“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

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!