Have We Lost Our Sense of Wonder?

The Transfiguration by Carl Bloch 1872

Our world is filled with amazing technology. Man can fly through the air, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, instantly throughout the globe. A person need never to suffer a moment’s boredom because we have instant gratification for our eyes and ears at our fingertips through our cell phones, computers, and television. Humanity has also never had so little peace, or silence necessary to hear the whisper of God’s voice, or so little desire to turn off the unrelenting images on screens in order to seek His Face.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “The world will never starve for want of wonders, only for want of wonder.” “When we are asked why eggs turn into birds, or fruits fall in autumn, we must answer that it is magic.” (Chesterton – “Ethics in Elfland”In other words, they are miracles, willed by God, which we have mistaken for the ordinary. What could be more ordinary, more common than a man?… and what could be a greater wonder than the Incarnation: when God became man?

“While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe:  all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human Face.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI 

God knows our human weakness; we need to see, hear, taste and touch. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor to witness His Transfiguration in glory; so they would believe that He, Jesus Christ, was also God. He gives us His Word, His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, He gives us tangible proofs of His Life, Death, and Resurrection in ongoing wonders: The Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, and the Veil of Manoppello. Scoffers abound; they always have. The cynics are ever ready to dismiss these wonders, without even taking the trouble to see them. They refuse to believe that God would leave His image on a shroud, or cloth, or veil.

What happens when mankind becomes blind to God’s wonders? Mankind then seeks substitutes for the real, but seemingly ordinary thing. The result is a deadly one, as Chesterton writes in The Everlasting Man:

 “The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug taking and dram drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins and more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded senses. They seek mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares.”

It is an apt description of the nightmare of evil that has descended upon this world; a world which has turned away from the Face of God.

But God exists, and in His infinite mercy, He continues to hold out His wonders to those with “eyes to see,” to behold, and give Him thanks. On the Feast of the Transfiguration, when Jesus’s Face was “transfigured in glory,” pilgrims from all over the world, join the people of Manoppello as they go forth  in procession  to celebrate the wonderful relic of the Face of Jesus — the Veil of Manoppello — a sign of wonder and God’s love for His children.

Banner of the Face of Christ hangs above the procession route in Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde
Hand viewed through the miraculous Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“O Lord, You are my God, I will extol and praise Your Name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness.” (Isaiah 25:1)

Face of Jesus as it appears on the Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Transfiguration Procession in Manoppello

“Lord, God of Hosts bring us back; let Your Face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Psalm 80:7) 

Banner bearing image of the Holy Veil draped in front of the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face, Il Volto Santo.
Photo: Paul BAdde/EWTN

There are three celebrations each year in Manopello, Italy to honor the relic Veil of the Holy Face: “Omnis Terra” in January, the Feast of the Holy Face in May to commemorate the arrival of the Holy Veil in Manoppello, and also on the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Paul Badde’s latest book tells in a compelling way, the amazing history of this miraculous veil, and the deep significance of the processions. The Human Face of God; The Holy Veil of Manoppello, will be soon released in October, but may be pre-ordered now on Amazon. Paul has sent these beautiful photos of the most recent Transfiguration evening procession — the lights may be seen through the transparent veil but be sure to look closely, and you will also see the image of the Holy Face!

The lights lining the streets for the evening Transfiguration Procession shine through the sheer Veil of the Holy Face being carried in its reliquary frame. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Holy Veil of Manoppello. Look closely in the center of the frame where a portion of the Holy Face may be seen.
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Evening Procession of the Holy Veil of Manoppello
Holy Face now more visible together with lights shining through the Veil near the bottom of the frame.
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“We process toward our heavenly home in the company of God.  Procession is the function of faith, which burns in our hearts and beams in our faces, and makes our voices tremulous with emotion as our ‘Lauda Sion’ bids defiance to an unbelieving world.” –Fr. Frederick W. Faber 

 

Transfigured

And He was Transfigured before them, and His Face shone like the sun… –Matthew 17:2

Transfiguration – Raphael

 

Please pray today for men and women in every vocation in life, that in seeking God’s Will, they may transfigured into the image of Christ, and become faithful witnesses to Him in the Church and in the world:

Good Father, in Christ Your Son You reveal to us Your love, You embrace us as Your children and You offer to us the possibility of discovering in Your Will the lines of our true face.

Father, help us to be holy as You are holy.  We pray You, never allow Your Church to lack holy ministers and apostles who, with the word and the sacraments, may open the way to the encounter with You. 

Merciful Father, give to lost humanity men and women who, through the witness of a life transfigured to the image of Your Son, may walk joyfully with their other brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland.

Our Father, with the voice of the Holy Spirit, and trusting in the maternal intercessions of Mary, we earnestly beseech You; send to your Church priests who will be courageous witnesses to Your infinite beauty.  Amen!

–Pope St. John Paul II, Prayer for Vocations

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

” O God, you have scattered the darkness with your light and have poured your light into our hearts so that we might look upon the radiant Face of Jesus Christ, –Nourish in us the desire to contemplate your beloved Son. –Lord, in your light may we see light.” –from Divine Office

Holy Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

The Feast of the Transfiguration

The Transfiguration by Carl Bloch
The Transfiguration by Carl Bloch

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.” (Mt 17: 1-3)

“All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.”  (2 Cor 3:18)  “And even though the gospel is veiled, it is veiled for those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.  For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:5-6)

“See how great is the love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.  Yet so we are.” “We know that when he appears, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)

There are special feasts observed by The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face throughout the Year:  Trinity Sunday, Easter, Good Friday, The Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday, The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus and today’s feast, The Transfiguration.

In your charity, please pray today for God’s abundant blessings on the monks of Silverstream Priory: Dom Benedict Maria Anderson, O.S.B., who will pronounce his solemn vows today and also for Dom Finnian Joseph King and Dom Elijah Maria Carroll, who will pronounce their temporary vows on August 15th.  May God’s Face shine upon them today and always!

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS!