On April 17, 1958 Pius XII confirmed the Feast of The Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In doing so this blessed Pope reminded us of this important devotion in a world which increasingly turns its collective face from The Almighty
Two Nuns and a Message
In the mid 1800s, Our Lord spoke to Sister Marie Pierre of the blessings of a devotion to The Holy Face to be practiced on every Tuesday of the year. In the 1930s, Our Lord again spoke to Sister Maria Pierina requesting that a feast day and novena be instituted in devotion to His Holy Face. The significance of these two nuns chosen to carry this mission lies in their names, which both mean "Mary of Peter." In that combined name lie the two prongs of this devotion.
Two Who Gazed Upon The Face
First and foremost, we have Mary His Blessed Mother, who not only gave Jesus His Sacred Holy Human Face but was the firs to gaze upon it! Secondly, we have Peter the chosen Head of The Church who gazed upon That Face in denial, yet loved and trusted God enough to dare to face Christ again in sorrow and contrition.
Two Cloths and One Image
Continuing the dual nature of this devotion, we have Veronica's Veil and The Holy Shroud of Turin upon which Our Lord's Sacred Face was engraved. The first cloth the subject of paintings upon which we can now gaze, and the second cloth the subject of both countless scientific inquiries and photographs upon which we can now gaze as well. It is almost as if the Shroud is the modern-day Veil, and thus the dual nature continues.
But what do both of these images have in common? Were they not both created during that most Sacred Sacrifice and Passion? Are they not therefore a frozen image of this core of Catholic faith?
A Map of His Sacrifice
It has been said that a face is the map of the person, telling us much about their temperament, background, age, family, genetic roots, wisdom, joys, and sufferings.
Is not Our Lord's Sacred Face likewise? Does it not tell us much about Him? Does it not, in fact, correlate what we have been told? Does not that Sacred Face show us the suffering, the wounds, the travails inflicted upon It by cruel men? Do not the lines of that face, the outlines, the impressions and elevations, not present us with a map of The Passion itself, with both a reminder and a warning, both pity and love, both violence and peace? Do we not in fact see His Humanity wrapped around His Divinity? Just as a map shows us where we have been, what we have done, where we are, where we can go, and where in fact we are going, does not His Holy Face at once tell us this about our souls, about our lives, and about our eternal salvation?
If a face is used to obtain passport identification, should we not use His Face to obtain identification for our eternal passports? Just as we may not be allowed into places because of a lack of identification as depicted in a formal image of our face, can we not lose entry into salvation because of a lack of identification with His Face, His suffering, His mission, and His story?
Most Powerful and Needed Weapon
In the booklet "The Three Days of Darkness" The Holy Face is identified as the key devotion to pray during The End Times and, make no mistake about it, we are in The End Times! The Holy Face has been cited as a powerful weapon against sacrileges, blasphemies, hatred of The Catholic Church and The Popes, the corruption of The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass, immodesty, the abuse of the Sacraments, the lack of faith, premarital sex, abortion, lust, pornography, pedophilia, homosexuality, the desecration of churches, altars and statues, and many other outrageous blasphemies inflicted upon our society. Do not these evils rings like the morning paper? It is obvious that we need to increase our devotion to The Holy Face more everyday, as this is a much needed instrument by which we may combat the spiritual and temporal evils of our time.
A Faceless Society
This society so intoxicated in secular humanism, New Age religion, hedonism, materialism, modernism, feminism, sodomy, and all manner of foul evils showers us with its many faces of sin on a daily basis, yet its smiling, mocking faces are mere masks to the perdition being sold. The society which so prides itself in adorning, reshaping, and rejuvenating its faces has only succeeded in creating a mockery of decency, integrity, love, compassion, forgiveness, entertainment, and humanity itself. This society that enjoys extreme makeovers aimed at seeking some materialistic narcissism fancies itself the purveyor of youth, vigor, and beauty. Despite this illusion, this society does not, cannot face its own lies and deceptions and simply conceals its shallowness and superficiality behind masks of temporary distraction and mindless dribble and drivel.
It is truly ironic that a society so obsessed with beauty and detail should be so immersed in faceless autonomy, faceless responsibility, and faceless rule by mindless axioms which bow to majorities and faceless moral measures. It is likewise ironic that a society which adorns its superficial decorations with human faces and its human faces with so much superficial decorations should be so averse to facing its weaknesses, its liabilities, its drawbacks. It is in this environment that The Holy Face of Our Lord speaks of genuine love, sacrifice, compassion and suffering. This society which draws a veil over its moral eye ignores Veronica's Veil. This society which is dead to reverence and respect for God squints at The Shroud of Turin. This society which is full of the shallow, the false, and the counterfeit pretends to measure and judge the transcendence, the authenticity, and the value of The Shroud of Turin. The faceless society with the mindless conscience and the clueless soul looks away from The Face of its Lord Who is its only path, its only chance, its only option for salvation!
The Holy Face is at once the core, the guide, the map, the path, and the goal of our Catholic faith. It represents the why to our purpose and the where to our travel. Its power mirrors the needs of our falling world, and its image touches our deepest faith.
In a society that daily turns its face away from its God; we must gaze upon He Who is our sole purpose and always turn our gaze, our face upon our God, our Savior, as well as where that Face was molded - in the Living Tabernacle - of the Immaculate Blessed Mother! Ark of the Covenant.
Our Lord imparted to Sr. Mary of St. Peter in November 1846 during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX the following promise: "By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will he obtained." He also conveyed Seven Promises to those who faithfully 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 therein 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."
For more on this devotion, go to CatholicTradition.org.