May God’s Face Shine Upon Us in 2020

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may He let his Face shine upon us.  
So may Your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, Your salvation. (Ps. 67:1)

Mary shows us her Son — From the shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde

The Feast of Mary, Mother of God

In God’s beautiful design, the Christmas liturgy continues at the beginning of the New Year by drawing us to the Face of Christ with three holy feast days. All three are tied together by a common, yet golden thread–A mother, sharing her precious Son with us, so we may see His Face.

We begin on January 1, with the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, who teaches us how to contemplate the Face of her Son by seeing the reflection of His beauty and goodness in her face. On the Solemnity of the Mother of God, Pope Francis said,  “Begin the year recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary.” We see Jesus more clearly through His Mother’s eyes, especially when we pray the Rosary

The first reading for this feast day is the priestly blessing on God’s chosen people from the book of Numbers:

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)

May Our Lord grant us His blessing in the New Year through intercession the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. As the Incarnation of the Son of God came into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit, at Mary’s “Fiat,” through her prayers, may we obtain the grace to contemplate His Holy Face, and receive God’s greatest gift of peace.

The next holy feast, on January 3 is…

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

In sacred scripture the Angel Gabriel revealed the Holy Name of the Savior of mankind to the Blessed Virgin Mary: “You shall call His name Jesus.”

When Jesus was named,  Satan was disarmed!

Mary, Mother of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI teaches us, The expression “name of God” means God as He Who is present among men.  His name, is the concrete sign of His Existence. 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.  “Panim” is also the Hebrew word for “Face of God” and the same word is used for “Bread of the Presence” or “Bread of the Face.” (Exodus 25:30) The “Bread of Presence” mentioned in Exodus was not the actual Face of God, but the earthly sign of His Face. The Eucharist, instituted by Christ, however, is the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. When we are gazing at the Eucharist, the sign of God’s love for us, in Adoration, we see His Holy Face veiled in the appearance of bread, and in doing so, we give honor to His Holy Name.

Who had a more tender relationship of love with Jesus than his mother Mary? Who spoke His name more lovingly? God has a Face and a Name — It is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!  The Blessed Mother invites us to rejoice in the splendor of His Face, and contemplate the mystery of His Holy Name by entering into a relationship with her Son Jesus, especially in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

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. This, is the foundation of our peace, which nothing can take from us.” –Pope Benedict XVI

Blessed the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within thee bless His Holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He hath done for thee. (Ps. ci. i,2)

And the third great holy day drawing us to adore the Holy Face is…

Adoration of the Magi, Giotto, 1302

The Feast of the Epiphany

 The Epiphany is closely linked to the Holy Face, as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen and mother, presents her Son, the King of Kings, to the Magi–because the Epiphany is the feast on which Jesus Christ first shows Himself to the world represented by the Magi–and He shows Himself through a human face, the face of an infant. On the feast of the Epiphany, we ask God to shine His Face upon us, to reveal His Face to us once more as we come before Him in adoration, so that, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may also reflect the light of His Face to the world.

“May the Lord grant that in the new millennium, the Church will grow ever more in holiness, that she may become in history a true epiphany of the merciful and glorious Face of Christ the Lord.”   — Pope St. John Paul II at the Closing of the Holy Door, January 6, 2001

Face of the Child Jesus by Fra Angelico

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A Little Litany by G. K. Chesterton

When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven – and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.

Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In the strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.

Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.

Or risen from play at your pale raiment’s hem
God, grown adventurous from all time’s repose,
Of your tall body climbed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose

.Madonna and Child from the Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

 

“Jesus Wants to be Seen”

“Finding the Face of Jesus” a photographic restoration by Kathy Falls of the Shroud of Turin (with permission)

Kathy Falls, a Secular Carmelite from the Michigan Upper Peninsula, is a multi-talented woman; a singer, musician, writer, artist, and photo-restoration expert. Thirty-five years ago a growing desire was planted in her heart to share the Face of Christ seen on the Shroud of Turin, and to use her talents to make the face more visible to others.  Kathy received permission to enhance the original famous photograph, which was taken in 1978 from Barrie Schwartz, the official documenting photographer and leading expert for the Shroud of Turin Research Project. Using computer technology, as well as dyes and pencils, Kathy enhanced and re-touched the image, which has won a blue ribbon from the Professional Photographers of Michigan. The inspiring  image entitled “Finding the Face of Jesus”  will be recognized at the Professional Photographers of America’s International Print Competion, which will be held from January 14-16 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kathy Falls, with her photographic restoration of the Face of Christ

Studying the Face on the Shroud of Turin these many years has led Kathy Falls to a deep devotion to the Face of Jesus.  The writings of the “Little Flower,” St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, also inspired Kathy in her work and increased her devotion. Kathy says, St. Therese “reeled me in.”  Carmelite spirituality is contemplative and what could be a more perfect subject to contemplate than the Face of Jesus? Kathy says, “You can imagine sitting in front of him for years, looking at His Face. A lot of people don’t take time to do that, to really meditate and look at what He suffered for us.” Kathy has not signed the work, which is obviously a labor of love, wishing only that His Face be seen and hearts transformed by gazing upon His Face.  She says simply, “Jesus wants to be seen!”  

Click here for more about Kathy Falls story and her work by The Michigan Catholic.

 

Happy New Year 2018 – Let His Face Shine Upon You!

In God’s beautiful design, the Christmas liturgy continues at the beginning of the New Year by drawing us toward the Face of Christ with three holy feast days. We begin on January 1, with the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, who teaches us how to contemplate the Face of her Son. The first reading for this feast day is the priestly blessing on God’s chosen people from the book of Numbers.

Virgin and Child,1510

The Feast of Mary, Mother of God

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)

In celebrating the centenary of Fatima, Pope Francis gave this reflection of that scripture passage: “This blessing was fulfilled in the Virgin Mary. No other creature ever basked in the light of God’s Face as did Mary; she in turn gave a human face to the Son of the eternal Father. Now we can contemplate her in the succession of joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of her life, which we revisit in our recitation of the rosary…With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true Face of Jesus the Saviour.”

At the last New Year Pope Francis said,

“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…”

The next holy feast, on January 3 is…

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

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

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. This, is the foundation of our Peace, which nothing can take from us.”

And the third great holy day drawing us to adore the Holy Face is…

Adoration of the Magi,
Fra. Angelico & Fra. Lippi

The Feast of the Epiphany

 The Epiphany is closely linked to the Holy Face–because the Epiphany is the feast on which Jesus Christ first shows Himself to the world represented by the Magi–and He shows Himself through a human face, the face of an infant. On the feast of the Epiphany, we ask God to shine His Face upon us, to reveal His Face to us once more as we come before Him in adoration.

On the occasion of the Closing of the Holy Door, January 6, 2001, Pope St. John Paul II prayed for the Church:

“May the Lord grant that in the new millennium, the Church will grow ever more in holiness, that she may become in history a true epiphany of the merciful and glorious Face of Christ the Lord.”   

Amen!

May Our Lord grant us, in this New Year, through intercession the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grace to contemplate always His Holy Face.

“Vladimirskaya” icon

Happy New Year!

Epiphany – Show us Thy Face, O Lord

image-39
St. Pope John Paul II “In the Eucharist, the Face of Christ is turned towards us.”

Webster’s Dictionary gives these definitions for “epiphany”: 1. January 6th observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the three wise men to Jesus in Bethlehem or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of Jesus’ baptism. 2. an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being 3. an intuitive discovery or realization [derived from Late Latin epiphania, from late Greek, plural, probably Greek epihaneia “appearance, manifestation,” from epi + phanein “to show.” 

The feast of the Epiphany is thus closely linked to the Holy Face–because the Epiphany is the feast on which Jesus Christ first shows Himself to the world represented by the magi–and He shows Himself through a human face, the face of an infant. On the feast of the Epiphany, we ask God to shine His face upon us, to reveal His face to us once more.

The words inscribed on the Holy Face Medal, which bears a replica of the Holy Face image from the Shroud of Turin, and which inspired St. Pope John Paul II to dedicate the millennium to the Holy Face, are based on Psalm 66:2: “Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos,” which means, “May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us,” or as it has also been interpreted, “Show us Thy Face, O Lord.”  On the other side of the medal, there is an image of a radiant Sacred Host, the monogram of the Holy Name (“IHS”), and the inscription “Mane nobiscum, Domine,” that is, “Stay with us, O Lord,” which recalls the words of the disciples to Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35). “So he went in to stay with them and it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, and said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.”

On the occasion of the Closing of the Holy Door, January 6, 2001, St. Pope John Paul II prayed for the Church, “May the Lord grant that in the new millennium, the Church will grow ever more in holiness, that she may become in history a true epiphany of the merciful and glorious Face of Christ the Lord.”  Amen!