Archive for the ‘Confraternity of the Holy Face’ Category
On April 17th, 1958, His Holiness, the Venerable Pope Pius XII 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.”
DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS:
This ancient and venerable Catholic practice is rooted in the representation of the Face of Christ said to have been left on the towel or veil used by a holy woman thought to be named Veronica. Through the revelations made in the 1840’s to the Servant of God, Sister Marie of Saint-Pierre and the Holy Family (1816-1848), a Carmelite Nun of Tours, and the work of spreading the devotion by the Venerable Leo Dupont (1797 – 1876) , a layman of Tours, the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was established in Tours, France in 1884. The members make reparation for the blasphemies hurled at Christ, especially those which blaspheme the Holy Name, and for the profanation of Sundays and Holydays of Obligation. Since St. Therese’s devotion to the Holy Face has become known, this devotion has spread worldwide.
In addition, a devout and pious nun, Blessed Mary Pierina de Micheli (1890-1945), was given many visions of the Lord Jesus and Our Blessed Lady. They urged her to make reparation for the many insults Jesus suffered in His Passion, such as to be slapped, spit upon and kissed by Judas, as well as now being dishonored, by ordained and lay persons alike, in the Blessed Sacrament through neglect, sacrilege, and profanation.
Reparation is the “unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified” (Bl. John Paul II).
The Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus will be celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, February 21st with the Proper Mass of the Feast followed by Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament- concluding with Benediction at 2:30pm. The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday will be in reparation for those who fail to attend the Holy Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation, and in supplication for their return to the regular practice of the Catholic Faith.
Domine memento mei cum veneris in regnum tuum.
Amen dico tibi hodie mecum eris in paradiso.
In today’s Gospel (Ordinary Form, Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King), we hear the encounter between Our Lord and the good thief, who asks the dying Jesus: “Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom.” The Merciful Savior responds: “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”
All that we know with any authority about St. Dismas (the name given by tradition to the good thief) is what we have from Sacred Scripture and ancient tradition. Tradition tells us that his name was Dismas and that he was the good thief who was crucified next to Our Lord on Good Friday:
+ The soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, and saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.” And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise. (St. Luke 23: 36-43).
However, there is a story, which is not substantiated and considered myth, which comes from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. The story is that the two thieves who ended up on each side of Christ at His crucifixion actually had a run-in with the Holy Family when Jesus was just an infant. In this story, the thieves held up Mary and Joseph as they were fleeing to Egypt with the infant Jesus to escape Herod’s soldiers. Apparently Dismas bribed the other thief, named Gestas, with forty drachmas to not harm the Holy Family. At this point in the tale, the Infant Jesus predicted that the thieves would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. Again, this story is not substantiated and is considered myth.
Again, the only valid information we have on Dismas is the account in Saint Like’s Gospel.
Questions frequently arise from this Scripture verse concerning Dismas. One usually posed from non-Catholics is that the good thief (Dismas) was taken to heaven and was apparently not baptized, surmising that this must mean baptism is not necessary for salvation. Another question concerns good works. If this man apparently lived a life of sin and was being crucified for his sins, thereby not able to do anything good before his death, how is it he could go straight to heaven?
In response to these questions, the Catholic Church teaches that in cases where there is no baptism of water, there may be a baptism of desire. This can occur in situations where there is no opportunity for baptism. Vatican II documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church state: “Those who through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation.”
Dismas certainly proved by his words to Jesus and to the other thief on the cross that he fit the criteria and received baptism of desire. Secondly, according to Scripture, (1 Peter 3:19-20 and Ephesians 4:8-10) and the Nicene Creed, Jesus descended into Hades, which is also known as Sheol (or the place of the dead, where both the righteous and unrighteous went) between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. So if He descended into the abode of the dead and preached to the prisoners (1 Peter 3:19) then He didn’t go straight to heaven. The Paradise he spoke of to Dismas was Hades or Sheol, which we might call Purgatory. It wasn’t heaven, but a place or state of being where the dead would be before they could go to heaven. Furthermore, Scripture states that Jesus didn’t actually ascend into heaven until forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3, 9-11; John 20:17).
Remember Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene when she saw Him outside the tomb on Easter Sunday: “Do not hold Me for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Luke 20:17). So when Jesus said to Dismas, “This day you will be with Me in Paradise,” He must have meant that Dismas would first go with Him to Paradise (Sheol) to preach to those there, before taking the righteous to heaven.
Lessons: Some feel that it is not “fair” that Dismas was a criminal who not only was apparently not baptized but also had lived a life of sin and then in his last minutes of life on earth was saved. They feel that it doesn’t seem right that someone could lead their whole life in sin and then be saved at the “last minute” whereby they have striven all their lives to be good and righteous. Recall the parable of our Lord in Matthew’s Gospel about the householder who went out to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. In this parable the master (who symbolizes God) hired some workers early in the morning to work in his vineyard. Around noon he hired more laborers and then at the last hour of daylight, he hired more laborers. At the end of the day, he called them all together to pay them their wages. When all received the same wage, those who had been hired in the morning and worked all day protested that they should be paid more than those who had been hired at the end of the day and only worked for an hour. The master replied, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first, and the first last.”
PRAYERS: O St. Dismas, we come to you for God’s Guidance, now that we are your Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus. Pray for us from your heavenly post, that we may believe and receive God’s Grace, thus becoming true to your “call from The Cross:” to have a Holy Fear of God. Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
Pray for me, that I too, will have the heartfelt courage to rebuke my fellow Brothers/Sisters for not fearing God, while acknowledging my own guilt and helpless state. Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
Pray that I willingly concede my need for repentance and restorative justice. Just as you confessed faith in the innocence of Christ Jesus, help me to confess my need for faith, hope, charity/love, and truth in Jesus and in the Catholic Church. Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
Pray that I learn to give Catholic witness of Jesus as my Lord, and to proclaim my faith in the triumph of God’s Kingdom over my past, present, and future actions.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
Pray that I undergo forgiveness and mercy from Our Lord Jesus and that I will clearly experience heartfelt sorrow for my sins and my hurt-filled actions, never to do them again.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
We ask you now, Inspired St. Dismas, to pray that we will always be proud to proclaim ourselves as true Brothers and Sisters in and for your holy bravery; and that we too, at the last hour, may hear the words Our Lord spoke: “Amen I say to you, this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
ANOTHER PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us to be merciful as You are merciful. Let us see that all are Your children and remember that we are not to judge. When we look on one such as Dismas, let us see an opportunity to offer hope and salvation. Let us witness the good news of salvation to the sinner and never judge anyone as unworthy or hopeless. Just as Dismas repented at the last moments of his life on earth, let us see that this is great hope for all and grant that we never grow weary in our efforts to bring the light of salvation to all. Amen.
To download a copy in PDF of the new 11 x 17 poster promoting the Monthly Devotions to the Holy Face, click here: Large size poster promoting Sunday Devotions
Sunday, October 3, 2010 – Innaugural 1st Sunday Evening Devotions of Reparation to the Holy Face of JesusSunday, October 3rd, 2010
Today, the First Sunday in October, also known as Rosary Sunday and Respect Life Sunday, we began the Monthly Devotions in Honor of the Holy Face of Jesus, with Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. About 20 persons attended, and joined in our innaugural Devotions of Reparation, to be continued on the First Sunday of every month at 7:00pm in Salem. All are invited to join us in prayer the next time we gather for Holy Face Devotions and Benediction on Sunday, November 7th at 7:00pm, and to join the Confraternity of the Holy Face being organized at St. Mary’s, Salem.
Since today is also the traditional Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, I conclude this post with her famous prayer to the Holy Face:
O Jesus, Who in Thy cruel Passion didst become the reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows, I venerate Thy Divine Face. Once it shone with the beauty and sweetness of the Divinity; now for my sake It is become as the face of a leper. Yet in that disfigured Countenance I recognize Thy infinite love and I am consumed with loving Thee and of making Thee loved by all mankind. The tears that streamed in such abundance from Thy eyes are to me as precious pearls which I delight to gather, that with their infinite worth I may ransom the souls of poor sinners.