Video of interview with Focus TV on the Devotion to the Holy Face
Introduction to Devotion to The Holy Face
I Seek Thy Face
“Listen to my voice, Lord, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me. Come says my heart, seek God’s face; your face, Lord do I seek! Do not hide your face from me.” (Ps:27) From antiquity, the desire to contemplate the Face of Jesus Christ has been a deep yearning of the heart; this is the desire of all humanity created in His Image… even atheists. Contemplation of the Holy Face of Jesus is the means by which the Holy Spirit teaches us all that we need to know in order to respond to the call to holiness.
St. Pope John Paul II
In 1997, St. Pope John Paul II asked for an International Congress for studying the words on the Holy Face Medal and Devotion to The Holy Face as a preparation for the Millenium, which he later placed under “The Radiant sign of The Face of Christ.” The medal of the Holy Face of Jesus was made by Bl.Mother Marie Pierina De Micheli, following the request of Jesus and The Blessed Mother in 1936. The medal bears an image on one side, of the Holy Face from the Shroud of Turin and an inscription based on Psalm 66:2: “Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos”: “May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us.” The other side of the medal, bears the image of a radiant Sacred Host, the monogram of the Holy Name (“IHS”), and the inscription “Mane nobiscum, Domine” or “Stay with us, O Lord.”
In Novo Millenio Ineunte, St. Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of contemplation of the Face of Christ by stating: “And it is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His face shine also before the generations of the new millennium. Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His face.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI has characterized devotion to the Holy Face as having three separate components:
The first element is discipleship and orientation of one’s life towards an encounter with Jesus, to see Jesus in the face of those in need. In order to do this, believers first need to become better acquainted with Jesus through the Eucharist.
The second element is relating to the Passion of Jesus, and the suffering expressed by the images of the wounded Face of Jesus, relating this to the Eucharistic experience.
The third element, the Eucharist, is woven between the other two. The eschatological element then builds on awakening to Christ by contemplating His face in the Eucharist.
From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has followed in the footsteps of Benedict XVI and John Paul II by speaking often of the importance of the Face of God, which has become a theme in his homilies. Before all, Pope Francis seems to be imitating his patron St. Francis, in letting his actions speak, by demonstrating “Discipleship” seeking out the Face of Christ in the poor, the sick, and the weak and by BEING The Face of Christ to the poor, the sick and the weak.
On April 11th, Divine Mercy Sunday of 2015, Pope Francis gave a great gift to all the people of the world: Misericordiae Vultus (Merciful Face). The first lines of the document declaring an “Extraordinary Year of Mercy” are both profound and powerful, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian Faith.” (to read more about Misericordiae Vultus go to the “Pope Francis” tab above or click here.)
Reparation to The Holy Face and The Holy Name
When a man’s name is reviled it is reflected on his face. Consider the Holy Face of Our Lord in His Passion; stained, bloody, bruised, covered with filth, dust and spittle. These indignities suffered by Our Lord represent the sins against the first three Commandments. Blasphemy, the disrespect of God and sacred things, atheism, and the profanation of the Holy Name and the Holy Day of Sunday are the greatest sins against God and are reflected in the Holy Face of Jesus Christ. How can we console Him?
Our Lord told Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli, a Daughter of the Immaculate Conception, “I firmly wish that my Face reflecting the intimate pains of my Soul, the suffering and love of my Heart, be more honored. Whoever gazes upon me, already consoles me.”
The mystery of the sorrowful Face of Christ was also revealed to Sr. Marie St. Pierre, a Carmelite nun of Tours, France. The Lord made her see that the Church, His spouse, is His mystical body and that religion is the face of His body, which is the target for the enemies of His Name. “I saw,” she said, “through this illumination, that the impious by… evil words, and blaspheming the Holy Name of God, spit in the Face of the Savior and cover it with mud; that all the blows given by sectarians to the Holy Church and to religion, are a renewal of the numberless blows which were inflicted on the Face of Our Lord, and that these wretched men make the brow of the august Face, as it were to sweat, by striving to annihilate His travail.”
St. Veronica, the model of Reparation to the Holy Face
“After giving me this revelation,” Sr. Marie St. Pierre continued, “the Savior said to me: ‘I seek for Veronicas to wipe and honor my Divine Face, for It has few worshipers.’ And He caused me anew to comprehend that all those who apply themselves to this work of reparation are performing the office of the pious St. Veronica; after which He addressed to me these words:
‘As for you, I give you MY FACE, in order to recompense the great desires you have conceived in your heart. I give it to you in the name of My Father, in the virtue of the Holy Spirit, in the presence of the angels and of the saints; I make this gift to you by the hands of My Most Holy Mother and St. Veronica who will teach you how to honor It.’ And He added, ‘ By means of this Holy Face, you will perform prodigies.’
The Sister understood that this precious gift was not made to her alone; that it was about to become a distinctive sign of the work of reparation, and a powerful means of action, but that as regarded herself, the grace which had been bestowed upon her was the greatest that could have been given her, after the Sacraments. “Henceforth,” added the Savior, “if any do not recognize My work in this, it will be because they close their eyes to it.”
“Christ’s response, “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father,” Lead us into the heart of Christological faith.” –Pope Benedict XVI
Purpose and Promises
This devotion is to have the two-fold purpose of reparation for blasphemy and reparation for the profanation of Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, the two principal sins which in modern times are provoking the anger of God. Sr. Mary of St. Peter said: “He then made me see that this frightful sin wounds His Divine Heart more grievously than all other sins, showing me how by blasphemy the sinner curses Him to His Face, attacks Him publicly, nullifies His Redemption, and pronounces his own judgement and condemnation…The Savior made me understand that His justice was greatly irritated against mankind for its sins but particularly for those that directly outrage the Majesty of God–that is Communism, Atheism, cursing, and the desecration of Sundays and the Holy Days. He said, ‘The executioners crucified Me on Friday, Christians crucify Me on Sunday.”
Promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ to those devoted to the Holy Face
(These promises are drawn from the works of St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde and from the writing of Sr. Marie St. Pierre, a Discalce Carmelite of Tours, France, who died in the odor of sanctity.)
1. By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
2. By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners
3. All those who honor My Face in a spirit of reparation will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica.
4. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the Seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
5. Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in the Work of Reparation, especially My priests, I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
6. As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the King’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.
7. Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
8. They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
9. I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.