“Behold God’s Love For You!” – Part Two

(Continued from Part One) “On January 26, 1902, at the parish church of Saint-André, a city on the island of La Réunion (French Colony), Abbot Henry Lacombe, pastor of the church, was witness to the miracle that he would recount to thousands of people during the Eucharistic Congress of Angouleme (1904), as well as to the group of priests gathered for a spiritual retreat in the town of Perigueux. The Face of Jesus appeared in the Host which was for many hours witnessed by thousands of people.”

Abbott Lacombe gave this report: “It was January 26, 1902. We were celebrating Perpetual Adoration. The Most Holy Sacrament was exposed in the tabernacle. I began to celebrate the Mass. After the elevation, at the moment of the Our Father, my eyes were lifted toward the Host and I saw a bright halo around the rays of the monstrance. I continued to recite the prayers of the Mass with great agitation in my soul but which I tried to overcome. We came to the moment for Communion and again I looked toward the monstrance. This time I saw a human face, with lowered eyes and a crown of thorns on the forehead. What moved me the most was the dolorous expression painted on the face. The eyelashes were long and thick. I tried not to let on to the presence of the turmoil agitating inside of me. After Mass, I went to the sacristy and summoned the older children from the choir to go to the altar and closely observe the monstrance. The children raced back and told me, ‘Father, we see the head of a man in the host. It is the good Lord revealing Himself!’

A young man of 16, Adam de Villiers, who had studied in a college in France, also arrived. I said to him as well: ‘Go in the church and see if you notice something strange in the Tabernacle.’ The young student went to the sacristy and returned immediately, saying: ‘Father, it is the good Lord who appears in the Host. I see His divine face.’ Since then, all my doubts disappeared. Slowly the entire town went to the church to see the miracle.

Journalists and people from the capital of St. Denis also arrived. The face on the Host suddenly became animated and the crown of thorns disappeared. I used every possible precaution, and fearing the effects from the rays of light, I had all the candles extinguished and the shutters closed. The phenomenon became even more clear. There was a young artist among the visitors who faithfully reproduced the face in the Host. Later, the vision changed again and a crucifix appeared which covered the entire Host from top to bottom. After the Eucharistic blessing and recital of the Tantum Ergo, the vision disappeared.”  (The Eucharistic Miracle of the Island of Reunion)

A second example of the Face of Christ on a Host, which has been recently under investigation, occurred on November 15, 2013 at Christ the King Parish in Kerala, India.  The Face of Christ appeared on the Host as the pastor, Rev. Fr. Thomas Pathickal, was saying the morning Mass.  According to  Christ the King Parish Vilakkannur website   ” A Theological Commission of Syro-Malabar Church made a detailed study of the miraculous incident as per the guidelines of the Holy See and declared that the Eucharist is a Relic of Divinity.”

The archbishop also asked the parish to document “signs and supernatural” occurrences resulting from the alleged Eucharistic miracle. The International Theological Commission also studied the host, saying the Church could approve the miracle.

It was Pope St. John Paul II who first used the phrase, “Eucharistic Face of Christ,” which was previously unknown in the Church.  Pope St. John Paul II, by dedicating the millennium to the Face of Christ, drew back the veil for us, so that like disciples on the road to Emmaus, who recognized Jesus in the “breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:30-32), we too, may seek, find and adore His Face present and hidden in the Eucharist where we may gaze on Him freely in faith.

“May, O Lord, the light of Thy Face shine upon us.”  These words were the inspiration for Pope St. John Paul II to place  the third Millennium under “the radiant sign of  the Face of Christ.” He 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.”  One way to do so is by contemplating His Holy Face in His Presence in the Eucharist.

At the age eleven Ven. Carlo Acutis wrote, “The more we receive the Eucharist, the more we become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.” A miracle has recently been approved in the cause for his sainthood, and it is a strong possibility that he will be beatified sometime this year, drawing our attention to the miracle of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  A Joyous Update!: It was just announced that Carlo Acutis will be beatified in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assissi (Where Carlo is buried), on Saturday October 10th, at 4 pm — In the presence of his parents and siblings. 

“Behold God’s Love for You!”

Hands holding a Chalice and Host viewed through the Face on Holy Veil of Manoppello in Italy. (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

 

The Eucharistic Veil and Mary

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

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

That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Thy Glory in Beholding

O Lord, wealth of the poor, how admirably You can sustain souls, revealing Your great riches to them gradually and not permitting them to see them all at once. When I see Your great Majesty hidden in so small a thing as the Host, I cannot but marvel at Your great wisdom.”                      –St. Teresa of Jesus

Host viewed through the Veil of Manoppello in Italy. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Adoro Te Devote

Jesu, quem vellum nuns auspício,/Oro, fiat illud, quod tam sitio,/Ut te revelata cernens facie,/Visu sim beatus tuae Gloria.  Amen.

Jesus! Whom for the present veiled I see,

What I so thirst for, oh, vouchsafe to me:

That I may see Thy Countenance unfolding, 

And may be blest…

Thy Glory in beholding.  Amen 

Cardinal Tagle elevates the Eucharist at a Solemn Mass in honor of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

There is a wonderful book by Dr. Brant Pitre called “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist – Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper”  which sheds light on the great Mystery of the Eucharist, and the connection to the Old Testament “Bread of the Presence” otherwise known in the Old Testament as the “Bread of the Face of God”–the earthly sign of God’s Face veiled–because no one could see the unveiled Face of God and live. Three times a year, Dr. Pitre writes, the priests in the Temple would “remove the Golden Table of the Bread of the Presence from within the Holy Place so that the Jewish pilgrims could see it.” (Exodus 34:23; 23:17) Then the priest would elevate the holy bread before the people saying, “Behold God’s love for you!”  The Bread of the Face, was a sign of God’s love because it was a sign of His everlasting covenant.  “…this holy bread was a living visible sign of God’s love for his people, the way earthly people could catch a glimpse of the ultimate desire of their hearts: to see the Face of God and live, and to know that He loved them.”  “And just as the old Bread of the Presence was also the Bread of the Face of God, so now the Eucharist would be the Bread of the Face of God.” It is through His Face that we enter into the relationship of love with God.

Robert Cardinal Sarah gazing at the Eucharistic Face of Jesus at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
“The Face of Christ is the supreme revelation of Christ’s Mercy.”–Pope Benedict XVI photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

“Behold, you do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him…to receive Him into your heart…He upon whom the angels look with fear, and dare not gaze upon steadfastly because of His dazzling splendor, becomes our Food; we are united to Him, and are made one body and one flesh with Christ.” –St. John Chrysostom 

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

 

 

The Eucharistic Face of Christ

St. Pope John Paul II
St. Pope John Paul II

It was Pope St. John Paul II who first used the phrase, “Eucharistic Face of Christ,” which was previously unknown in the Church.  Pope St. John Paul II, by dedicating the millennium to the Face of Christ, drew back the veil for us, so that like disciples on the road to Emmaus, who recognized Jesus in the “breaking of the bread,” (Luke 24:30-32) we too, may seek, find and adore His Face present and hidden in the Eucharist where we may gaze on Him freely in faith.

“May, O Lord, the light of Thy Face shine upon us.”  These words were the inspiration for Pope St. John Paul II to place  the 3rd Millennium under “the radiant sign of  the  Face of Christ.” He 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.”

Face of Jesus on veil by Michael Wolgemut, teacher of Albrecht Durer. The “Veil of Veronica” in artwork before 1the early 1500’s resemble the “Il Volto Santo” of Manoppello.
Face of Jesus on veil by Michael Wolgemut, teacher of Albrecht Durer. The “Veil of Veronica” in artwork before the early 1500’s resemble the “Il Volto Santo” of Manoppello.

“O my soul, you will always find in the Blessed Sacrament, great consolation and delight, and once you have begun to relish it, there will be no trials, persecutions, and difficulties which you cannot endure.”

“Let him who wills ask for ordinary bread.  For my part, O Eternal Father, I ask to be permitted to receive the heavenly Bread with such dispositions that, if I have not the happiness of contemplating Jesus with the eyes of my body, I may at least contemplate Him with the eyes of my soul.  This is Bread which contains all sweetness and delight, and sustains our life.” –St. Teresa of Jesus, “The Way of Perfection”

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

Sacred Host viewed through the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello Photo Paul Badde
Sacred Host viewed through the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello Photo Paul Badde