“Sentinels of the Dawn” With Mary

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

+++

“May the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his Face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).

 

“This blessing was fulfilled in the Virgin Mary. No other creature ever basked in the light of God’s face as did Mary; she in turn gave a human face to the Son of the eternal Father. Now we can contemplate with her in the succession of joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of her life, which we revisit in our recitation of the rosary.” — Pope Francis

When he placed the New Millennium under “the Radiant sign of the Face of Christ” Pope St. John Paul II wrote: “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

The Rosary is a traditional Christian prayer directed to the contemplation of Christ’s Face. “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul,” says Pope St. John Paul II, “and runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ.” To recite the Rosary, which can be called a compendium of the Gospel, Pope St. John Paul II says, “is to contemplate the Face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, His Most Holy Mother…Against the background of the words of the Ave Maria the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul. They take shape in the complete series of the joyful, [luminous,] sorrowful and glorious mysteries, and they put us in living communion with Jesus through–we might say through the heart of his Mother…The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation…To look upon the Face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and sufferings of His human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father; this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ’s Face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul’s words can then be applied to us:

‘Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into His likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.’” (Rosarium Virginus Mariae)

“With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true Face of Jesus the Savior, resplendent at Easter.” –Pope Francis


Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus

Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. 
+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

Overcoming the Trial

“Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial,” — Pope Francis 

Painting of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus by Margaret Farr

 

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
to the Faithful for the Month of May 2020

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of May is approaching, a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.

For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.

I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial. I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection I send you my blessing.

 

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist

FRANCIS

Salus Populi Romani

First Prayer

O Mary,
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.
“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
Amen.
We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions 
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

 

Blessed Mother and Jesus, Basilica Shrine ion the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde

Second Prayer

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

+++

“O God, be gracious and bless us, and let Your Face shed its light upon us. So will your ways be known upon earth, and all nations learn your saving help.” (Psalm 67)

The byssus Veil of Manoppello, which is thought to be one of the burial cloths of Jesus, photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus

Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

Unmasking the Devil – The Dawn of Victory

Truth is painful, sometimes horribly painful, to the innocent as well as the guilty. It is felt in the tremendous suffering it has caused in the Body of Christ by scandal. But, in spite of the pain, an old saying comes to mind; “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” The time of telling truth is here, because where Jesus, the Truth, is present — evil is unmasked.

“Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Thee flee from before Thy Face!” (Psalm 67, and prayer of the Little Chaplet of the Holy Face)

As the evil in the Church is exposed, Satan’s ugly face is exposed with it.  To the faithful this suffering may feel like utter defeat, but in reality it is the dawn of victory.  Many seemingly unanswered prayers of the little, unknown, and powerless souls, who for years upon years have had no one to hear them but God, are now being answered. It can be extremely discouraging to pray in emptiness — to pray day after day, year after year, and see nothing change — but don’t stop praying! Never stop praying!  It is not futile, as the devil would like you to believe.

Each time you pray the Rosary — contemplating the Face of Jesus in the Gospels together with His Mother Mary — Jesus’s Face shines in the world!  Each time you pray the  Little Chaplet of the Holy Face,  “For the triumph of the Church and the downfall of its enemies,” you not only wipe the Face of Jesus, as did St. Veronica, in reparation for the blasphemy and sacrilege which has occurred, but at the same time the devil is driven away “like smoke is driven away!” When you pray the  St. Michael  prayer, his angelic voice rings through the heavens, “Who is like God?!” and Satan is cast down into hell!

St. Michael, Old St. Patrick’s New Orleans (photo: Patricia Enk)

Sr. Marie St. Pierre, the Discalced Carmelite nun who received revelations about devotion to the Holy Face, understood well the relationship between the Holy Face of Jesus and His Holy Name.  To do battle against the enemies of the Church, the weapon she chose was the Holy Name:

“May God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before His Holy Face!

May the thrice-holy Name of God overcome all their plans! 

May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements!

May the terrible Name of the God of Eternity stamp out all their Godlessness!”

These imprecations are often recited at the conclusion of the Little Chaplet of the Holy Face.

And because God wills not the death of a sinner, but that they be converted and live, she also prayed the words of Christ from the Cross:

“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

Yes, Christians must pray not only for those who have caused scandal but that “they be converted and live.” They themselves must also live the Beatitudes, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  To do this is to have the Face of Jesus Christ painted in our own souls so that we may give witness to Him by our lives.

Finally, “bless and do not curse.” Build up the wounded body of Christ with the greatest and most beautiful blessing of the Church:

“This is how they are to call down my name on the sons of Israel and I will bless them…

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 towards you and grant you His peace!” (Numbers 6:22-27)

This is “the most beautiful work under the sun” — devotion to the Face of Christ.  It is the means by which we can unmask the devil and make the Face of God shine in this darkened world.

Holy Face of Jesus of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

 

Fatima – The Blessing Fulfilled in Mary

“With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true Face of Jesus the Saviour, resplendent at Easter. Thus may we rediscover the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.”–Pope Francis, canonization Mass of Jacinta & Francisco -homily

Pope Francis gave this address to the pilgrims at Fatima at the Rosary Procession and Vigil, teaching us to seek the Face of God with Mary, who, as “no other creature…basked in the light of the Face of God”:  

Pope Francis at Fatima Vigil

Dear Pilgrims to Mary and with Mary!

Thank you for your welcome and for joining me on this pilgrimage of hope and peace. Even now, I want to assure all of you who are united with me, here or elsewhere, that you have a special place in my heart. I feel that Jesus has entrusted you to me (cf. Jn 21:15-17), and I embrace all of you and commend you to Jesus, “especially those most in need” – as Our Lady taught us to pray (Apparition of July, 1917). May she, the loving and solicitous Mother of the needy, obtain for them the Lord’s blessing! On each of the destitute and outcast robbed of the present, on each of the excluded and abandoned denied a future, on each of the orphans and victims of injustice refused a past, may there descend the blessing of God, incarnate in Jesus Christ.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).

This blessing was fulfilled in the Virgin Mary. No other creature ever basked in the light of God’s face as did Mary; she in turn gave a human face to the Son of the eternal Father. Now we can contemplate her in the succession of joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of her life, which we revisit in our recitation of the rosary.

With Christ and Mary, we abide in God. Indeed, “if we want to be Christian, we must be Marian; in a word, we have to acknowledge the essential, vital and providential relationship uniting Our Lady to Jesus, a relationship that opens before us the way leading to him” (PAUL VI, Address at the Shine of Our Lady of Bonaria, Cagliari, 24 April 1970). Each time we recite the rosary, in this holy place or anywhere else, the Gospel enters anew into the life of individuals, families, peoples and the entire world.

Pilgrims with Mary… But which Mary? A teacher of the spiritual life, the first to follow Jesus on the “narrow way” of the cross by giving us an example, or a Lady “unapproachable” and impossible to imitate? A woman “blessed because she believed” always and everywhere in God’s words (cf. Lk 1:42.45), or a “plaster statue” from whom we beg favours at little cost? The Virgin Mary of the Gospel, venerated by the Church at prayer, or a Mary of our own making: one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God; one sweeter than Jesus the ruthless judge; one more merciful than the Lamb slain for us?