for “All the Earth, ” is the name given to the Second Sunday in Ordinary time, when the Gospel of the Wedding at Cana is read.  In the midst of the wedding feast, Mary whispers to her son Jesus, “They have no wine.” At Mary’s words, Jesus then performed his first miracle: “the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee, and so revealed His glory, and His disciples began to believe in Him.” (John 2: 1-11)  The revelation of His glory is the cause for all the earth rejoicing, giving praise to His Name at the wedding feast of the Lamb!

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI gazes on the Holy Face of Manoppello photo: Paul Badde

God has a face and a name. The expression “name of God” means God as He Who is present among men. “His name,” Pope Benedict XVI says, “is the concrete sign of His Existence.” When we praise His Name, we are rejoicing in the splendor of His Face.  Benedict wrote:

 “To rejoice in the splendor of His Face means penetrating the mystery of His Name  made known to us in Jesus, understanding something of His Interior life and of His will, so that we can live according to His plan for humanity. Jesus lets us know the hidden Face of the Father through His human Face; by the gift of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.”

That is certainly a reason for all the earth to rejoice, as though at a wedding feast!

Omnis Terra Procession of Pope Innocent II in 1208 carrying “the Veronica” Face of Christ (from “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia” manuscript 1350)

The “Omnis Terra” (All the Earth) procession in honor of the Holy Face  had its beginning in 1208 when Pope Innocent III processed with the Veil of the Holy Face  from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to Spirito Santo church and hospital, giving alms to the poor and the sick along the way.  Our Lord’s Holy Face and Holy Name are also honored by a feast and procession at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy  on this day, the Second Sunday after Epiphany, inviting “All the Earth” to join them in celebrating Our Lord, who has “revealed His glory” so that we too may believe.

(For more information on Omnis Terra in Manoppello for 2019 see Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot here.) This years celebrants for the Solemn Mass at the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face will be Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, and Archbishop Bruno Forte.  To see the Omnis Terra Procession Live Streaming on Youtube on January 20, which may also be viewed anytime after the event – click (here)

detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”

Let all the earth worship and praise You, O God; may it sing in praise of Your Name, O Most High. Shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth; sing a psalm in honor of His Name, praise Him with magnificence!  

–Omnis Terra Introit

Holy Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

 

Who Does the Baby Look Like?

Adoration of the Magi – Gentile da Fabiano 1423

When a baby has just been born, the family and friends gather around to welcome the little one, and the first question that is almost always asked is–who does the baby look like? No doubt it was the same with the infant Jesus. Who did He most resemble? The answer, of course, is His Mother. Paradoxically, He resembles her, because she most resembles Him.

God chose Mary from all eternity to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word. She was created pure and perfect–a spotless image of God in her soul–a worthy Mother for the Son of God. Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, took His human nature from her, while remaining one in the  Trinity.  Pope St. John Paul II reflected upon this mystery of the Incarnation:

“It is the Father’s plan to unite all things in Christ, then the whole of the universe is in some way touched by divine favor with which the Father looks upon Mary and makes her the Mother of His Son.”

As the moon reflects the light of the sun, we can see in Mary’s face the reflection of the face of her Son. If we remain close to Mary, the Mother of God, following her example in humility and virtue, perhaps the face of Jesus will also be recognized in us.

“La Buona Pastora” – “The Good Shepherdess” above the shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, leading us to her Son. Photo: Paul Badde

“Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us to have ‘hands innocent and a heart pure,’ hands illumined by the truth of love and hearts enraptured by divine beauty, that transformed by the encounter with Christ, we may gift ourselves to the poor and the suffering, whose faces reflect the hidden presence of your Son Jesus. Amen.” — Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt from his prayer in honor of his pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello.)

“Our Lady, in whose face–more than any other creature–we can recognize the features of the Incarnate Word.” –Pope Benedict XVI

by Raffaella Sanzio

“O pure and holy Virgin, how can I find words to praise your beauty? The highest heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in your womb.

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” –Divine Office

+++

+Peace and have a Blessed New Year!

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.” (Num 6: 22-27)

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!!!

Come, let us adore Him!

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)

Adoration of the Shepherds – Gerard van Honthorst 1622

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

 

As those who see light are in the light sharing its brilliance, so those who see God are in God sharing his glory, and the glory gives them life.  To see God is to share in life.” ~St. Ireneaus

“In Thee God will manifest the splendor of His presence, for the whole world to see”~Baruch 4

Merry Christmas! May His Face shine upon you and your loved ones, today and always!

Mid-Advent: Longing to See His Face

During Advent the Church celebrates the longing to see God’s Face, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a Triduum (three days of prayer beginning on December 15) and a Feast (on December 18th)–It is called The Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Longing to See His Face.  (a bit of the history may be found here.) The prayer may also be continued  until Christmas.

The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Prayer for the Triduum and Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Longing to See His Face

“Mary, your life with Jesus was one of the purest, most fervent, most perfect emotions of longing and most eager expectation of the Birth of the Divine Child! How great must have been that longing!  You were longing to see the Face of God and to be happy in the vision.  You were soon really to see the Face of God, the created image of divine perfection, the sight of which rejoices heaven and earth, from which all being derive life and joy; the Face whose features enraptured God from all eternity, the Face for which all ages expectantly yearned.  You were to see this Face unveiled, in all the beauty and grace as the face of your own child. 

Most just indeed it is, O Holy Mother of God, that we should unite in that ardent desire which you had to see Him, who had been concealed for nine months in your chaste womb; to know the features of this Son of the heavenly Father, who is also your own; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which will give glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will.  Yes, dear Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to satisfy your desires and ours.  Make us re-double our attention to the great mystery; complete our preparation by your powerful prayers for us, so that when the solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our hearts.  Amen.” (Prayer by Rev. Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D.)

Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!

Roses in Winter

Photo: Lauren Mann

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child…” (Rev. 12) 

This story begins in a very dark place.  It was time of sin, suffering, and death, when the Aztecs sacrificed human beings to an idol that required human blood. In other words, a time not so different from our own, when millions of unborn children are sacrificed on the altar of “choice” to the idol of death. It was in this dark period of history, in the sixteenth century, that the Blessed Virgin Mary intervened for humanity. She was sent by God to defeat the culture of death at that time in Mexico. Like the “Woman” in Revelation, “clothed in the sun, with moon at her feet,” on December 9, 1531, she appeared to a poor man of no importance or influence, one of Mary’s “little ones,” Juan Diego. The beautiful young woman, whose clothing indicated that she was pregnant, called him by name as a mother would, “Juanito” – “little Juan.”   She spoke to Juan:

Virgin Mother Our Lady of Guadalupe “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.” (Rev. 11:19)

“I want you to know for certain, my dear son, that I am the perfect and always Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God from Whom all life comes, the Lord of all things, Creator of heaven and earth.”  

The Blessed Mother then requested that Juan Diego go to his bishop and ask that a church be built in her honor, in which she would show —

“all my love, compassion and protection. I am your Mother full of mercy and love for you and all those who love me, trust in me, and have recourse to me. I will hear their complaints, and I will comfort their affliction, and their sufferings.”   

However, when Juan repeated her words to Bishop Zumarraga, the bishop, fearing an illusion, was skeptical, and sent Juan away. But in his heart Bishop Zumarraga prayed, asking God for a sign of Castillian Roses, which only grew in the bishop’s native country of Spain.

She appeared again to Juan Diego and finally, early in the morning of December 12th, the Blessed Mother asked him to return to the bishop. She instructing him first to go to the top of Tepeyac Hill “and pick the flowers that you find there and bring them to me.” Although, it was too cold and dry for flowers to grow, Juan obediently climbed the hill and discovered beautiful, sweet-smelling roses growing there, which he gathered up into his tilma – a sort of working cloak made of cactus fiber. Our Lady then, with her own hands, carefully arranged the roses in his tilma. She told Juan to give them to the bishop as a sign that he should build the church.

After running all the way to the bishop’s residence, Juan was made to wait for hours by some servants, who, curious about what he held so closely in his tilma, tried to force Juan to show them. Finally, they informed the bishop that Juan was waiting, and Juan rushed to the bishop, who was meeting with other people in the room, and he unfolded his cloak. The roses, still covered with dew, tumbled to the floor, revealing on the tilma the beautiful image of the Blessed Mother.  The bishop and the others fell to their knees.

The Indians, upon seeing the miraculous image, recognized  the rich symbolism  contained within it as coming from heaven. Thus, they converted by the millions, and their religion of human sacrifice was ended.

The tilma miraculously exists to this day, though the cactus fiber should have disintegrated after forty years. In the past century, even when a load of dynamite was exploded just below it the blast severely damaged everything around it, but did not touch the image. There is no paint or pigment on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is an “Acheiropoieta,” a Greek word meaning: “made without human hands.” Like other acheiropoieta, such as the Shroud of Turin, and the Veil of Manoppello,  there is no scientific explanation for the image’s existence, except, that it was made by the hand of God, “the true God, from Whom all life comes, the Lord of all things, Creator of Heaven and earth.”  Images such as these are ongoing miracles – tangible signs of God’s mercy and love. Let us ask Him then, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to redeem this generation, mired in the deep darkness of sin, death, and idolatry, to bring Light and roses of life into the cold darkness — to save the lives of the unborn, and convert souls by turning them, once again, away from idols and back to the Face of her God.

Our Lady of Guadalupe “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the LORD God, the creator of heaven and earth.” (Judith 13:18)

By the presence of Mary, you made the desert bloom with flowers, –may the Blessed Virgin Mary’s love transform us into the image of Christ, her Son. Amen.