Novena to the Holy Face
Begins today, 17 February
Shrove Tuesday is also the Feast of the Holy Face. Many who discover this are quickly struck by the significance of beginning Lent more in love with His countenance. For having made reparation “with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment” through the novena, we can begin our Lenten walk with Christ more at the ready to comfort Him along the way, as St Veronica did.
Indeed, this searingly beautiful devotion goes back to the Passion itself, when the veil of Veronica smoothed the injuries of Jesus’ Holy Face, so besieged with pain.
In 1843, Sister Marie of St Peter had visions of Jesus requesting a devotion to His Holy Face called “The Golden Arrow,” [https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/14/our-morning-offering-14-january-month-of-the-holy-name-of-jesus/] which brings Him great delight, as He said to Sr Marie, “All who honour My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation thereby perform for Me the services of the pious Veronica.”
In 1938, Jesus appeared to Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli, His face bloodied by His Passion and said, speaking of His Face, “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.” For: “Those on earth who contemplate the wounds of My Face, shall in heaven, behold it, radiant with glory.”
Following that request, Pope Pius XII named Shrove Tuesday as the official Feast of the Holy Face in 1958.
We pray our Novena in fine company.
St Augustine (354-430), St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) and St Bernard (1090-1153), St Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), among many others, all venerated the Holy Face.
In the words of St John Paul II:
“And is it not the Church’s task, to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His face shine also before generations of the new millennium? Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate, if we ourselves had not first contemplated His face.”
In a similar way, our Lenten witness to the wounds on His Hands and Fee, is inadequate if we have not first contemplated His Face, bitterly kissed by Judas, spat upon, battered, covered with sweat and blood and crowned with thorns, continuing to be dishonoured even today, through the Blessed Sacrament by profanations, sacrilege and neglect.
For so many, Shrove Tuesday is a date on the calendar that gets overshadowed by Ash Wednesday, that memorable day we wear the outward sign of repentance and recall our mortality. How much more meaningful will our Ash Wednesday be, if we first mark Shrove Tuesday as a Feast of the Holy Face, concluding the Novena we began in Ordinary Time and beginning Lent, more in love, with the countenance of Christ and, through Him, made more beautiful in our own soul. Amen!
THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS
“I firmly wish that My Face, reflecting the intimate pains of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me.”
(Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sister Pierina)
This novena prayer may be said at anytime but, especially in the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday. The Holy Face Devotion is approved by the Vatican.
DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER
O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity,
through the intercession of Holy Mary,
whose soul was pierced through
by a sword of sorrow
at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son,
we ask Your help,
in making a perfect Novena of Reparation with Jesus,
united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment.
We now implore all the Angels and Saints
to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena
to the Most Holy Face of Jesus
and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“All those who, attracted by My Love and venerating My Countenance, shall receive, by virtue of My Humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of My Divinity. This splendour shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features, with My Divine Countenance.” … Our Lord Jesus Christ to St Gertrude
(Console the Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) above.
Have mercy on me, O God in your goodness,
in your great tenderness wipe away my faults,
wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.
O most Holy Face of Jesus,
look with tenderness on us who are sinners.
You are a merciful God,
full of love and compassion.
Keep us pure of heart,
so that we may see Thee always.
Mary, our Mother,
intercede for us,
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy Precious Blood
and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus,
grant us our petition………………
and Thy pardon and mercy.
Prayer to Our Almighty Father
By St Augustine (354-430)
Almighty Father, come into our hearts
and so fill us with Your love that forsaking all evil desires,
we may embrace You, our only good.
Show us, O Lord our God, what You are to us.
Say to our souls, I am your salvation,
speak so, that we may hear.
Our hearts are before You,
open our ears,
let us hasten after Your Voice.
Hide not Your Face from us, we beseech You, O Lord.
Open our hearts, so that You may enter in.
Repair the ruined mansions, that You may dwell therein.
Hear us, O Heavenly Father,
for the sake of Your only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Pray (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Marys, (1) Glory Be.
O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every Adoration Thine (Three times)