Happy New Year 2016 – May The Lord Bless and Keep You!

Mary, Mother of God (Fra Angelico)
Mary, Mother of God
(Fra Angelico)

“May the Lord bless and keep you, may He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you: May the Lord turn His Countenance toward you and give you His PEACE.” (Num. 6:22-27)

Peace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said, is the summit of the six actions of God in this blessing, which are in our favor; “His most sublime gift, in which He turns toward us the splendor of His Face.”

January 1st is the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, who is the Queen of Peace and this is also the World Day of Peace.  Today Pope Francis said, “She is the Mother of Mercy, because she bore in her womb the very Face of Divine Mercy, Jesus, Emanuel, the Expectation of the nations, the “Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:5)  Jesus has given us His Mother so that we may never be left alone on our pilgrimage through life, especially in times of trouble and uncertainty.

Pope Francis has also said, “Our eyes need to focus on the particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand.”  The Holy Father recalled the suffering, violence and death of many innocent people in the previous year, but he also noted the many acts of kindness, love and solidarity that go unnoticed but should not be obscured “by the arrogance of evil.”  The good always wins,” said Pope Francis, “even if at times it can appear weak and hidden.” 

One of the “particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand” is the Face of Christ which He offers to all humanity as “the supreme revelation of the Father’s Mercy.”  By contemplating and rejoicing in the splendor of His Face through devotion to the Holy Face we may obtain the peace that the world so desperately needs.

Pope Francis concluded his blessing by appealing to Mary saying, “Send us your blessing on this day consecrated to your honor.  Show us the Face of Jesus your Son, who bestows upon the entire world mercy and peace.” Finally, the Pope concluded by calling on the faithful to pray each morning for God to “shine his face” on us, and invited those in the square to repeat after him: “Today, the Lord makes His Face to shine upon me.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written, “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,” Pope Benedict XVI says, “is the foundation of our Peace, which nothing can take from us.”

+Peace and have a Blessed New Year!

“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

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