March 1, 2022: THE HOLY FACE OF OUR LORD
March 1, 2022: THE HOLY FACE OF OUR LORD
[Tuesday before Ash Wednesday]
“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him, and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ; who is he that struck thee?”
(St. Matth, xxvi. 67-68)
“And I will pour out upon the house of David, and
upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced.”
(Prophecy of Zacharias, xii. 10)
[Tomorrow, Mar. 2, 2022 is ASH WEDNESDAY - Day of Fasting & Complete Abstinence.]
Almighty and merciful God, grant, we beseech Thee, that whilst venerating the Face of Thy Christ disfigured in the Passion because of our sins, we may merit to contemplate it eternally in the splendour of heavenly glory. Through the same Jesus Christ. Amen.
“And my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted,
shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”
(II Paralipomenon, vii. 14)
Prophecy of Isaias, Ch. lii. 14-15; liii. 1-4.
As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and his form among the sons of men. He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows.
According to St. Mark, Ch. xiv. 61-65.
Again the high priest asked him, and said to him: Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I AM. And you shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven. Then the high-priest rending his garments, saith: What need we any farther witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What think you? Who all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him: Prophesy: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands.
THE HOLY FACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Extracted from Manual of The Archconfraternity of The Holy Face, 1887, Approbation of Mgr the most Rev. Archbishop of Tours.
In the Old Testament mention is often made of the Face of God. In heaven, angels and cherubin adore it; upon earth, under whatever visible form it may appear, patriarchs, prophets and the just of all ages contemplate it with profound veneration and religious awe. But when the Son of God is incarnated, when the Word assumes the figure and the resemblance of man, the divine Face, in the person of Jesus, becomes an object of admiration, of respect and of love; first to Mary and Joseph, then to the disciples and to all who behold it and who appreciate its ravishing features and its ineffable beauty. At Bethlehem, at Nazareth, on Tabor, in the different states through which it passed, this august Face, the mirror of the holiest of souls and of the most tender of hearts, merits to be contemplated and adored.
It above all deserves to be so in the humiliating and sorrowful stale to which it was subjected during the Passion. Our Lord, in no other portion of his holy humanity, suffered so much as he did in his amiable Face. From the garden of Olives, where the adorable Face was covered with a sweat of blood and defiled by the traitorous kiss of Judas, to the last sigh which it exhaled at the moment of death, when it was bowed down upon the Cross, there was no species of abasement, ignominy and suffering to which Jesus did not voluntarily submit it. His head and his forehead were crowned with thorns, his eyes bathed with bitter tears, his lips steeped in gall and vinegar; blows, spittle, the most savage outrages were inflicted upon him. «We have seen him,» says the prophet, «and there was no beauty in him that we should desire him, he was despised and rejected of men.» The evangelists expressly say that the Jews spit in his Face and buffetted him and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: «Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck thee?» and, again spitting upon him, they took the reed and struck his head. These minute details, at once so expressive and affecting, were not written, and consigned to the holy Scriptures without a particular design of God. They eloquently exhort us to give, whilst meditating on the different mysteries of the Passion of the Saviour, a special attention to the aspect and the worship of his sorrowful Face.
The homage which we render to the suffering Face of the Redeemer has an eminently practical object and a very real one. It is that of offering to the Divine Majesty, which has been offended, a just reparation for the inexpressible outrages which the impiety of the present times is not afraid, whether in secret or in public, of inflicting upon the sovereignty of God, on the divinity of Jesus Christ, on all that is religious and sacred. Amongst the special crimes belonging to the time in which we live*, we must include blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday.
[*Editor’s comment: The time referred here is when this article was published in 1887. Our times, we have no reason to believe that blasphemy does not continue, on the contrary, all evil has crossed all limits.]
In our days* blasphemy is committed with unheard of audacity. Not content with outraging the most adorable and thrice holy Name of God, the modern blasphemer attacks God personally; he combats Christ in the truth of his doctrine, in the morals of his Gospel, in the practice of his Sacraments, in the rights and even in the very existence of his Church. Not to speak of gross blasphemy, properly so called, which we so often hear resounding in our ears and which seems to be vomited from out the mouth of hell, but blasphemy which assumes to be doctrinal and scientific, is uttered privately in the secret societies or pompously in public discourses; it is printed and displays itself in the light of day, in newspapers, pamphlets and books; it poisons and perverts all conditions and all ages.
The violation of Sunday does not show a less undisguised contempt for the law of God and his sovereign authority. The sanctification and repose of the [Sun]day are no longer observed except by a small number of Christians worthy of the name. Holy days are profaned with a kind of indifference, deliberately and without remorse, in the workshop of the artisan and the counting house of the merchant, in the interior of families and in public places, in populous cities and in the smallest hamlets.
The infraction of these divine commandments has risen to a state of social crime. It took place formerly, it is true; but never was it committed in so general a manner as at the present day. Evidently, such a state of things, so contrary to the fundamental economy of religion, overthrows at once the moral order of society, ruins the family to its foundations, and provokes the vengeance of Heaven. Such crimes cannot remain unpunished here below; they must be expiated, either by the scourge of divine justice or by voluntary reparation.
This reparation is an absolute and urgent necessity. At the present moment, there is not a single Catholic who does not loudly proclaim it to be so. The prosperity and peace of nations are obtainable only at this price.
What then must we do? The example given us by our enemies may serve as a lesson to us. We see them taking counsel with each other and concerting together; in free-masonry and the secret societies, men, blaspheming and profaning all that is most sacred, give each other the password, and link themselves together by an infernal compact; they have already reached the point of no longer dissimulating their projects; they form in the face of day frightful plots against the Lord and his Christ. Is not this then the moment for the children of God, for whoever has at heart the salvation of his brethren and the regeneration of society, to unite in the Name, and under the auspices of the august Face, so shamefully outraged, in order to erect a rampart against the torrents of divine anger which ceaselessly accumulate against us and threaten to overwhelm us?...
Lord has himself willed to point out to us, what is, in regard to him, the best means of reparation, first by raising up upon the road to Calvary a pious woman who offered him the solace of which he stood in need. Veronica perceives him laden with his Cross, climbing the mountain of his sacrifice; his Face soiled, wounded, bleeding. Listening only to her compassion and her piety, the courageous Israelite braves the raillery of her fellow citizens, and the brutality of the executioners, and, making her way through the crowd, draws nigh to him; she detaches the veil of fine Egyptian linen which covers her head, spreads it over the wounded Face of the Saviour, gently wipes with it his adorable Face, solacing, contorting and reanimating it. This was the first homage of reparation offered to our well beloved Redeemer on the path of sorrows; he showed his gratitude for it, and as a recompense he left on the veil of his compassionate benefactress the impression of his Holy Face in the stale to which it had been reduced.
Tradition has transmitted to us this memorable fact; it is, in the exercises of the way of the Cross, the subject of the sixth station, and the precious veil, with the miraculous image imprinted upon it, is kept, at the present day, in the Church of St. Peter at Rome, where, from time immemorial, it has been an object of supreme honour. Veronica herself, according to the communications made to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre, is given us by our Lord as the model of the reparatory souls of which our epoch stands in need upon that other Calvary which the Church is climbing in the 19th century; and her example should encourage Christians who feel themselves to be inspired with the desire to compensate the Saviour for the outrages committed against his majesty. The recompense bestowed upon her is the exterior symbol of the spiritual graces which we are sure to obtain by devoting ourselves to the work of reparation.
Another model is given us in the person of the good thief, who, from the cross as from a pulpit, spoke in defence of the cause of Christ, and confessed his divinity at the very moment when it was blasphemed by the other thief and by the multitude of the Jews. Turning a reverential and a suppliant countenance towards the sorrowful and wounded Face of Jesus: «Lord,» he said, «remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.» His prayer is granted at that very moment. The face of the Lord inclines itself towards him and his lips utter those ineffable words which ensure to this model of reparatory souls, as a supreme recompense, the immediate vision of his glorious Face: «Amen I say to thee, this day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.»
The fathers of the Church are inexhaustible in their praise of the good thief. Saint John Chrysostom, when meditating upon his faith, raises it above that of Abraham, of Moses and of Isaiah. «They,» he says, «saw Christ upon the throne and in the bosom of his glory and they believed; he sees him in the midst of torments, and he adores him as though he were in glory; he sees him on his cross, and he prays to him as though he were seated in the highest heavens; he sees a criminal, and he invokes a king...» According to the same father, the good thief became at once an «evangelist» and a «prophet» ; he preaches the Divine Crucified, he announces his eternal kingdom.
Tradition knows him under the name of Dysmas. The Roman martyrology inscribes him amongst the Saints of the 25th of March, and the Breviary, in the «Proper particular to some places», assigns him an office and indicates his feast as that of a double of the 24th of April. This prayer contains a significant expression; the Church asks: «God, who justifies sinners, to provoke us to repentance by means of the compassionate aspect of His only Son which attracted the blessed thief, and to grant us the same eternal glory.» It would be impossible to offer to the Catholics of our days, to the zelators and apostles of the Reparation, a more worthy and better authorised model.
Promises of our Lord Jesus Christ [to saints], in favour of all those who honour his Holy Face.
1. To St. Gertrude: They shall receive in themselves, by the impression of my humanity, a bright
irradiation of my Divinity, and shall be so illuminated by it in their inmost souls, that, by their likeness to my Face, they shall shine with a brightness surpassing that of many others in eternal life.
(St Gertrude, Insinuations, book IV, ch. VII.)
2. To St. Mechtilde: St Mechtilde, having asked our Lord
that those who celebrate the memory of his sweet Face should never be deprived of his amiable company, he replied: «Not one of them shall be separated from me.»
(St. Mechtilde, Of Spiritual Grace, book I, ch. XIII.)
DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS
As revealed to Sr. Mary of St. Peter
(Click here, to download the book, The Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, 1884)
“I will go and return to my place, until you are consumed,
and seek my face. In their affliction they will rise early to me.”
(Osee, v. 15; vi. 1)
Promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, Discalced Carmelite Nun of Tours, France, in favor of those who honor His Holy Face:
1. “By My Holy Face you shall work miracles.”
2. “By My Face you will obtain the conversion of many sinners.”
3. “Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused to you.”
4. “If you knew how pleasing the sight of My Face is to My Father.”
5. “As in a kingdom you can procure all you wish for with a coin marked with the King's effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven you will obtain all you desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.”
6. “Our Lord has promised me that He will imprint His divine likeness on the souls of those who honor His most holy Countenance.”
7. “All those who honor My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica.”
8. “According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemies, so will I take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint therin My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal font.”
9. “Our Lord promised me that all those who defend His cause in this work of reparation, by words, by prayers, or in writing, He will defend them before His Father; at their death He will purify their souls by effacing all the blots of sin and will restore to them their primitive beauty.”
History of the Image.
(Click here, to open the image in a new tab)
“I will give you my Face and every time that you present it to my Father, my mouth will open to plead your cause.”
(Our Lord to Sr. Mary of St. Peter)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 341 – 344.
One of these deserves a particular notice, for it contains both Reparation and the devotion to the Holy Face: the Reparatory Congregation with perpetual adoration, founded at Paris by Mademoiselle Dubouche, in religion Sister Mary Teresa.
This pious lady, a distinguished artist, (portrait painter) and at the same time a person of uncommon strength of mind, and of high moral worth, heard of the Abridgment of Facts when on a visit to Mother Isabella of St. Paul, prioress of the Carmelites at Rue d’Enfer. She was struck by what she read in this little notice, and was full of admiration for the beautiful litanies of the Holy Face which she had just received, and commenced to recite them with great devotion. “The night following (Friday),” said M. Dupont, “Our Lord appeared to her in the same suffering condition as during his Passion. The next morning Mlle. Dubouche, full of holy ardor, undertook to reproduce on canvas the disfigured and bleeding Face of Our Lord which she had beheld in her vision. She was inspired to work at this painting only on Fridays and on her knees: for four successive Fridays she toiled at this labor of love, and at the expiration of the fourth week a picture was produced such as would be creditable to our best artists. Mlle. Dubouche, laden with her precious burden hardly finished, set out for Tours, and presented herself unexpectedly at the carmelite monastery, where she found souls ready to appreciate and understand her noble heart, for Our Lord had previously said to Sister Mary St. Peter:
“I will give you my Face and every time that you present it to my Father, my mouth will open to plead your cause.”
Mlle. Debouche was received in the parlor by the mother prioress assisted by her secretary Sister Teresa of St. Joseph; and in presence of Sr. St. Peter, at the time portress, Mlle. Dubouche opened the box containing the picture set in a black frame with a gold star in each corner. Sister St. Peter was called upon by the lady to know if the picture corresponded to what she had seen; she humbly replied that the Face of Our Lord had never been shown her in a sensible manner, but that the picture was a good expression of the idea she had conceived of the suffering countenance of our Divine Lord.
To give the Community the pleasure and opportunity of beholding it, the picture was placed on the novitiate altar, and whilst the sisters were piously contemplating it, Sister Mary St. Peter approached and regarded it with such an expression of sorrow and love, that many of the sisters remained profoundly impressed thereat.
M. Dupont desired to behold this wonderful picture, and to gratify his wish, the pious artist had it brought to his house, and presented it to him herself. She very willingly gave the permission to have it copied, of which favor he was not slow in taking advantage; the first hasty but faithful copy was given to the Carmelites. It is preserved with great care in the chapter-room, above the spot where our good Sister St. Peter now reposes. Mlle. Dubouche, herself, recopied the picture several times; one of these copies is now in the chapel of St. Ursula at Tours.
THE GOLDEN DAGGER
“…He told me that he would give me a golden dagger with which to wound him delightfully, and heal the poisonous wounds caused by sin.”
(Sr. Mary of St. Peter)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 126 – 129.
At five o’clock, she commenced her evening prayer; placing herself in spirit at the foot of the cross, (according to her custom, as we have seen), she lovingly asked of Our Lord the cause of his wrath. Her Divine Master, wishing to try her, changed his usual manner, and said: “I have lent ear to your sighs, and have seen your desire to glorify me; yet, all this proceeds not from you, it is I who am the Author of all holy desires.”
The sister continues: “Then he unfolded his Heart to me, concentrating therein the powers of my soul, and addressed me thus: ‘My Name is everywhere blasphemed, even little children blaspheme it.’ And he made me understand how that dreadful sin pierced and wounded his Heart, aye, more than all other crimes. By blasphemy, the sinner outrages him to his face, attacks him openly, and pronounces upon himself his own judgment and condemnation. Blasphemy is an empoisoned dagger, wounding his Divine Heart continually; he told me that he would give me a golden dagger with which to wound him delightfully, and heal the poisonous wounds caused by sin.”
“The following is the prayer which Our Lord dictated to me, notwithstanding my unworthiness, for the reparation of blasphemy against his Holy Name: he offered it to me as a golden dagger, assuring me that every time I said it, I would wound his Heart most lovingly.”
THE GOLDEN DAGGER.
“May the most holy, the most sacred, the most adorable, the most unknown and the most inexpressible Name of God be adored, praised, blessed, loved and glorified, in heaven, on earth and in hell, by all creatures formed by his sacred hand, and by the loving Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Amen.”
The sister here suddenly interrupts her interesting narrative to explain an expression contained in this prayer.
“As I was not a little astonished when Our Lord said and in hell, he had the goodness to make me understand that his justice was there glorified. I beg to remark, that he did not only mean the place where the wicked are punished, but also purgatory, where he is loved and glorified by the suffering souls. The word hell is not merely applied to the place where the damned are confined, for our faith teaches us that the Saviour descended into hell or Limbo, where the souls of the just were detained until his Coming; and does not our holy mother the Church pray her divine Spouse to deliver the souls of her children from the gates of hell? A porta inferi erue, Domine, animas eorum.” (Office of the Dead.)
To these explanations may be added, that St. Paul, in one of his epistles, made use of the same expression in an analogical sense, saying: “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend in heaven, on earth and in hell.”
She continues: “Our Lord, having given me this golden dagger, added: ‘Beware how you appreciate this favor, for I shall demand an account of it.’ At that moment, I seemed to behold flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by this golden dagger, torrents of grace for the conversion of sinners, which sight gave me confidence to ask: My Lord, do you then hold me responsible for blasphemers?’”
MIRABILE NOMEN DEI
“Oh! would that we could understand the glory we could obtain by repeating these words: MIRABILE NOMEN DEI (Admirable is the Name of God) in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy!”
(Sr. Mary of St. Peter)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 197 – 198.
The Divine Master lent a favorable ear to the humble prayers of his servant; he revealed to her the heinousness and enormity of the sin of blasphemy. “It seems as if Our Lord said to me: ‘You cannot comprehend the abomination of this sin: if my justice were not restrained by my mercy, the guilty would be destroyed in an instant; even inanimate beings would feel my vengeance, but I have an eternity in which to punish the wicked.”
“Then he made me understand the excellence of this Work of Reparation; how far it surpassed all others, and how pleasing it was to God, to the angels, the saints and to our holy mother the Church. Oh! would that we could understand the glory we could obtain by repeating these words: MIRABILE NOMEN DEI (Admirable is the Name of God) in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy!”
Gift of God
thou didst know the GIFT OF GOD, and who He Is that saith to thee, Give Me
to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.”
(St. John, iv. 10)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 296 – 298.
“These words give me new strength and light: ‘If you but knew the gift of God!’ He enlightened me on their signification, and I commenced to penetrate the wonders of this precious Gift of the Father. Oh! what could I not obtain for myself and for my brethren if I knew how to make use of his infinite merits unknown to the majority of men! I sanctify myself for them (St. John, xvii. 19), Jesus has said to his Father. Let us then offer to this Divine Father, for the salvation of souls, all that our Redeemer has suffered for us, and we shall thereby enrich our extreme indigence. O blindness of men! who run with ardor after the treasures of earth which together cannot purchase one single soul. The Gift of God is unknown, despised; this vast treasure of Christians with which we can buy millions of souls by presenting the infinite merits of Jesus at the bank of the Divine Majesty! It seems to me that we should never present ourselves in presence of the Eternal Father without having some of the merits of his Son in our hands to oblige him, in a manner, to accomplish the admirable promise of Our Lord: ‘Verily, I say into you, whatsoever you ask of the Father in my Name shall be granted you.’ (St. John, xvi. 23) If we have no virtue of ourselves to offer God, let us present those of Jesus, our Saviour, who has sanctified himself for us. Let us offer his meekness, his patience, his humility, his poverty, his fasts, his vigils, and his zeal for the glory of his Father, and the salvation of souls! Let us offer his divine and effacious prayers. He has prayed during his mortal life; the Gospel relates that he retired at night to pray, he prayed to heaven, he presented his wounds to his Father, and he prays continually for us in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar! Oh! ineffable mystery! A God Saviour praying for his creatures! Let us unite our prayers to those of the Word Incarnate, and they shall be heard; let us again offer to the eternal Father the Divine Heart of Jesus, his adorable Face and his sacred Wounds; let us offer his tears and his blood, let us offer his journeys, his labors, his words and his silence, all he has suffered in each of the mysteries of his holy life; in fine, let us always have our eyes fixed on this ‘Gift of God.’ ”
“Let us, if we are able, enumerate all the goods we possess in this treasure unknown to the world and we shall soon become rich ourselves and shall enrich poor sinners; because we can offer the humility of Jesus for the conversion of the proud; his poverty for the avarious; his mortifications for the sensual; his zeal to glorify his Father, for the blasphemers, and all the accusations he has suffered at the hands of the Jews, especially that of violating the Sabaoth for the conversion of those who really violate the Lord’s Day.”
“O ‘Gift of God,’ so long unknown, thou shalt henceforth be my only treasure! How many new riches do I not daily discover in thee!”
Correlation between the Sacred Heart and Holy Face.
“Behold the heart which has so much loved mankind. . . and they offer me nothing but ingratitude!”
(Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 121 – 122.
The Devotion of the Holy Face emanates from that of the Sacred Heart, the one is the complement of the other[…]
M. Dupont, establishing a comparison between the revelations of Blessed Margaret Mary and those of Sr. St. Peter said: “If the Heart of Jesus is the emblem of love, his adorable Face is that of the sufferings endured for our salvation.” (Life of Mr. Dupont, vol. II,) On this subject a distinguished member of the Society of Jesus, Rev. L. P. Gros, has written the following, which furnishes matter for pious reflection: The heart is the symbol of love; the face is the living mirror of the heart; the face reveals what the heart contains, namely, love, sorrow with the other sentiments of the soul. For this reason the Church does not regard with a favorable eye the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, if the heart be isolated from the face; it is the face which authorizes us to say: behold such a one! When I have before me the face and the heart of Jesus, I have before me Jesus entire, his soul and its sentiments. Thus Jesus manifested himself to Blessed Margaret Mary, the face of Jesus in this vision, certainly was the light, the life, the word of the heart; that Face of Jesus, at Parray-le-Monial, was a dolorous face, a Holy Face. Behold the heart which has so much loved mankind. . . and they offer me nothing but ingratitude! Surely it was not joy that was then expressed on the Face of Jesus!”
Correlation between the Holy Face and the Holy Name.
“I beheld, also,… that the wicked,
in uttering profane words and in blaspheming the Holy Name of God, spat in the Divine Face of Our Lord and covered it with filth”
(Sr. Mary of St. Peter)
Below is an excerpt from Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, pages 244 – 247.
Sr. Mary of St. Peter: “I understood that as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the visible object offered to our admiration to represent his immense love in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, likewise, in the Work of Reparation, the Face of Our Lord is the sensible object offered for the adoration of the associates, to repair the outrages of blasphemers who attack the Divinity, of which it is the figure, the mirror and the image. In virtue of this adorable Face, offered to the Eternal Father, we can appease his anger and obtain the conversion of blasphemers.” The co-relation existing between the devotion to the Sacred Heart and that of the Holy Face, could not have been better expressed. The Holy Face is a picture of the Divinity outraged by the opprobrium, of blasphemers, as the Sacred Heart is a picture of the immense love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
The sister was also favored with another light. “Our Lord” said she, “showed me that the Church, his Spouse, is his mystical body, and that religion is the face of this body; then he showed me this face as the butt of all the scoffs coming from the enemies of his Holy Name; and I saw that blasphemers and sectarians renew in this holy face, all the opprobrium of the Passion. I beheld, also, by this divine light, that the wicked, in uttering profane words and in blaspheming the Holy Name of God, spat in the Divine Face of Our Lord and covered it with filth; that all the blows aimed at the Church and at Religion by sectarians, were the renewal of the numberless buffets which our Divine Lord received in his Holy Face, and that these unfortunate wretches drew forth perspiration in drops of blood from his Divine Face, by thus maliciously destroying his works.”
The word religion, employed here to signify the face of the mystic body of Jesus Christ, is easily explained. We may understand it to mean the doctrine of Jesus Christ, which teaches us what we are obliged to believe and practise, and the worship which we must render to God. Religion, in this sense of the word, is the face of the Church, because her doctrine renders visible the features by which we recognize her even as we distinguish and recognize a person by the features of his countenance. This face of the Church is, at the same time, the Face of Jesus Christ; for the Church can have but one head, which is Jesus Christ, and consequently but one face which is likewise that of Jesus. Finally, in a mystic sense, it can be said that the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that is the Christian religion, is as much his face as that of the Church, because it is by this doctrine that we recognize him as he is himself. Therefore the expression inspired to the sister, justifies itself, and we can but admire the nicety and depth of the word.
Nothing, therefore, could be more conformable to the spirit of Reparation which Our Lord proposes to himself. In our days, more than ever before, the face of his mystic body, the Church, is the butt of all the outrages of his enemies. Sectarians vomit forth their blasphemies into his face, as so much ignoble filth; they launch at her a thousand injurious invectives, even falsehoods which recall to mind the buffets received by the Saviour during his Passion; thus do they seek to destroy his labors; and after the lapse of centuries since the time he passed in the world, ‘doing good,’ they exult in their endeavors to overthrow what he has established, and to counteract the fruits of the salvation brought to man. This face of the Church, also, stands in need of being consoled and comforted, and we are not surprised that Christ has repeated to his servant, the request already made in favor of his Spouse, placed like him on the road to Calvary.
“Then, at this sight,” she continued, “our Lord Jesus Christ said to me: ‘I seek for more Veronicas to console and adore my Divine Face, which has but few worshippers.’ He made me understand anew, that all those who devoted themselves to this work of Reparation, would perform the same office as Veronica. After which he addressed to me the following consoling words: I give you my Holy Face as a recompense for all the services you have rendered me for the past two years; you have done but little, it is true, but your heart has conceived great designs; therefore, I give you this Face in presence of my Eternal Father, in virtue of the Holy Ghost, and in sight of the angels and saints; I present you this gift by the hands of my Holy Mother, and of St. Veronica, who will teach you how to honor it. Our Lord continued: ‘By this Face, you will perform prodigies.’ ”
SUMMARY OF PRAYERS
Act of Reparation for Blasphemy (The Golden Dagger)
May the most holy, the most sacred, the most adorable, the most unknown and the most inexpressible Name of God be adored, praised, blessed, loved and glorified, in heaven, on earth and in hell, by all creatures formed by his sacred hand, and by the loving Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
• Eternal Father, I offer Thee the adorable Face of Thy beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Holy Name, for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of dying souls.
• Eternal Father, I ask of Thee as many souls as was the number of the drops of Blood as Thy Divine Son shed in His Passion. (She was given a vision of Hell and the multitude of souls falling in, and was invited to pray for poor sinners. Dec. 21, 1846).
• Eternal Father, I offer Thee Our Savior, Jesus Christ for the expiation of my sins and for the needs of Holy Church.
• Our Lord told Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre on March 16, 1844, “Oh if you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once, ‘Admirable is the Name of God,’ in the spirit of reparation of blasphemy.” (say often)
• Be merciful to us, O my God and reject not our prayers, when amid our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face.
• Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with Blood, Sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers and by the profaners of His Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday.
Taken from: Manual of
The Archconfraternity of The Holy Face, 1887, Approbation of Mgr the most Rev. Archbishop of Tours;
The Life of Sister Mary St. Peter Carmelite of Tours, 1884;
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“Arise, why sleepest thou. O Lord? arise, and cast us
not off to the end. Why turnest thou thy face away? and forgettest our want and our trouble? For our soul is humbled down to the dust: our belly cleaveth to the earth. Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for thy name’s sake.”
(Ps, xliii. 23-26)
“Turn not away thy face from me; decline
not in thy wrath from thy servant.”
(Ps, xxvi. 9)
“Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.”
(Ps, lxxxiii. 10)
“Convert us, O God: and shew us thy face, and we shall be saved.”
(Ps, lxxix. 4)