This Salutary Reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus is a Divine Work, Destined to Save Modern Society. — Pope Pius IX
Devotion to the Holy Face of Christ is of ancient origin, reaching back to the fourth century and before. From the 12th century on, the devotion began to revolve around the Veil of Veronica, held to be the cloth Veronica gave to Our Lord to wipe His face during the carrying of the Cross.
Popularity of the devotion grew enormously with St. Therese of the Child Jesus making known her devotion to the Holy Face, with an Archconfraternity of the Holy Face formed in Tours, France, in 1884. Through the centuries, a great number of saints and other holy people were deeply devoted to the Holy Face as a way to console Our Lord, to make reparation for blasphemy, the conversion of sinners, and make reparation for the negligence and contempt shown for the Blessed Sacrament.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, blasphemy is a horrible sin which consists in words or acts of contempt or malediction against God, the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, or sacred things. In addition to that, our Lord Jesus Christ warns us that there is only one sin that we can commit that God cannot forgive. That sin, would be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost:
“He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come“. [Matthew 12:30-32]
“Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin“. [Mark 3:28-29]
The person who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost places himself beyond the reach of forgiveness. This is true because the Holy Ghost is the Spirit which proceeds from the Father in the revelation of divine truth (2 Sam. 23:2; John 15:26; 16:13; Eph. 6:17; 2 Pet. 1:21). It is only through the work of the Holy Ghost that we come to know of God, our sins, the atonement provided through Christ, and our need for repentance and obedience. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is unforgivable because its source is a heart of malice, selfish preference of wrong over right, and evil over good, and a willful refusal to believe. The Pharisees had revealed that their hearts were evil, and Jesus called them a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 12:34). Such a perverse spirit consciously and deliberately rejects the truth and thus the salvation it brings.
Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for insults and blasphemies against Jesus Christ, and the Holy Name of Jesus. Act of Reparation is a prayer, or devotion with the intent to expiate the “sins of others”, e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ, or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.
The Golden Arrow Prayer by Sr Marie of St Peter
This prayer is an Act of Praise and Reparation for Blasphemy. The Face of Christ was intended to change the face of the earth. She envisioned every diocese organizing the Reparation. She saw every parish holding Sunday Devotions in honor of the Holy Face to repair for the crimes of atheism and the profanation of holy days. She saw every family exposing in their homes a picture of the Redeemer’s Sacred Face, as a symbol of their faith. It was to be a New World of Peace, first with God, and then with the neighbor. “If only more could be made to understand the meaning of the Work in that light!”
MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.
Prayer of St. Therese of Lisieux ( 1873–1897) to the Holy Face of Jesus
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 with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men. The tears which well 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 ravishes 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.
The Feast of the Holy Face, February 28, 2017 – Celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Unified with the Will of God
Masses in honor of the Holy Face appeared as early as the fourteenth century. On April 17th, 1958, His Holiness, the Venerable Pope Pius XII has extended the devotion and approved the observance of the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). His Holiness granted this Feast to honor a request of Our Lord Himself to Blessed Pierina in 1938:
See how I suffer. Nevertheless, I am understood by so few. What gratitude on the part of those who say they love Me. I have given My Heart as a sensible object of My great love for man and I give My Face as a sensible object of My sorrow for the sins of man. I desire that it be honored by a special feast on Tuesday in Quinquagesima (Shrove Tuesday – the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, or Mardi Gras, or Carnivalé). The feast will be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me uniting themselves with My sorrow.
The following Holy Face Mass is being said on the Holy Face Feast Day. Here is the Proper Mass text of the Mass in Latin and English.
Holy Face Votive Mass
Credit: Maternal Heart of Mary Traditional Latin Mass Parish, maternalheart.org
By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained. Our Lord To Sr. Marie de Saint-Pierre (November 1846)
Holy Face Devotion also includes:
(1) Novena in Honor of the Most Holy Face of Jesus , February 19-27, 2017 (9 days preceding the feast day of February 28th)
(3) The Chaplet of the Holy Face, said for the “Triumph of His Holy Church, and the downfall of her enemies.”
As it was in the days of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), our Lord said: “Francis, go and build up My house, which thou seest, is falling into ruin”, and he began by restoring physical churches and continued by building up the spiritual Church in souls, so it is now, our Lord calls us to “Restore all things to Christ!“. And “My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me”. [John 10:27]
PRAYER: O Blessed Face of my kind Savior, by the tender love and piercing sorrow of Our Lady as she beheld you in your cruel Passion, grant us to share in this intense sorrow and love so as to fulfill the holy will of God to the utmost of our ability. Amen.