The Holy Face of Jesus

Face of Jesus.jpg

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent, the period of forty days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. It is a time of embracing our crosses with renewed fervour in a spirit of self denial and repentance. Our fasting from food and worldly comforts helps increase our hunger for the spiritual life, for God. What better way to prepare for this penitential season than to gaze upon the Holy Face of Jesus whose feast the Church celebrates today…

The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus dates back to ancient times, and there have been many saints who meditated on it. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII gave ecclesiastical approval to devotion and in 1958 Pope Pius XII decreed that this Feast should be celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Demons revealed to St Athanasius that the prayer they feared the most and which sent them fleeing in terror is:  “Arise O Lord. Let Thy enemies be scattered. Let them that hate Thee flee before Thy Holy Face.” (Psalm 67:1). Let us offer this prayer frequently in reparation for the most grievous sin of blasphemy.

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: May He cause the light of His Countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us. (Psalm 66:2).

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FACE

O Jesus, Who in Thy bitter Passion didst become “the most abject of men, a man of sorrows,” I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead … but now it has become for me as if it were the Face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy Infinite Love and I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men.
The tears which well up abundantly in Thy Sacred Eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value. O Jesus, Whose adorable Face ravished my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.
 (St Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face)
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