The Alpha-Omega Holy Face Novena, 2017 – Day Two

 The Holy Face of The Miraculous "Limpias Crucifix"
The Holy Face of The Miraculous “Limpias Crucifix”

 Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayers and Consecration – Day 2, Monday, 20th February, 2017

“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)

 

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.

Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB "Apostle of the Holy Face" and Spiritual Advisor of Bl. Pierina de Micheli
Servant of God Idlebrando Gregori, OSB “Apostle of the Holy Face” and Spiritual Advisor of Bl. Pierina de Micheli

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”

The Alpha-Omega Holy Face Novena, 2017- Day One

 

"Whoever who gazes upon me already consoles me." --Our Lord t Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli
“Whoever who gazes upon me already consoles me.” –Our Lord t Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli

(This Year’s Holy Face Novena begins on Sunday, the 19th of February and will continue through the 27th.  The Feast of the Holy Face and Consecration are on Tuesday, the 28th of February.)

Day One, Sunday, 19 February, 2017

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 the 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.

The Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin
The Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin

First Day

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)

Ecce Homo - Meister Francke 1435
Ecce Homo – Meister Francke 1435 Photo: Paul Badde

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

 

 

“Do you see how I suffer?”- Novena to the Holy Face

February 19 to 27, 2017 – Novena of the Holy Face

IMG_0962

“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

Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli
Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli

At the time that Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli was beatified in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI noted “her extraordinary devotion to the Holy Face of Christ.” Archbishop Angelo Amato, who presided over the beatification at St. Mary Major remembered Bl. Pierina for “a concrete sign” she left in history of the Triune God and her “invitation to all people to see the attraction of Divine Beauty.”

Bl. Mother Pierina was born in Milan, Italy, in 1890. She had mystical experiences since her childhood. She became a Daughter of the Immaculate Conception Nun and was sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1915, then returned to Italy in 1921. In 1936, during night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Friday of Lent, she received a messages from Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, telling her to spread devotion to His Holy Face. At that time she was told to have medals made with the image of the Face of the Shroud of Turin on one side and a radiant Host on the other. The words on the medal read, “Illumina Domine Vultum Tuum Super Nos” (“May, Lord, the light of Your Countenance shine upon us”) on the front and “Mane Nobiscum Domine”(Stay with us Lord”) on the reverse. It was this medal of the Holy Face that inspired Pope St. John Paul II to dedicate the millennium to the Holy Face of Jesus.

"Illumina Domine, Vultum Tuum Super Nos"
“Illumina Domine, Vultum Tuum Super Nos”

The Blessed Mother also spoke to Mother Pierina about the Holy Face Medal:
“Listen carefully and refer everything to Father: This Scapular [or medal] is an armour of defence, a shield of strength, a pledge of mercy which Jesus wishes to give to the world in these times of lust and hatred against God and His Church. There are very few true apostles. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All who shall wear a Scapular [or medal] like this and make, if possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,

"Mane Nobiscum Domine"
“Mane Nobiscum Domine”

– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,

– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external

– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son.” 

The Blessed Mother also requested the sanctification of Tuesdays by making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and that a special feast be instituted in honor of the Holy Face on “Shrove Tuesday” which is the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. On that day “we should make expiation for our own sins and the sins of others who dishonor the Sacred Face of Jesus by their ingratitude and sinful lives.”

Our Lord told Mother Pierina:

“By my Holy Face, you will obtain the conversion of numberless sinners. Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused you. According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, I will take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint upon it My Image, and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal Fount. I promise personal and spiritual protection to all who venerate this (Holy Face) medal.”

To obtain the permission and funds to have the medal cast was very difficult for Bl. Pierina, but, miraculously, she found on her desk an envelope with the exact amount of the bill, 11,200 lire. Her biography stated that “The evil spirit showed his chagrin and rage at the medals by flinging them down and burning the pictures of the Sacred Face, and beating Sister Pierina savagely.” The Holy Face medal became famous during World War II for its miracles and countless spiritual and temporal favors.

Our Lord referred to the work of reparation to the Holy Face as “The most beautiful work under the sun!” which He revealed as being destined to be the means of defeating atheistic Communism and restoring peace to the world.

Bl. Mother Pierina implored her sisters to make this novena, preceding the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday, with all the fervor of their hearts. Please join in this year’s Holy Face Novena, which will be posted each day on this site (and may also be found on the Novena tab above), beginning February 19 and continuing to the 27th. The Feast of the Holy Face for this year is Tuesday, February 28. (Locally, in Madisonville, Louisiana, St. Anselm Parish is inviting all to an evening of Adoration, Sacred Music, Prayers, and Benediction in honor of the Holy Face of Jesus, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 6:00p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We will be offering free Holy Face medals until they run out.)

Our Lord’s words to Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli:

“No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”

“I wish that my Face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be better honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”

 

Left: The Holy Face of Manoppello / Right: Painting by Hans Holbein
Left: The Holy Face of Manoppello / Right: Painting by Hans Holbein

“Oh Savior Jesus, who didst will that reparation should be as public and universal as had been the offense, penetrate us with the true spirit of reparation. Give us the grace to love Thy Divine Face, to make it known and loved by the whole world, in order that it may be to us a source of light and means of salvation. Amen. ” ~ Prayer of Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli

Beauty and Benediction for “Omnis Terra” procession in Manoppello

 

Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Sr. Blandina Pachalis Schloemer
Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Sr. Blandina Pachalis Schlomer

The beauty of the glory of the Face of God is reflected in the mountains surrounding the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello in the days leading up to the historic “Omnis Terra” feast and procession.  (Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer took this breathtaking photo of the Sanctuary and hills covered in pure white snow and a beautiful rainbow.) On the second Sunday of Epiphany, January 15, 2017, the Basilica of the Holy Face established the first new feast and procession, making it the third on the calendar of the Sanctuary, since the year of 1712.

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

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.  It was very fitting then that Our Lord’s Holy Face should be specially honored by a new feast and procession at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello on this same Sunday.

Holy Face of Manoppello, phot: Patricia Enk
Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

Journalist Paul Badde, who loves the Holy Face of Manoppello and has written so well about the rediscovery of this Holy Veil of the Face of Jesus, was present for the sacred occasion and related the following details of the day:

Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer
Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer

“It was as if the sky had opened a window over Manoppello for exactly that day. It had been snowing all the time before, then on Friday a rainbow appeared. On Saturday it was immaculately blue. On Sunday, Omnis Terra, the clouds had come back. And on Sunday night Manoppello was covered with snow again.
Liturgy of the Eucharist and the procession with incense, candles and beautiful music by the choir of Maestro Cosantini was so noble and “degno” [worthy] that it couldn’t have been performed more nobly in Saint Peter`s in Rome.

The homily of Don Americo [Mons. Americo Ciani] was absolutely powerful and very clear with great parts he added by heart with great enthusiasm.  

Before the procession and benediction a prayer by Padre Carmine [Capuchin Rector of the Sanctuary] for all the victims of the earthquakes was said, then a beautiful new litany of the Holy Face by the absent Sr. Petra Maria.”

Dom Americo Ciani carrying Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello in procession, photo: Paul Badde
Dom Americo Ciani carrying Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello in procession, photo: Paul Badde
Mons. Ciani (Right) holding reliquary of Pope Urban VIII
Mons. Ciani (Right) holding reliquary of Pope Urban VIII

Mons. Americo Ciani, Canon of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, was presider for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and gave the beautiful homily (translation of the homily by Mr. Raymond Frost below).  Mons. Ciani was formerly a judge of the Roman Rota, the highest judicial office of the Church, from the year 2000 to 2009.  As a canon, Mons. Ciani was also one of the very few persons to have displayed the famous reliquary of Pope Urban the VIII in St. Peter’s Basilica at the balcony over the Veronica altar during Passion Week.

(Some may also recall Monsignor Ciani from the Catholic New Agency article “Willy’s Story-the Homeless Man Buried at the Vatican” on Willy Hereteer, a pious homeless man who lived on the streets near St. Peter’s Basilica and was befriended by Mons. Ciani and Paul Badde.)

Mons. Americo Ciani and Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Paul Badde
Mons. Americo Ciani and Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Paul Badde

Manoppello Feast of the Holy Face   January 15, 2017  Omnis Terra Sunday

(homily of) Monsignor Ciani                      

We are commemorating that most ancient procession which the great pontiff Innocent III desired in 1208 during which he had carried for the first time the Holy Sudarium of Christ from the Basilica of St. Peter to the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia.  It was a foretaste of the Holy Years, the first of which was decreed by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300.  On that memorable occasion the numerous faithful would have been able to contemplate the Holy Face impressed on the mantilla [veil] of Saint Veronica.  The Holy Relic, preserved in the patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, disappeared in 1527 during the Sack of Rome.

We have repeated the same solemn procession with the Holy Face, preserved here in Manoppello, from the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican to the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, in January 2016, where we celebrated the Holy Mass, presided by Archbishop Monsignor Georg Gänswein and a second one presided by Archbishop Monsignor Edmund Farhat, who just a few days ago has left us to return to the House of the Father.

Here we are gathered to contemplate the Face of God, who became man in His Son Jesus.  This precious relic is “the human Face of God”, which since 1636 has been jealously cared for here at Manoppello and venerated by Pope Benedict XVI on September 1, 2006, a good 479 years later, when he knelt before that which had been the most precious treasure of the Popes.

From the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John, “No one has ever seen God,” the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.
On the Face of Christ shines the majesty of God, who in His turn God has shown Himself under the form of a man.

Let us fix then our gaze upon the Face of the Son of God made man.

The image belongs to our everyday life.  We are immersed in the culture of images, in private and in public.

With how much care we display the photos of our loved ones!  Go into the rooms of young people, the walls of which are an exposition of images of leaders, from the world of fashion, of sport, of singers, etc.  Go silently into cemeteries, how many images to remember loved ones! The list would be too long, and it’s not necessary for us to go on about it.

The image speaks louder than the word, in fact the word passes but the image remains.  The Church in addition to place, to gesture, to word, to song, has utilized the image, from the beginning she has created a treasury of images to communicate, to evangelize., it is the “Bible of the poor”.

The word passes, the image remains and can be admired, contemplated by everyone and in all kinds of circumstances.  Word and image speak together in the Church.

We are gathered here to contemplate this Image, the Holy Face, which is the Face of God who died and is risen, Jesus Christ, Son of God, He who is Himself God.

The Holy Bible, especially in the Psalms, touches on the theme which today is for us so dear:  “The Face of God”, the seeking of the Face of God, the desire to see the Face of God, and the invocation to see the Face of God.

From Psalm 27:  Confidence in God in times of danger: “My heart repeats your exhortation:  Seek my face!  Your face, O Lord, do I seek.  O Lord, do not hide your face from me.”

Psalm 31:16 “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love”.

Psalm 88:15 “Why O Lord do you cast me off, why do you hide your face from me?”

Psalm 102:3 “Do not hide your face from me, in the day of my agony, turn your ear towards me.  When I call upon you, respond to me quickly Lord.”

Psalm 105:3-4 “ Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”

Psalm 119:135 “Make your face shine on your servant, and teach me your statutes”.

The problem which today torments us, is precisely fear and terrorism!

My beloved this sublime truth consoles us:  “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid?”

The psalm exhorts us to a solid hope: “Hope in the Lord, be strong, let your heart take courage, and hope in the Lord.”

All of us, whether small or great, need to cast out fear, to cast it far away from us, to succeed in controlling it and in conquering it.

The Face of God manifested itself in the Face of His Son Jesus Christ, born of Mary of Nazareth.  God made Himself one of us, went about doing good, gave Himself for us and for our sins, and to make us His people.

Let our desire to see Jesus be as strong as those pagans who asked the Apostle Philip: “We want to see Jesus” and as Zacchaeus, the publican, who “wanted to see Jesus”, and climbing up a tree, because he was short of stature, precisely so that he could see Jesus.  Jesus passed by, looked up and called him by name: “Zacchaeus, come down, today I wish to come to your house”.  And from that encounter came the miracle of the conversion of Zacchaeus.

Our constant prayer is the commitment: “I want to see your Face”.

History is not ensnared in a blind alley, closed off from hope.  Our society today is lost, suffers from nightmares, because it has lost “the Face of God”.  It does not perceive the ways of God in history.

God the Father has sent His Son Jesus among us.  He is the youthfulness and the freshness of history.  Jesus is the Son of God, of the God that is the joy of our youth.  For over 2000 years God has shown His face to the world by the Incarnation of His Son Jesus, from whom beauty and richness has poured out security, above all for those of us who need security:  the poor, the oppressed, the “least ones”, because He “ will judge with justice the poor and with equity the oppressed”.  So that humanity, turned toward the presence of Christ, will be able to breathe deeply.

To judge how things are going, today, one might think that Christ is pretty much just a dream.  Christ renews us and make us true.  We need purity and to be purified.  Jesus has come to accompany us, to put Himself at our disposition.  He comes.  Jesus in us and we breathe liberty.

In Jesus we know where we come from, who we are and where we are going:  we who can accompany him, we who have listened to him, we have the power to become sons of God, we are a “new race”, created by God and by Him regenerated in Christ the Lord, Wisdom of the Most High, Word of God, is “the true light which enlightens every man”.  He is the Wisdom of God that became love and the love became light.

Here is the tragedy of yesterday and today: “He came into the world but the world did not recognize Him.  He came to his own but his own did not receive Him.”

And our struggle continues:  It is the mess in which we find ourselves still caught up in (“How long, O Lord? When will you return and finally liberate us?”)   Let us repeat with faith “Come Lord, do not delay”.  Today we cling to Jesus and tomorrow we run away from Him.

We need to enter more vividly into the mystery of Christ.

All of us, fragile and sinners, we can take a deep breath, a liberating breath, and even a cry of liberty and hope.  Slaves of sin, we can resist sin, we can defeat it, because Jesus has come and will always remain with us, He who “opens the eyes of the blind, sets prisoners free and delivers those living in darkness.”

Thus, holiness is possible, even for those who must rise from the depths, because Jesus has come “to do good and to heal all those who are under the power of the devil”.  Before, we were under the power of the devil, now no more; the chains on our feet have been broken and we can walk towards the heights.

Hope is rekindled in us, “God will return soon and will show his face to the world and shake the foundations with his all-powerful voice”.

Just as the Apostle John who entered the Tomb after the Resurrection, “saw and believed”, so it happens for each us today, we see and contemplate the Face of God and we firmly believe.

Holy Father, accept with benevolence our prayers and guide us to the seeking of Your Face, which you have revealed in fullness in Jesus, Your Son.

O Lord, make Your Face to shine on us so that we might enjoy your goodness in the peace we are protected by your powerful hand, freed from every sin by the strength of your outstretched arm, and saved from those who hate us unjustly.

Grant harmony and peace to us and to all the inhabitants of the earth, as you have granted to our fathers, when they invoked you devoutly in faith and in truth, you alone, O Lord, can grant us these good things. (Translation by Raymond Frost)

Archbishop Edmond Farhat and Mons. Americo Ciani, Photo: Paul Badde
Archbishop Edmond Farhat and Mons. Americo Ciani, Photo: Paul Badde

(Bishop Farhat, on left, died December 17, 2016-May he gaze on God’s Face!)

The Power of Procession

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

Since ancient times processions have been a reminder that our Christian life is a constant movement toward God and our eternal home.  A procession is a type of pilgrimage and expression of piety that flows from the liturgy.  Solemn processions can be quite beautiful–accompanied by hymns, prayers, and lit candles– flower girls dropping roses petals, lines of freshly scrubbed altar servers, Knights of Columbus in plumed hats and capes, bearing their swords (the envy of every little boy), priests accompanying the Eucharist or precious relics, acolytes surrounded by clouds of incense, and the faithful holding their rosaries trying to keep their place as they walk slowly behind.  But make no mistake, a procession is not a pretty parade. There is power in procession that terrifies the infernal foe and makes all of hell tremble.

Fr. Frederick W. Faber in his treatise on the Blessed Sacrament wrote:

Pope Benedict XVI in Altotting
Pope Benedict XVI Photo: Paul Badde

“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.”

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

The world is not only unbelieving but publicly blasphemes God to His Face, and it is for this reason that He must be honored publicly.  Whether it is within the confines of a church or through the city streets, the procession is a public function of faith, hope, and love. It is an antidote to the poison disseminated by our culture which falsely asserts that religion is “private” and not something to be brought up in polite society or in the public square.  By solemn procession the Church loudly proclaims to all the world that Jesus is Lord!

Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo in Rome. 2016
Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo in Rome. 2016

History was made on “Omnis Terra”(All the earth) Sunday in January of 2016, when bishops, priests, and pilgrims re-enacted the historic “Omnis Terra” Procession of Pope Innocent III (pictured above), carrying a reproduction of the precious image that many scholars identify with “the Veronica” or “true image” of the Face of Jesus. The pilgrim procession began at St. Peter’s in Rome and processed to  Spirito Santo church and hospital, drawing attention especially to the Face of Christ in the sick and the poor.

On the occasion of the first “Omnis Terra” procession in 1208, Pope Innocent III wrote this beautiful prayer of devotion to the Veil of Holy Face of Jesus:

“O God, who has marked us with the light of Thy Face as your memorial, and at the request of Veronica, left us Thy Image imprinted on the sudarium; grant we pray, that by your passion and death, to adore, venerate and honor you, in mystery and as through a mirror on earth, so that we might be able to certainly see you, face to face, when you come as our judge.”

 

This year, on “Omnis Terra” Sunday, January 15, 2017, history will be made once again at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy.  A third solemn annual procession will be introduced–in addition to the two solemn processions already observed in May (commemorating the arrival of the Holy Veil to Manoppello), and the solemn procession in August (on the Feast of the Transfiguration).  (Details may be found here on the Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot)

The addition of a third procession of the Holy Face at the Shrine of Manoppello is not only Trinitarian, it is a deeply significant and public witness of honor paid by the faithful to His Holy Face and thus also to the Holy Name of Jesus!  May all of hell tremble at the sight of His Holy Face!

A Hymn composed by Pope Innocent III from the year 1216:

“Sancte Salve Facies”

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

Hail Holy Face of Our Redeemer on which shines the appearance of divine splendor impressed upon a little cloth of snowy radiance and given to Veronica as a standard of love.

Hail beauty of the ages, mirror of the saints, which the spirits of the heavens desire to see.  Cleanse us from every stain of sin and guide us to the fellowship of the blessed.

Hail our glory amidst this hard life, so fragile and unstable, quickly passing away.  Point us, O happy figure, to the heavenly homeland to see the Face that is Christ indeed.

Hail, O sudarium, noble encased jewel, both our solace and the memorial of Him who assumed a little mortal body–our true joy and ultimate good!

*The precious miniature manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia,” was published around 1350 and is preserved in the State Archives in Rome.  The illustration at the bottom of the first page of the Liber is one of the oldest illustrations of “the Veronica,” which depicts Pope Innocent III with “the Veronica” in his right hand and the Rule granted to the brothers of the hospital in his left.  Prior to the Jubilee of 2000, the French medievalist Jacques Le Goff wrote, “Over the centuries Rome was enriched with notable relics. One in particular acquired an exceptional prestige:  the sudarium of Christ known and revered by the name of “the Veronica.”  The circumstances by which the image first came to Rome is a mystery but was mentioned for the first time under Pope John VII (705-707)

 

 

 

 

The Holy Name of Jesus – God has a Face and a Name

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

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has taught us, in his many writings about the Holy Face, that the Hebrew term, “panim”, which means “face” means to see The Face of God, or the presence of God.  “Panim” is a term that describes relationships.  The Hebrew word “shem” meaning “name” is also a term of relationship.  God has a Face and a Name!

The revelation of the Face of God, Pope Benedict XVI says, took on a new and beautiful manifestation when God became man at the moment of The Incarnation, in the person of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God was made man and He is given a Name–Jesus.  As fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ gave us a human face that revealed the Face of God.  The Incarnation reveals the direct connection between The Holy Face and Holy Name of God.  Jesus shows us the Face of the Father for as He told His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen The Father.”  But Jesus also makes known to us the Name of God: as He said at the Last Supper when praying to His Father, “I have made Your Name known to them.”

"IHS" Monogram of The Holy Name - Church of The Gesu, Rome
“IHS” Monogram of The Holy Name – Church of The Gesu, Rome

The expression “name of God” means God as He Who is present among men.  His name, Pope Benedict XVI teaches, is the concrete sign of His Existence.

Pope Benedict XVI 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.”

"Extreme Humility"
“Extreme Humility”

Because of the  profound relationship with God and His Name and Face, sins committed against this relationship with Him–causing pain and suffering to His Sacred Heart– 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 indignities suffered by Our Lord in His Face represent the most serious sins, because they are against God Himself.

The damage done by our sins to our relationship with God are reflected in the Face of Jesus Christ.  For this reason, devotion and reparation to The Holy Face and the Holy Name is fitting in order to make amends for what we have done to Him.

Discalced Carmelite Nun Sr. Marie St. Pierre
Discalced Carmelite Nun Sr. Marie St. Pierre

The Golden Arrow is a beautiful Prayer given by Our Lord to Carmelite Sr. Marie St. Pierre to be said in reparation for blasphemy against the Holy Name.

The Golden Arrow

“May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God, be forever praised, blessed, adored, loved and glorified, in heaven, on earth, and in the hells, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  Amen.”

Reciting the Golden Arrow or other prayers that honor the Holy Face and the Holy Name, are anCbXuGNOW4AE8kgW act of compassion and love, which have the effect of wiping the blood, sweat, dust and spittle from The Face of Jesus.  And by doing so, Our Lord also restores His Image in our souls.

Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli

“O God, Who did constitute Your only-begotten Son the Saviour of mankind, and did command that He should be called Jesus; grant in Your kindness that our hearts joy in Heaven may be the Face of Him Whose Holy Name we venerate on earth.” Amen.

“Oh Savior Jesus, who didst will that reparation should be as public and universal as had been the offense, penetrate us with the true spirit of reparation.  Give us the grace to love Thy Divine Face, to make it known and loved by the whole world, in order that it may be to us a source of light and means of salvation.  Amen. ” Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli (who is also known for the Holy Face Medal, which bears the Face of the Shroud of Turin on one side, and the symbol for the Holy Name on the other.)

"Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me." - Our Lord to Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli
“Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me.” – Our Lord to Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli

Happy New Year 2017! “May the Lord Bless and Keep You…”

Christ Blessing by Hans Memling
Christ Blessing by Hans Memling

“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

Peace is the fruit of devotion to the Face of Christ; it is, in fact, the greatest gift of God. Devotion to the Holy Face is not narrow; it is not limited to prayers or venerating images of the Face of Jesus.  Although these things are good in themselves and a means of orienting ourselves toward the Face of God, they are not enough. Devotion to the Holy Face is as high and as wide as the Cross of Christ–extending to each person made in the image and likeness of God and respecting their dignity. Pope Francis wrote in his message for the World Day of Peace,

“All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers.  In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace”.

We can become an “artisan of peace” by turning toward the Face of God in prayer, especially before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, from which we draw the strength to love our neighbor, respecting the Face of Jesus within them, even when it is marred by sin–or what St. Teresa of Calcutta called “the distressing disguise of Jesus.”

IMG_1070“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 Emeritus Benedict XVI

Begin the year by recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary, in the maternal face of the Church, in the faces of our own mothers, protects us from the corrosive disease of being “spiritual orphans”.  –Pope Francis Jan. 1, 2017

 

Merry Christmas!!!

“Come let us adore Him!”

Infant Jesus wrapped in Byssus (the Veil of Manoppello is also of Byssus)
Infant Jesus wrapped in sheer Byssus, fit for a King, a High Priest, and God *(about byssus, see below)

What does it mean to “see” God?

When Christ comes, God will be seen by men

(From St. Ireneaus) “There is one God, who by his word and wisdom created all things and set them in order.  His Word is our Lord Jesus Christ, who in this last age became man among men to unite end and beginning, that is, man and God.

The prophets, receiving the gift of prophecy from this same Word, foretold his coming in the flesh, which brought about the union and communion between God and man ordained by the Father.  From the beginning the word of God prophesied that God could be seen by men and would live among them on earth; he would speak with his own creation and be present to it, bringing it salvation and being visible to it.  He would free us from the hands of all who hate us, that is from the spirit of sin, and enable us to serve him in holiness and justice all our days.  Man was to receive the Spirit of God and so attain to the glory of the Father. 

The prophets, then, foretold that God would be seen by men.  As the Lord himself says: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.  In his greatness and in expressible glory no one can see God and live, for the Father is beyond our comprehension.  But in his love and generosity and omnipotence he allows even this to those who love him, that is, even to see God, as the prophets foretold.  For what is impossible to men is possible to God.

By his own powers man cannot see God, yet God will be seen by men because he wills it.  He will be seen by those he chooses, at the time he chooses, and in the way he chooses, for God can do all things.  He was seen of old through the Spirit in prophecy; he was seen through the Son by our adoption as his children, and he will be seen in the kingdom of heaven in his own being as the Father.  The Spirit prepares man to receive the Son of God, the Son leads him to the Father, and the Father, freeing him from change and decay, bestows the eternal life that comes to everyone from seeing God.

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

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

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

Detail of byssus veil wrapping the babe's tiny feet
Detail of byssus veil wrapping the babe’s tiny feet


Our Lady of the Bowed Head, Vienna, Austria (notice her byssus veil)
Our Lady of the Bowed Head, Vienna, Austria (with byssus veil)

*What is Byssus? – Byssus is a cloth of exceeding fine texture used by the ancients. Fit for Royalty, a King, a High Priest, and God. Known as “sea-silk,” it is more rare and precious than gold. Made from the long tough silky filaments of Pinna Nobilis mollusks that anchor them to the seabed–strong enough to resist the extreme hydrodynamic forces of the sea. Byssus has a shimmering, iridescent quality which reflects light. Byssus is extremely delicate, yet strong at the same time. It  resists water, weak acids, bases, ethers, and alcohols. It can’t be painted, as it does not retain pigments, it can only be dyed; and then, only purple.  It can also last for more than 2000 years.

Byssus is mentioned in the Bible forty times–For just a few examples: in Genesis, Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in clothes of byssus, and put a gold chain on his neck. (Genesis 41) The curtains of the tabernacle (Exodus 26) were twined with byssus. Kingly and priestly garments were made with byssus. (Exodus) Solomon made a veil for the Holy of Holies with cherubim embroidered upon it in byssus.

Gossamer-thin veil of Manoppello Photo by Paul Badde
Sheer and delicate, yet the Face of Christ is miraculously visible. Photo by Paul Badde

The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello is also made of rare, precious byssus silk.  The skill needed to weave a byssus veil as fine as the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello is exceedingly great.  Chiara Vigo, known as “the last woman who weaves byssus” has said that neither she or anyone alive today could duplicate the gossamer-thin Veil, which is sheer enough to read a newspaper through.  The weave is so delicate, she says, that only the nimble fingers of a very skillful child could weave something so fine.

Miraculous Holy Face Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde
Miraculous Holy Face Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde

It has been speculated–perhaps even the young Blessed Virgin Mary learned to weave byssus, as a young child in the temple, for the priestly garments.  Perhaps, she herself wove this particular miraculous Veil with her own pure hands, which was placed as a face-cloth (sudarium) on the Face of Jesus in the tomb, and is thought to have recorded the very moment of the Resurrection of Jesus, true God and true Man, High-Priest and King!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pinna Nobilis

(Click here for a BBC article on the last woman who weaves byssus, Chiara Vigo.)

 

“Love desires to see God”

 “The church is like Mary awaiting a birth. Like her, we should say of Jesus and mean with our hearts: Come! I want to see your face!”–Pope Francis

IMG_1126

“A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on it’s side, but it is evidence of filial love.

(Please see update below-Prayers needed)

Love desires to see God.  So says St. Peter Chrysologus:  “When God saw the world falling to ruin because of fear, He immediately acted to call it back to Himself with love…” By an invitation of grace, love and compassion God called Noah, Abraham, Jacob and Moses–and a “flame of love” was enkindled in their hearts, “it’s intoxication overflowed into men’s senses. Wounded by love, they longed to look upon God with their bodily eyes, yet how could our narrow human vision apprehend God, whom the whole world cannot contain?” St. Chrysologus writes, It is intolerable for love not to see the object of it’s longing!” No matter what good the saints did to merit a reward, they could not see the Lord.  A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on it’s side, but it is evidence of filial love.  It gave Moses the temerity to say: If I have found favor in your eyes, show me Your Face. It inspired the psalmist to make the same prayer: Show me Your Face.  Even the pagans made their images for this purpose: they wanted to see what they mistakenly revered.”  (from sermon of St. Peter Chrysologus)

God Himself initiates the longing to see His Face, extending this grace to all who are willing to accept it, which is why the Blessed Virgin Mary “Full of Grace” had the greatest, deepest longing to see the Face of God–more than any creature on earth.  In the third week of Advent, the Church celebrates this longing to see God’s Face, together with Mary, with a Triduum (three days of prayer) and a Feast–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 Triduum begins on December 15th and continues until the feast day which is on December 18th.  (The prayer, found below, for the Triduum and Feast Day may also be prayed on the days leading up to Christmas.)

There are two very important aspects of Advent mentioned in this prayer that should not be overlooked as they are necessary for us to prepare our hearts for Jesus on Christmas Day: preparation and penance (that “Jesus may find no obstacle in our hearts.”) Sometimes the greatest obstacle to opening our hearts to God is our own self-love.  Let us have confidence in Mary’s intercession to help us overcome this self-love, “removing all obstacles” to her Son so that we will be prepared to receive Him Christmas morning and share her joy in the redemptive love shining on the Face of Jesus.

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

IMG_1179“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.)

UPDATE:  In your charity, please pray for the soul of Archbishop Edmond Farhat, who died in Rome on December 17. He said this in his homily January 17, 2016 about the Holy Face of Manoppello:

Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat giving blessing with Holy Face.
Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat giving blessing with Holy Face.

“It is not an object of another time; it is the icon of the eternal face, the face of goodness and of friendship, of mercy and of peace. The face that speaks, that examines, that asks, that awaits a response. It seems to say: ‘Look at me, you who are tired. Come to me and I will give you rest.’…” We fix our gaze on the Holy Face and we will be transformed by God’s mercy. The sign is not an end in itself; the sign is a pointer on the way of the return, the return to the Father.”  

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  Through the mercy of God may he rest in peace and may he gaze upon Your Face this day.  Amen. 

 

 

Turn your face toward the mountains – St. John of the Cross

photo: Paul Badde
photo: Paul Badde

“Hide yourself, my love; turn your face toward the mountains, and do not speak; but look at those companions going with her through strange islands.”–Stanza 19, Spiritual Canticle, St. John of the Cross

The great mystical Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross, wrote a beautiful commentary on Stanza 19 of his Spiritual Canticle, on prayer–the desire of the soul to communicate with God, the need of silence on the part of the soul, and the darkness or obscurity of faith in the soul who is seeking God’s Face.

  St. John says that the bride-soul asks four things of the Bridegroom (Christ): First, that He “communicate very inwardly” in the hidden place of the soul. Second, that He inform and “shine on her faculties” with His glory. Third, “that this communication be so sublime and profound that she may neither desire nor know how to give a description of it…” Fourth, that He be enamored of the graces and virtues He has placed in her.” 

“Hide yourself, my love;”

St. John says this means to ask God “to communicate Yourself in secret, manifest Your hidden wonders, alien to every mortal eye.”

“turn your face toward the mountains”

“The ‘Face’ of God is the divinity and the ‘mountains’ are the soul’s faculties  (memory, intellect, and will).” The verse is saying: “Let your divinity shine on my intellect by giving divine knowledge, and on my will by imparting to it divine love, and on my memory with the divine possession of glory.” The soul, St. John writes, “can only be satisfied with God’s Face.”

“and do not speak”

The communication God grants to the soul are too high and deep to be apprehended by the senses. “Let the depth of the hiding place, which is spiritual union, be of such a kind that the senses will be unable to feel or speak of it…,” says St. John of the Cross.

“but look at those companions”

When God looks, He loves and grants favors.  And the companions whom the soul tells God to look at are the many virtues, gifts, perfections, and other spiritual riches He has placed in her as the pledges, tokens, and jewels of betrothal.” This verse, says St. John is like saying, “But, Beloved, first turn to the interior of my soul, and be enamored of the company–the riches–You have placed there, so that loving the soul and through them You may dwell and hide in her.  For, indeed, even though they are Yours, since You gave them to her, they also belong to her.

“going with her through strange islands.”

Here the soul is saying, “Since I go to you through a spiritual knowledge strange and foreign to the senses, let Your communication be so interior and sublime as to be foreign to all of them.”

To “seek God’s Face” is to seek Him in prayer; to “look at Him” is to take the time to contemplate Him. When we do this, St. John of the Cross tells us, God is doing great things in our soul…He shines His Face upon us!

Drawing by St. John of the Cross of his vision of the Crucifixion of Jesus from above.
Drawing of vision of the Crucifixion by St. John of the Cross, Feast: December 14

The Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:17-18)