During Lent of 2016, Paul Badde lay in an induced coma for many weeks following a stroke and heart surgery. Although he was completely still in the state of a coma, he was also somehow aware of the holocausts of prayer lifted up to heaven on his behalf. God was not done with Paul; his mission had barely begun…
God lays the groundwork for our missions in life in such mysterious ways. Paul’s expertise as an art historian, and journalist led he and his wife to spend many years in the Holy Land, praying, researching, and soaking up those places where Jesus lived, walked, preached, suffered, died and rose from the dead. His path led to Rome, and took a life-changing turn in the little mountain village of Manoppello, Italy, where he came face-to face with the mysterious veil bearing the Holy Face off Jesus known as “Il Volto Santo.”
Years later, after much research, and many books about this remarkable veil, pilgrims from around the world have been drawn to see for themselves the mystery of light that is the living image of the Face of Jesus, “Il Volto Santo,” that exists on a whisper-thin veil that is sheer enough to read a newspaper through.
When one seeks the Face of Jesus, the greatest help in the journey is to be accompanied by His Mother, Mary, who sought the Face of her Son every moment of her life. Paul had taken to heart the words of his hero, Pope St. John Paul II, when he placed the New Millennium under “the Radiant sign of the Face of Christ:”
“To contemplate the Face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the ‘program’ which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium…It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine also before new generations of the new millennium. Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His Face.”
Pope St. John Paul II
And here is Paul’s labor of love, and gift to be shared — an aid to the contemplation of the Face of Jesus with Mary in praying the Rosary: “Stones and Pearls” a video series that is now available free on EWTN. Each mystery is presented biblically, beautifully, and individually, at each place of the mysteries in the life of Jesus, from the Incarnation to the Coronation. Filmed in the Holy Land and related Holy sites from around the world, the viewer is invited to join Paul on Pilgrimage to these Holy places in Jesus’s life. Paul’s insightful commentary has been translated from German to English, and the mysteries are enhanced visually by stunning works of art as well. This series has taken my own contemplation of the mysteries of Rosary to a greater understanding and depth, for which I am very grateful.
All the gifts of God are for the benefit of the whole Church and the world, so have a look at “Stones and Pearls” and enjoy!… As we contemplate, and pray the Rosary, for peace, and every intention of our hearts, we can be confident that God will “seek out the lost,” and fulfill every promise contained in each Mystery, and with each “Hail Mary.”
Update: EWTN Bookmark Interview with Paul Badde by Doug Keck may now be viewed (scroll down for Youtube video)
What if you had discovered something that was beyond incredible–something that was, in fact, supernatural–drawing you more deeply in love with Jesus Christ? Would you be willing to suffer skepticism, mockery, and even hostility from others in order to share this treasure of love and mercy with the world? Well, something like that does exist: It is called the Veil of Manoppello, and Satan is enraged, because this fragile veil is turning souls toward the Face of God.
During Holy Week we will have an opportunity to learn more about the Holy Veil, and are invited to share this precious gift with others — EWTN will air The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppello. And beginning on Easter Sunday, EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck will interview Paul Badde about his recent book, The Holy Veil of Manoppello. (Details on days and times are listed below.) Though skeptics abound, those who have actually made the pilgrimage to see it with their own eyes have this to say about the miraculous relic of a veil displayed for all the world to “come and see” in the Sanctuary Basilica of Manoppello:
“The Face of Christ is the first, the noblest, and the most precious treasure of the whole of Christendom — more, of the whole earth.” –Archbishop Ganswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household
“Here in Manoppello we meet the face of God face to face, and when we look at Him, His gaze cleanses and heals us, God be blessed.” –Robert Cardinal Sarah
“The Face is the monstrance of the heart. In the Holy Face the heart of God becomes visible.”
–Joachim Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne
“My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound. It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real. I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image. It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting. It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus. The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating. My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.” — Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
Much remains hidden from the wise and prudent, that God however does reveal to lesser minds in the humility of Faith. Gazing into the most holy face of Jesus, as it was traced into the sudarium on his head, should give us new strength that our life may hold true in the eyes of God. For we believe and know that we will one day see God through and in Christ, the image of God, “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12) –Gerhard Cardinal Müller
“I saw the Holy Face under the changing of the light, not only a Face of tenderness, but of welcoming. I saw a Face smiling at me, almost saying, “Welcome Luis Antonio!” It is a Face that speaks, it is alive, yes, it is the message, the Word is the Face, It is also a Face turned towards me, but I did not feel fear, fear in front of a judge, or of a face which condemns. A Face of Truth, and the Truth is love, love wins out over fear.”
“It is not an object of another time; it is the icon of the eternal Face, the Face of goodness and of friendship, of mercy and of peace. The Face that speaks, that examines, that asks, that awaits a response. It seems to say: ‘Look at me, you who are tired. Come to me and I will give you rest.’…We fix our gaze on the Holy Face and we will be transformed by God’s mercy. The sign is not an end in itself; the sign is a pointer on the way of the return, the return to the Father.” –Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat
The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppellowill air on EWTN:
Monday, April 15 at 8:00 am ET
Good Friday, April 19 at 2:00 am ET
Holy Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 am ET
I only wish this fascinating interview were longer! “It is much more easy to believe that God is dead than the living God and Resurrected Christ.” Paul’s comment hits the nail on the head about the current crisis of faith, and the deep significance of the meaning of the reappearance of this holy relic of the Face of Christ in Manoppello.
EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck – Interview with author Paul Badde on his book The Holy Veil of Manoppello will air:
Easter Sunday, April 21 at 9:30 am ET
re-airing on Easter Monday, April 22 at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm ET, and the following Saturday, April 27 at 1:30 pm. It will also be broadcast on EWTN Radio (See local times)
Wishing you all a very blessed Holy Week and Easter!
Basilica of the Holy Face, Manoppello 21 May 2017 Sixth Sunday of Easter [Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; I Peter 3:15-18, John 14:15-21] + Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We thank our God, who, always filled with love and benevolence towards us, has gathered us as one family of faith for the solemn celebration of the Holy Face of Manoppello. I bring you warm greetings and wishes of peace from the Philippines, where the devotion to the Holy Face is alive, vibrant and widespread. Celebrating the Eucharist with you on this sixth Sunday of Easter gives me great joy.
In the Gospel that we just listened to, Jesus told His disciples, “In a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me, because I live and you will live.” These words are fulfilled now in our assembly, in our hearing. We see Jesus’ Face now. We can see Him because He is alive, He is in our midst now. And seeing His Face, we do not die, contrary to the fear of the people of old that seeing the Face of God would mean death for them. On the contrary, seeing Jesus’ Holy Face we draw the life and energy which comes from Him. This is a profound blessing granted to us, now. This gives us a foretaste of eternal life, where we hope to behold the Face of God in eternal contemplation and adoration. Seeing Jesus, we live!
How could it be possible for us to see Jesus? As sinners, we do not have the merit nor the right to see His Face. But we see Him and we live! How could this happen? The answer comes from Jesus in the Gospel of today, “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” Strictly speaking, we do not see the Face of Jesus. It is more accurate to say that He reveals His Face to us. He shows His Face, and so we see. This is pure grace. This is pure and total love on the part of Jesus. He manifests His Face, His true self, for no other reason than for the love He has for us. Allow me to share with you three points useful for reflection.
First, when Jesus shows His Face to us, He does not look at His own Face. He looks at us. Even our daily experience, when we show our face to other people, we look at them, not at ourselves. This is love: in showing my face I become someone who sees others, who hears others, who understands others, who feels for others. Showing one’s face means that I spend less time looking at my own face, my activities, my needs, my comfort or wellbeing, my interests, and instead that I devote more time to looking at the face of others, of those who suffer. This is the love that the Holy Face of Jesus shows us. He is interested in us, He is for us, He looks at us more than He looks at Himself. The devotees of the Holy Face must be like Him. Is our gaze directed only at ourselves, our immediate group, those closest us us or are we learning from Jesus who penetrates the hearts of others with His loving gaze?
Second, the Face of Jesus, a loving and other-centered face is also a face that speaks. Even when our lips do not utter “audible” words, our face can speak “visible” words. He said in the Gospel, “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.” His Face is not only seen but heard. Jesus’ Face is the human face of the Word of God, now heard and seen especially in His Commandments. In our time, people look at rules as something negative. But the Commandments of the Lord are not burdens to make our life more difficult, not tools to destroy our freedom, not mechanisms of condemnation of our weak and fragile persona. His Commandments are paths to peace, liberty and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Face we see the person who fulfilled the commandment to love God above all and one’s neighbor as oneself. His Commandments are visible in Him who told us, “Come to Me…Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke, in Face, is easy and My burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). The devotees of the Holy Face are called to listen attentively to Jesus who is the visible Word of peace, of freedom, of forgiveness and of love.
Finally, what we have seen and heard, we must share with others. In the first reading, Philip proclaimed in Samaria the Jesus that he had seen and heard. His preaching was accompanied by visible signs of healing and liberation. The Face of Jesus was seen and heard in Philip’s testimony. In the second reading, Peter tells those who are undergoing trials and persecution to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in them. The answer is simple: Jesus! He is our sure hope. His love for us and triumph over death is the reason why we have hope. But Peter reminds us to proclaim our hope with gentleness and respect, with a clear conscience and integrity of life, with readiness to suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil. In other words, we best proclaim Jesus if others see and hear Jesus in us.
We see the Face of Jesus because He reveals His Face to us, the Face of the loving God. His is the Face of God turned towards us and not centered on Himself. His is the Face of the One who fulfilled the commandment of love. As we see and hear His Face may our faces be transformed into His Holy Face. Through the testimony of our faces, may the suffering people of the world know that Jesus sees them, listens to them, cares for them and loves them. Amen.
My grateful thanks to Paul Badde/EWTN for sharing his beautiful photos and to Raymond Frost for the English translation of Cardinal Tagle’s inspiring homily.
“what we have seen and heard we must share with others”–Cardinal Tagle
More on Cardinal Tagle’s visit to Manoppello “The Face of Truth” by Antonio Bini may be read (here).