Feast of the Holy Face and Shrove Tuesday
In the 19th Century Jesus expressed His wishes to Sister Mary of St Peter (1816-1848), a Carmelite Nun in Tours, France, that there be an actual Devotion to his Holy Face. Our Lord wanted this in reparation for blasphemies against Him and His Holy Name as well, as for the profanation of Sunday (when people engage unnecessarily in commerce and other such labours and chores on Sunday, a day meant for rest and reflection on God). In August of 1843 He dictated to her the well-known Golden Arrow Prayer. He also gave her Promises for those who would honour His Holy Face.
Soon afterwards, Venerable Leo Dupont, known as the “Holy Man of Tours” helped to publicise this Devotion and through a number of miraculous cures attributed to an image of our Lord’s Holy Face, in his possession.
In 1885 Pope Leo XIII gave Ecclesiastical approval of the Devotion to the Holy Face and established an Archconfraternity for it.
The first Holy Medal of the Holy Face was given to Ven Pope Pius XII, who approved the Devotion and the Medal. In 1958 he formally declared the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday for all Catholics.
Tuesday Devotion to the Holy Face
The Lord also requested that His Holy Face be honoured each Tuesday and especially on Shrove Tuesday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. Requesting this Devotion, Jesus appeared covered with blood and very sadly said to Blessed Pierina:
“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand Me. Those who say they love Me are very ungrateful! I have given My Heart as the sensible object of My great love to men and I give My Face as the sensible object of My sorrow for all the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special Feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the Feast be preceded by a Novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me, joining together and sharing in My sorrow.”
As part of the preparations for Lent, it is appropriate to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Face by spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament and reciting the prayers of reparation. In addition, the repetition of this Devotion each Tuesday in Lent may be a means of drawing closer to Our Lord during this time of more intense prayer and conversion.
The Eight Promises of Jesus:
- All those who honour My Face in a spirit of reparation, will by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
- Those who by words, prayers or writing, defend My cause in this Work of Reparation I will defend before My Father and will give them My Kingdom.
- By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
- By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners.
- As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired, with a coin stamped with the King’s effigy, so, in the Kingdom of Heaven, they will obtain all they desire, with the precious coin of My Holy Face.
- Those who, on earth, contemplate the wounds of My Face shall, in Heaven, behold it radiant with glory.
- They will receive in their souls, a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face, they shall shine with particular splendour in Heaven.
- I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.