Pilgrimage – A Journey toward the Face of God, Pt. 5

Pt. 5: The temple of the Holy Spirit in LoretoIMG_0611

Silent, peaceful, humble, gentle, pure…Immaculate! These words describe Mary, the first temple of the Holy Spirit, and may also be applied to the Holy House of Loreto as well.  One has a great sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit resting in this place. There is something very touching about the respectful way that the pilgrims silently enter the Holy House. They then stand or kneel, leaning against, or touching the holy walls in order to feel closer to Mary–touching the very walls that the Holy Family touched.  Just before the bells for the Angelus ring, the Holy House fills completely and the Angelus is recited, “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace…” Here the Holy Face of Jesus was formed and hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How great was her longing to see the Face of her Son and Messiah!

Back wall, with "Gabriel window" of the Holy House
Back wall, with “Gabriel window” of the Holy House

“The House of the Holy Family! It was the first temple, the first church, on which the Mother of God shed her light through motherhood. She irradiated it with the light which comes from the great mystery of the Incarnation; from the mystery of her Son.”–Pope St. John Paul II

Our Lady of Loreto
Our Lady of Loreto

The grand exterior of the Basilica hides a message, just as it hides the humble Holy House in its bosom; it is a message for all pilgrims, that we must become like Mary, whose soul proclaimed only “the greatness of the Lord” (Lk. 1:46-55). The humble, simple work of everyday life was sanctified here, where the Face of God was present each day within the family. God was attracted by Mary’s lowliness and “He who is mighty” did great things for her–now all generations call her blessed!

Year of Mercy volunteers were available near the entrance of the Holy Door and handed us a very helpful pamphlet in English guiding us through the Basilica, both physically and spiritually. Using the guide, we offered prayers at particularly meaningful chapels beginning with the Baptismal Font inside the Holy Door where we renewed our baptismal promises. We spent the entire day in that sacred place and probably only saw a fraction of the beautiful artwork and craftsmanship lavished on the chapels, each one vying to give greater glory to God by the work of talented hands of many countries of the world.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share as a common phrase I heard in English everywhere was, “No photos, please!”

There is one more thing I’d like to mention about Loreto before moving on to Assisi and that is this: pilgrimages are filled not only with minor inconveniences, or events meant to help us grow in virtue, but also signs.  Signposts, you might say, along the pilgrimage path to remind us to keep going in the right direction.  We had a big sign, right outside the window of our hotel; it was not only one of sight, but of also sound–in fact, a never-ending “coo,” “coo,” “coo,” “coo.”  There was a pigeon coop directly outside the window of our room for some reason. Whereas Mary was a temple of the Holy Spirit, our temples, it seemed were more like a pigeon coop: Noisy, messy and in need of regular cleaning.  I’d say it was a good reminder to go to Confession.  God isn’t always silent; sometimes, He speaks loud and clear. We couldn’t miss that one. (to be continued in Assisi Pt. 6)

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Pentecost in Mannopello

Rose petals like "tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit" tossed before the Holy Face on Pentecost. photo: Paul Badde
Rose petals like “tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit” tossed before the Holy Face on Pentecost. photo: Paul Badde
Beautiful photo of "Il Volto Santo" Pentecost 2016, photo by Paul Badde
Beautiful photo of “Il Volto Santo” Pentecost 2016, by Paul Badde
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Sheer Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello disappears in the light Photo: Paul Badde

Journalist Paul Badde has generously shared these beautiful photos of “Il Volto Santo” the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy, taken on the 15th of May for the great Feast of Pentecost.  The photo images of the miraculous veil capture so well the changeability and infinite beauty, mercy and peace found by gazing on the Holy Face.   The gossamer-thin byssus veil is not painted but seems to be “written by the Holy Spirit” as an icon in light, which according to the light, may be clearly seen with blood and wounds, or as fresh and healed, or disappear.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said, “Faith is seeing and hearing.” May those who contemplate His Holy Face, like St. Peter and St. John in the tomb on Easter, “see and believe,” and as we gaze upon His Face may we be attentive as well to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, who will lead us through Jesus to the Merciful Face of the Father.

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Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Pentecost 2016 photo: Paul Badde
Veil of Manoppello, May 15, 2016 photo: Paul Badde
Veil of Manoppello in procession, Pentecost 2016 photo: Paul Badde
"Little Angels" is Holy Face Procession Photo: Paul Badde
“Little Angels” in Holy Face Procession Photo: Paul Badde
Holy Face of Manoppello changes according to light. Pentecost 2016 photo: Paul Badde
Holy Face of Manoppello changes according to light. Pentecost 2016 photo: Paul Badde
May the Lord bless and keep you; May He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; May He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His Peace!" (Num. 6: 22-27) Photo: Paul Badde Pentecost 2016
May the Lord bless and keep you; May He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; May He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His Peace!” (Num. 6: 22-27)
Photo: Paul Badde Pentecost 2016

 

A “Must Read” on the Holy Face: There is an excellent post “More than an Abstraction,” the text from a conference given by Fr. Daren Zehnle.  It is a very clear, well-documented and informative history of “The Veronica,” and the miraculous “Veil of Manoppello” in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
It can be read on his “Servant and Steward”blog. (click here)

Holy Face Novena – Day 2

Each days prayers will be posted for the novena and the Act of Consecration to the Holy Face will be posted on The Feast of the Holy Face.  (All Novena prayers may also be found in the tab above.) Urgent Prayer Request:  In your charity please pray for our friend the author and journalist Paul Badde who is recovering from  heart bypass surgery. He is an ardent lover of the Holy Face of Jesus and gives everything he has to make the Holy Face of Manoppello known and loved in the world!

Image of Jesus crucified which hung in Bl. Mother Teresa's room. It was one of her last sights before dying.
Image of Jesus crucified which hung in Bl. Mother Teresa’s room. It was one of her last sights before dying.

 Holy Face Novena Alpha-Omega Prayer and Act of Consecration to The Holy Face for ourselves and our families

“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.” (Our Lord Jesus Christ to Bl. Mother  Pierina De Micheli)

Day 2:

image-13“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.

Image of the Holy Face of Jesus that captivated St. Teresa
Image of the Holy Face of Jesus that captivated St. Teresa of Avila

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)

image1“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 Micheli

 

The Work of the Holy Spirit – restoring God’s Likeness

 

Come Holy Spirit!
Come Holy Spirit!

“Disfigured by sin and death, man remains “in the image of God,” in the image of the Son, but is deprived “of the glory of God, of his likeness.” “… the Son himself will assume that “image” and restore it in the Father’s “likeness” by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is “the giver of life.”–CCC705

Mankind has separated itself from the love of the Father, like the prodigal son of the Gospel, man no longer wants to be the image of God, but the image of himself, which is a false image — not who God created us to be; his sons and daughters.  The Holy Spirit restores God’s likeness in us through the merciful face of Jesus.

In the letter, “Misericordiae Vultus” (Merciful Face) Pope Francis invokes the Holy Spirit by praying, “May the Holy Spirit, who guides the steps of believers in co-operating with the work of salvation wrought by Christ, lead the way and support the People of God so that they may contemplate the face of mercy.” 

"Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father's Mercy." -- Pope Francis
“Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father’s Mercy.” — Pope Francis

Pope St. John Paul II who dedicated the millennium to The Holy Face also prayed, ”May the Holy Spirit, which you have granted, bring to maturation your work of salvation, though your Holy Face, which shines forever and ever.”  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI tells us that the Holy Spirit illuminates the reciprocity between God the Father and Jesus the Son: “Jesus has divine dignity and God has the human face of Jesus.  God shows himself in Jesus and by doing so gives us the truth about ourselves.”


The truth is that we are not God, our own image is a false one and we need the Holy Spirit “to restore his likeness” in us through Jesus, the King of Mercy.  By the mutual gaze of love between the Face of God and the soul of man, God restores his image in our souls.

At the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit manifested as fire.  Jesus said, “I come to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already enkindled.” (Lk 12:49)  The fire of the Holy Spirit blazes, but does not destroy when it burns.  The effect of the fire of the Holy Spirit is to purify, sanctify and transform us, through the Cross, into his image in truth and love and re-animating our souls with the Holy Spirit’s breath of life.

Burn within us, Holy Fire, so that chaste in body and pure of heart, we may desire to see the Face of God.

Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit
Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit

Prayer to Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit

Hail, Mother of Mercy, Mother of God, and Mother of pardon, Mother of hope, and Mother of grace, Mother of holy joy — O Mary!

Hail, happy Virgin Mother, for he who sits at the Father’s right hand and rules over the heavens, earth and sky, enclosed himself in your womb — O Mary!

The Uncreated Father made you, the Holy Spirit overshadowed you, the only begotten Son became man in you: divine was your making — O Mary!

Be our consolation; O Virgin, be our joy; and after this our exile bring us to our heavenly  home — O Mary!

–Salve, Mater Misericordiae

 

Pope Francis – Misericordiae Vultus (Merciful Face) Jubilee Year

Pass through the Door of Mercy

“Whoever refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of my justice.” –Our Lord to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul (1146)

"Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father's Mercy." -- Pope Francis
“Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father’s Mercy.” — Pope Francis

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.” In this beautiful letter (which can be read here) Pope Francis, the servant of the servants of God, extends to all who read it “Grace, Mercy and Peace.”

"The Holy Door" of St. Peter's Basilica
“The Holy Door” of St. Peter’s Basilica

The Holy Year will open on December 8, 2015, The Solemnity of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, highlighting God’s greatest mercy in the history of mankind. “When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy” by choosing Mary to be the Mother of the Redeemer. The “Holy Doors” of Mercy will be opened beginning in Rome and then in Cathedrals and Co-Cathedrals throughout the world.  The Holy Doors “will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instils hope.”  The jubilee will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King, “the living face of God’s mercy” on the 20th of November 2016.  “On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace.”

Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit

In the letter Pope Francis invokes the Holy Spirit by praying, “May the Holy Spirit, who guides the steps of believers in co-operating with the work of salvation wrought by Christ, lead the way and support the People of God so that they may contemplate the face of mercy.”  This prayer is an echo of the words of Pope St. John Paul II who prayed, ” May the Holy Spirit, which you have granted, bring to maturation your work of salvation, though your Holy Face, which shines forever and ever.”  and of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who said, “The Face of Christ is the supreme revelation of Christ’s mercy.” 

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis wants us to “Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his merciful gaze, that we may experience the love of the Most Holy Trinity.”  He calls us to be merciful to others and reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as a way of awakening our conscience and enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel so that “we become merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful.” (Lk 6:36)

“Pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year because it represents the journey each of us makes in life.”  Pope Francis tells us that Jesus shows us the steps of the pilgrimage to attain out goal: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Lk 6:37-38) Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus asks us to “forgive and give.” “To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God.”

The season of Lent for the Jubilee Year will be a time to meditate on Sacred Scripture “to help rediscover the merciful Face of the Father.”  The Pope cites (Hos 11:5) speaking of the unfaithful people of God who deserved a just punishment and anger, in which the prophets speech “reveals the true face of God:”  “How can I give you up, O Ephraim!  How can I hand you over, O Israel!  How can I make you like Admah!  How can I treat you like Zeboilim!  My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender.  I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy.”  “Gods anger lasts but a moment, His mercy forever.”

The Holy Father also turns his gaze to the face of Mary, Mother of Mercy and our Mother, “May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness.” Pope Francis asks us to address our Merciful Mother in the words of the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen), “a prayer ever ancient and ever new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes toward us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her Son, Jesus.”

Sorrowful Mother
Sorrowful Mother

The primary task of the Church, Pope Francis urges us,  is to be “a herald of mercy,” “especially at a moment full of great hopes and signs of contradiction, is to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplation of the Face of Christ.”

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, "the living Face of God's Mercy."--Pope Francis
Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, “the living Face of God’s Mercy.”–Pope Francis

 

The Salve Regina or “Hail, Holy Queen”

Queen Beauty of Carmel
Queen Beauty of Carmel

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

 

 

 

“The Face of Christ: …the supreme revelation of Christ’s Mercy.”

“The Face of Christ is the supreme revelation of Christ’s mercy.”

–Pope Benedict XVI

Divine Mercy Jesus, I trust in You!
Divine Mercy
Jesus, I trust in You!

Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, although differing in personality and charism, all have something in common, if we connect the pontifical dots… and the dots are: Mercy, the Face of God and Peace.

Beginning with Pope St. John Paul II, who established Divine Mercy Sunday, canonized St. Faustina, the Saint of Divine Mercy and wrote in an encyclical: “The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which in a sense, forms the image of this Pontificate.”

The message of Divine Mercy to the world began in 1931, when Our Lord appeared to a Polish nun, St. Faustina, in a vision.  She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing.  His left was touching His garment in the area of His Heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. Jesus said to her:

Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus I trust in You.  I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.  I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death.  I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary, 47, 48) I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy.  That vessel is this image with the signature: “Jesus, I trust in You” (327) I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.

At the request of her spiritual director, St. Faustina asked the Lord about the meaning of the rays in the Image.  She heard these words in reply:

Divine Mercy in the waters of Baptism
Divine Mercy in the waters of Baptism

The two rays denote Blood and Water.  The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous.  The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls.  These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when my agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. …Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him (299)

The image represents the graces of Divine Mercy poured out upon the world, especially through Baptism and the Eucharist.

Good Friday, the day on which Jesus died and “Blood and Water poured forth for souls” begins the first day of the Divine Mercy Novena, which ends on Divine Mercy Sunday, the second Sunday in Easter.  (The novena can be found here: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena.php)

Pope St. John Paul II died on April 2nd, the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2002. Pope Benedict XVI recalled the words of Pope St. John Paul II at the dedication of the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, Poland: “Outside the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for human beings.” Pope Benedict said, “His message, like St. Faustina’s, leads back to the face of Christ, the supreme revelation of God’s mercy. Constantly contemplating that face: This is the legacy that he has left us, which we welcome with joy and make our own.”

Pope Benedict XVI did indeed make the message of Divine Mercy his own, connecting it to devotion to the Holy Face.  He spoke again and again of the Holy Face of Jesus, “that mirror, mystery-laden of God’s infinite Mercy.”

"This Mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the Risen Christ." --Pope Francis
“This Mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the Risen Christ.” –Pope Francis

Continuing to “connect the dots,”  Pope Francis, on Divine Mercy Sunday 2013 said:

“Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being The Face of The Lord, who in human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations or in the developed societies. Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the Face of Jesus Christ, bear the Face of The Lord, who even before he was born, and then soon as he was born experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and – I spoke of the child, let us speak of the elderly, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the Face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the “culture of waste proposes! They cannot be discarded!”

Pope Francis recently made the joyful announcement of a special Holy Year of Mercy, again relating the message of Mercy to the Face of God:

“Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy.  It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion.  For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center.  It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy.  We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (cf. Lk 6:36)

This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe — and living face of the Father’s mercy.”

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

When the world turns to the merciful and glorious Face of God there will be peace, as Pope St. John Paul said in his prayer to the Holy Face:

“Holy Face, which looks at us and searches for us, kind and merciful, You who call us to conversion and invite us for the fullness of love, we adore and bless you.  In Your luminous Face, we learn to love and to be loved, to find freedom and reconciliation, to promote peace, which radiates from you and leads to you.” 

In Pope Benedict XVI’s homily on the World Day of Peace in 2013, he said that peace is “His [God’s] most sublime gift, in which He turns toward us the splendor of His Face.”

Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit

Let us pray that the fruit of the upcoming “Holy Year of Mercy” announced by Pope Francis will be peace, not as the world gives, but by the gift of The Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.”  This, Pope Benedict XVI said, is the foundation of our peace, which nothing can take from us.” 

“May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; may He turn His countenance toward you and grant you His PEACE!”

Peace! Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde
Peace! Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde

 

“The World is all in Flames”: Join World Prayer for Peace March 26th

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“The world is all in flames…and are we to waste time asking God for things of little importance?”  This was the lament of St. Teresa of Jesus as she contemplated the wars, conflicts and divisions of her own time.  March 28th marks the 500th anniversary of her birth.  Today, ever increasing wars, terrorism and violence seem to rage in every corner of the globe. Yes, “the world is in flames!”

St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church
St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church

We (the sons and daughters of Holy Mother Teresa, the Discalced Carmelite Order of Friars, Nuns and the Secular Order) would like to offer her a 500th birthday present, of which, she would approve; we invite all persons of good will to join us in an hour of prayer for World Peace, which we hope will fill the day with prayers for peace, as people unite in prayer around the world, on March 26 (beginning at 6:00 GMT)and continuing till March 27th. This is the proposal of the Father General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Fr. Saverio Cannistra.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has looked kindly on this initiative and on March 26th will unite with us in supplication to God, Father of us all, so that through the intercession of His Son Jesus Christ, He will pour His Holy Spirit over all the nations, so that dialogue will triumph over violence and conflicts that scourge our world.”  Please share this message and join with us on this day, “holding tightly to the power of the redeeming Cross of Christ” and lifting our eyes to heaven, let us beg the Father to look upon the Face of His Son, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, and grant us the gift of peace  Not the peace the world gives, but the peace that Jesus promised us, which nothing can take from us. Through the powerful intercession of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother the Queen of Peace and St. Teresa of Jesus let us also “beseech God for the opportunities for dialogue and encounter among men, that we learn to ask for forgiveness so that peace may grow in the world like the fruit of the reconciliation that He has come to bring us.” Nothing is impossible with God!

Pope Francis adoring The Eucharistic Face of Christ
Pope Francis adoring The Eucharistic Face of Christ

 

 

Feb. 9th, Day 2 – Holy Face Novena

image-13“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)

 Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayers and Consecration – Day 2

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.

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)

“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

More than meets the eye… Painting the Face of Jesus

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Gossamer-thin veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde

Ever since I first laid eyes on the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy, I have wanted to paint it.  Surely every artist who has looked upon the image has felt the same desire. The “Il Volto Santo” seems to be the prototype of ancient images of the Face of Christ in the Eastern and Western Church as there is abundant evidence in museums and churches. There were more than a few obstacles to fulfill this desire of my heart to paint His Face.  For one thing, I didn’t attempt to take a photograph when I saw the “Il Volto Santo” as I had come to pray as a pilgrim to the Basilica in Manoppello, and made up my mind to get a picture or holy card at the Sanctuary’s small gift shop. Also, I had seen numerous photographs–all different, some strange, flat or distorted, the color itself varying greatly from one picture to another.  Some photos are very dark and the image appears covered with wounds, as one would see Christ in His Passion. Others bright, beautiful and fresh, with wounds healed as it must have appeared at the moment of The Resurrection.

The changeability of the image itself posed a great challenge.  When standing by myself before “Il Volto Santo,” I saw the face with wounds, from a crown of thorns, bruises, blood, torn beard and red inflamed skin.  But, upon kneeling … words cannot express what is felt, a living face of a man, wounds very faint and the eyes…!  The eyes filled with mercy and peace more deep and still than if Jesus had stilled the waters of the ocean to it’s depths…  Again, nothing could compare to what my eyes beheld.  In addition, seeing was one thing and experiencing another.  I knew that trying to use paint to convey that experience of God’s Mercy and Peace would fall infinitely short of the goal. Still, the desire to paint His Face remained.

More than two years passed before I even began.  As I said, no photo I’ve seen would do, but finally I decided to look at several and use the elements that, for me, came close to my memory of the veil.  Even though I cannot paint icons in the traditional sense, I do paint them in my own fashion, not having formal art education. Being a wife and raising six children has been my primary vocation in life, and I’ve fit my painting in between the many things that fill a mother’s day.  So, when I got fed up with my own excuses not to begin to paint the Face of Jesus, I prepared an icon board, selected a few pictures and began to draw.

Artists look at things a little differently, I think.  I had planned on making a simple outline of the main features of the face from a relatively clear photo of the Veil of Manoppello that I came across, but my plan took a different turn.  Come to think of it, that is often how the Holy Spirit works.  Icons are said to be “written” by the hand of the artist through the Holy Spirit. I drew the lines, and as other faint lines and shadows appeared to my eyes, I drew them as well with the same value or darkness as the most obvious lines.

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My drawing on gold-leaf on board.

The results left me astonished.  What isn’t readily apparent manifested itself in such a beautiful way.  Faint marks on the forehead, for example, appeared as marks from thorns.  Faint short lines on the face which turned this way and that were obviously the hair from a torn beard.  Looking very closely and drawing each curved line became soft waves of hair.  All were there, but faintly.  The drawing just made the facts more noticeable.  The concentration of the lines above the brow and below the nose accentuated the space surrounding the eyes as though a blindfold had protected them from some of the blows inflicted on the rest of the face.

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Painting by Fra Angelico showing Jesus blindfolded.

 

 I began the painting in silent prayer.  Although sacred music can elevate the mind and heart, I greatly prefer the “language of heaven” which is silence. My family would attest to the fact that when I paint, I tune out all noise anyway.  The house could come down around my ears and I probably wouldn’t look up.  St. Teresa of Avila spoke of ignoring “the mad-woman running around the house” referring to distractions while she was trying to pray.  We probably all have our own “mad-woman” who tries to distract us with many cares, anxieties and trivialities as we try to turn our attention to God.  Painting is a wonderful way to shut the door on the crazy lady and focus solely on listening to God.

It is true that God’s Face can be found in the Scriptures and in our neighbor, but I seek Him most often in images of Jesus and in particular, I love the image of “Il Volto Santo,” in Italy.  It is for me an icon which encapsulates the whole of Divine Revelation in one Face.   As I select colors and brush and begin my work, I gaze at Him, the words of Scripture are ever present in my mind, beginning with the longing of all mankind, “Your Face, O Lord, I seek. Hide not your Face from me.” (Psalm 27) “There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.” “…a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity”(Isaiah 53:2 – 3), “For God so loved the world that He gave it His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16) “The word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)  With sorrow, I look at the terrible wounds on the face of Christ, and the words of St. Pope John Paul II echo in my heart, “We cannot stop at the image of The Crucified One.  He is the Risen One!” and St. Paul’s words, “All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2 Cor 3:18) and more and more… There are no end to the depths of the treasures in His Face.

How could I hope a painting could ever match the beauties that are found in His Face?  It can never be possible unless He painted it Himself, so I ask Him to paint His image in my heart.  I knew at the outset I would be unsatisfied with the result of my painting, because  only seeing Him face to face in eternity could satisfy that infinite desire.   Still, I can look at the work of my hands, pray, and remember that there is always “more than meets the eye.”

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Icon of “Il Volto Santo” by Patricia Enk

The words on the icon are: Illumina, Domine, Vultum Tuum Super Nos. or “Shine the light of Your Face on us, O Lord.”

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Closeup of “Il Volto Santo” painting by Patricia Enk

May His Face shine upon you always!

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1