“The Face of the Bride of Christ”

Our Lady of Sorrows

The Catholic Church recently has been rocked with a seismic shock which has rattled it to its foundation due to the clergy sex abuse scandals. In particular, the scandal of the former Cardinal McCarrick has moved the well-respected, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Vigano, to act: troubled in conscience, and no longer able to keep silent in hopes that those in authority would remedy the evils that have beset the Church for decades, he felt compelled to bear witness.  The goal of his straight forward testimony was clear:

Our Lady of Czestochowa, her face slashed by the sword of an enemy of the Church.

“To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes…”

He went on to relate his personal experience, of evil uncovered, and frustration that it has continued for so long. “…and if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths we have kept hidden. We must tear down the conspiracy of silence with which bishops and priests have protected themselves at the expense of their faithful, a conspiracy of silence that in the eyes of the world risks making the Church look like a sect, a conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia. “Whatever you have said in the dark…shall be proclaimed from the housetops.” (Lk:12:3)

“The first reaction to truth is hatred,” said Tertullian.  Not surprisingly, the attacks against Archbishop Vigano were mounted immediately.  Despite this, many bishops have attested to the personal integrity of the Archbishop, and have called for investigation to discover the truth.  But, make no mistake, it will be a battle that lasts until the end of time.
The filth that has so long marred the face of the Church, is at the same time an attack by Satan on “The Woman,”  Mary, who symbolizes the Church, holy and immaculate–the Bride of Christ.
As the truth is made known, the “smoke of Satan” that has entered the Church, will begin to clear, and the Bride of Christ will once again be fully revealed in all her beauty. But for now, it is time to hold fast to the truth, turning toward the Face of Christ in prayer, reparation, and perseverance in faith, hope and love.
One of our local pastors, who has been deeply aggrieved over the scandals that have come to light, turned to Our Lord in prayer.  He said that as he prayed the image of Our Lady of Sorrows came to his mind, over and over again. So, he has asked his parish to join him, in prayer and adoration, before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows to make reparation for the evils in the Church. Public reparation such as this is a wonderful idea. Please pray for all our good priests and bishops who, like Christ, are suffering so much for the sins of other priests who betrayed their sacred vows.  And pray especially for all victims of these heinous crimes.

AN ACT OF REPARATION FOR BLASPHEMIES
AGAINST THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The pure and immaculate infant Mary
Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

“How fair you are, O Virgin Mary, Your face is resplendent with grace.”

“Our Lady in whose face – more than in any other creature – we can recognize the features of The Incarnate Word.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI

Most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, turn thine eyes in pity upon us, miserable sinners; we are sore afflicted by the many evils that surround us in this life, but especially do we feel our hearts break within us upon hearing the dreadful insults and blasphemies uttered against thee, O Virgin Immaculate, to which we are so frequently constrained to listen. O how these impious sayings offend the infinite Majesty of God and of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ! How they provoke His indignation and give us cause to fear the terrible effects of His vengeance! Would that the sacrifice of our lives might avail to put an end to such outrages and blasphemies; were it so, how gladly we should make it, for we desire, O most holy Mother, to love thee and to honor thee with all our hearts, since this is the will of God. And just because we love thee, we will do all that is in our power to make thee honored and loved by all men. In the meantime, do thou, our merciful Mother, the supreme comforter of the afflicted, accept this our act of reparation which we offer thee for ourselves and for all our families, as well as for all who impiously blaspheme thee, not knowing what they say. Do thou obtain for them from Almighty God the grace of conversion, and thus render more manifest and more glorious thy kindness, thy power and thy great mercy. May they join with us in proclaiming thee “Blessed Among Women,” the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God.

Hail Mary (three times)

 

 

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)