Face of Mercy – This is the time to change our lives

“This is the opportune moment to change our lives!  This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched!” — quotes from Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus 

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

“Jesus Christ is the Face of the Father’s Mercy.  These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith.  Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching it’s culmination in Him…We need to constantly contemplate the mystery of mercy.  It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace.  Our salvation depends on it.  Mercy:  the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.”  “With our eyes fixed on Jesus and His merciful gaze, we experience the love of the Most Holy Trinity.  The mission Jesus received from the Father was that of revealing the mystery of Divine Love in its fullness. ‘God is love.'” (1Jn 4:8,16)

“…wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.”

“Mercy is not contrary to justice but is the behavior of God toward the sinner…God does not deny justice. He rather envelops it and surpasses it with an even greater event in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice” (MV, 21). Jesus is the face of the mercy of God the Father: “God so loved the world […] [that] the world might be saved through him [the Son]” (Jn 3:16, 17)

FullSizeRender-11We are called to be merciful to each other and seek the Face of Jesus in our neighbor. “It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty.  And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy.  Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in His preaching so that know whether or not we are living as His disciples.  Let us rediscover these corporal and spiritual works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.  And  let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy:  to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.”

“Life is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination.” Let us keep our faces turned toward the Merciful Face of Jesus while on our pilgrimage, and “introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s Mercy by contemplating the Face of Chirst.”  (Misericordiae Vultus) 

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy

Have Mercy on us! Holy Face of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde
Have Mercy on us!
Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us Your Face and we will be saved.  Your loving gaze freed Zaccheus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.  Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that You spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you only knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible Face of the invisible Father, of the God Who manifests His power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be Your visible Face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.  You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: and forgiven by God.

Come Holy Spirit!
Come Holy Spirit!

Send Your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and Your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, You Who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Pope Francis also recommends we pray the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)  so that Mary, our Mother of Mercy “may never tire of turning her merciful eyes towards us, and make us worthy to contemplate the Face of Mercy, her Son Jesus.”

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.

Contemplation and Praise of The Trinity through the Face of Christ

The mystery of the Trinity is the beginning and end of all revealed truth. We are baptized in

Sr. Lucia's vision of The Trinity at Tuy
Sr. Lucia’s vision of The Trinity at Tuy

the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and our souls enter into relationship with each of the Three Divine Persons.  We are daughters and sons of the Father, brothers, sisters and co-heirs with the Son and sanctified by the Holy Spirit continually to make us resemble Jesus Christ.

But, how can we contemplate something so great as the Holy Trinity when we are such lowly creatures?  St. Teresa wrote that  she was “amazed at seeing so much majesty in a thing as lowly as my soul;” then Our Lord said to her: “It is not lowly, my daughter, because it is made in my own image.”  This should give us the courage to come in prayer before The Most Holy Trinity through Jesus Christ, through whose human face God chose to reveal Himself to us.

"Show us...Your Face, that mirror mystery-laden, of God's infinite mercy."--Pope Benedict XVI
“Show us…Your Face, that mirror mystery-laden, of God’s infinite mercy.”–Pope Benedict XVI Photo: Paul Badde

 

Words are not needed, we need only rejoice in the splendor of His Face. Pope Benedict XVI tells us, “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.” 

We rejoice in the splendor of His Face as we gaze at Him, and while we gaze at Him, He gazes at us: “How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – How much tenderness is there!” says Pope Francis.  Pope Francis urges us to reflect on Jesus gaze upon us: “How is Jesus looking at me?

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

With a call? With a pardon?  With a mission? But on the path He created, all of us are being looked at  by Jesus.  He always looks at us with love.  He asks us something, he forgives us for something and he gives us a mission… May each one of us think: ‘Lord, You are here, among us.  Fix your gaze on me and tell me what I must do:  how I must repent for my mistakes, my sins; what courage do I need to go forward on the path that You first created.”   St. John of the Cross says the gaze of God is active, “for God’s gaze is to love and to work favors.  His Gaze is love and love does things.  God’s gaze works four blessings in the soul: it cleanses her, makes her beautiful, enriches her and enlightens… making her like Himself.”

By this mutual gaze of love between the Face of God and the soul man, God restores His Image in our souls where, incredibly, He chooses to dwell.  In The Spiritual Canticle, St. John of the Cross exclaims “O, then, most beautiful soul who dost so much desire to know the place where your Beloved is in order to seek him and to be united with him, He tells you now that you yourself are the abode wherein He dwells, and the closet and hiding place where He is hidden.  It is a matter of great contentment and joy for you to see that all your good and all your hope are so near that you cannot be without them.  ‘Behold’ says the Spouse, ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:21), and his servant the Apostle Paul says: ‘We are the temple of the living God’ (2 Cor 6:16).”

Divine Mercy in the waters of Baptism
Divine Mercy in the waters of Baptism when the Holy Trinity comes to dwell in the soul.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity on receiving news of the baptism of her niece, wrote to her sister, “I feel full respect, for this little temple of the Blessed Trinity…If I were near her I would kneel down to adore him who dwells within her.”

Prayer to The Holy Trinity by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

“My God, Blessed Trinity!  Draw from my poor being what most contributes to your glory, and do with me what you wish both now and in eternity.  May I no longer place between us any voluntary hindrance to your transforming action… Second, by second, with a forever ‘actual’ intention, I desire to offer you all that I am and all that I have.  Make my poor life, in intimate union with the Word Incarnate, an unceasing sacrifice of glory to the Blessed Trinity…

Discalced Camelite Nun - St. Elizabeth of The Trinity
Discalced Camelite Nun – St. Elizabeth of The Trinity

My God, how I wish to glorify you!  O, if only in exchange for my complete immolation, or for any other condition, it were in my power to enkindle the hearts of all your creatures and the whole of creation in the flames of your love, how I would desire to do so!  May at least my poor heart belong to you completely, may I keep nothing for myself not for creatures, not even a single heartbeat.  May I have a burning love for all mankind, but only with you, through you and for you… I desire above all to love you with the heart of Saint Joseph, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and with the adorable Heart of Jesus; and, finally, to submerge myself in that infinite ocean, that abyss of fire that consumes the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

O Jesus, who said:  ‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ (Matt 11:27) ‘Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied!” (John 14:8)

And you, O Spirit of Love!  ‘Teach us all things’ (John 14:26) and ‘form Jesus with Mary in us’ (Gal 4:19) until we ‘become perfectly one; (John 17:23) in ‘the bosom of the Father’ (John 1:18).  Amen.

 

Feb. 16, Day 9 – Holy Face Novena

Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayers and Consecration

This disfigured Face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest..." --Pope Francis
This disfigured Face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest…” –Pope Francis

Daily Preparatory Prayer

Sorrowful Mother of The Holy Face
Sorrowful Mother and 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.

Ninth Day

Psalm 51: 18-21

For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a

Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York

contrite spirit.  A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.  In your goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar.

Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we say to express our gratitude?  How can we speak of our joy?  That you have deigned to hear us, that you have chosen to answer us in our hour of need.  We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted.  We know that you, in your loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of your fullness, the answer to our problems.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Sr. Lucia's vision of The Trinity at Tuy
Sr. Lucia’s vision of The Trinity

Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end.  Since you have made us after your own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to your most Holy Will, so that that after having seen you here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate you face to face, in the perfect possession of you forever in paradise.  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)

Tomorrow will be The Feast of The Holy Face  and “Act of Consecration”

In the Act of Consecration, which is very important, we will place ourselves and our families under the protection of The Face of Jesus Christ.

"Holy Face of Tours"
“Holy Face of Tours”

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine stamp, which if applied to souls, through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the Image of God.

Shroud of Turin
Shroud of Turin

Prayer to reproduce the Image of God in our souls

I salute You!  I adore you and I love you, O adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity!  Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls.  Amen.

"Il Volto Santo" Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy
“Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2Cor 3:18)