Lenten Preparation Novena to the Holy Face
Eighth Day – 24 February
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.
(Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer)
O rescue me, God my helper and my tongue shall ring out your goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Most merciful Face of Jesus,
who in this vale of tears,
was so moved by our misfortunes,
to call Yourself the healer of the sick
and the good Shepherd of the souls gone astray,
allow not Satan to draw us away from You
but keep us always under your loving protection,
together with all souls who endeavour
to console You.
Mary, our Mother, intercede for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Your precious blood
and your Holy Face, O Jesus,
grant us our petition………………
Pardon and mercy.
Prayer to Saint Peter
O glorious Saint Peter,
who in return for thy lively and generous faith,
thy profound and sincere humility
and thy burning love,
was honoured by Jesus Christ
with singular privileges
and in particular,
with the leadership of the other apostles
and the primacy of the whole church,
of which thou was made the foundation stone,
do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith,
that shall not fear to profess itself openly in it’s entirety
and in all of its manifestations,
even to the shedding of blood,
if occasion should demand it
and to the sacrifice of life itself
in preference to surrender.
Obtain for us, likewise,
a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church.
Grant that we may ever
remain most closely
and sincerely united to the Holy Father,
who is the heir of thy faith
and of thy authority,
the One true visible head of the Catholic Church.
Grant, moreover, that we may follow,
in all humility and meekness,
the Church’s teaching and counsels
and may be obedient to all Her precepts,
in order to be able,
here on earth,
to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed
and to attain one day in heaven
to everlasting happiness.
(Image for the Prayer to St Peter is the Excerpt below)
Pray (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Marys, one (1) Glory Be.
O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine (Three times)
Quote/s of the Day – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
“He who deserts the Chair of Peter, upon whom the Church was founded, does he trust himself to be IN the Church?”
(De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, 251)
St Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr (200-258) Father of the Church
“Yes, the apostle chosen to be His co-worker, merited to share, the same name as Christ. They built the same building together – Peter does the planting, the Lord gives the increase and it is the Lord, too, who sends those, who will do the watering (cf. 1 Cor 3:6f.).”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Readings: 1 Peter 5:1-4, Psalm 23, Matthew 16:13-19
“Upon this rock I will build my church” … Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION – “Nothing escaped the wisdom and power of Christ, the elements of nature lay at His service, spirits obeyed Him, angels served Him. (…) And yet, out of all the world, Peter alone was chosen to stand at the head, for the calling of all the peoples and the oversight of all the apostles and Fathers of the Church. Thus, even though there are many priests and shepherds among the People of God, Peter governed them all in person, while Christ also governs them in the capacity of Head. (…)
The Lord asks all the apostles what people think of Him and they all say the same thing, so long as they are making known the doubts deriving from human ignorance. But when the Lord demands to know what the disciples themselves think, the first to confess the Lord is he who is the first in dignity of the apostles. As he had said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus answers him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” That is to say, blessed are you because my Father taught this to you. Earthly opinion has not led you astray but it is heavenly inspiration that has instructed you. It is not flesh and blood that enabled you to discover me but He, whose only Son I am.
“And so I say to you,” that is to say- just as my Father has manifested my divinity to you so I am making known your superiority to you. “You are Peter” namely, I am the unshakeable Rock, the Cornerstone who makes two peoples one (Eph 2:14), the foundation other than which, no-one can lay any other (1 Cor 3:11). But you also, you are rock, since you are impregnable by My strength and, what I have by virtue of My power, you have in common with Me, by the fact, that you participate in it. “On this rock I will build my Church” (…) On the firmness of this foundation, He says, will I build an everlasting temple and my Church, whose summit is to reach to heaven, will be raised on the strength of that faith.” … Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church – 4th sermon for the Anniversary of his Consecration
PRAYER – Holy Father, send Your Divine Enlightener into the hearts of all Your faithful, filling us with the strength to fulfil our mission as the followers of the Chair of St Peter. And most of all, we pray Lord Holy God, to inspire and light the way of our Holy Father, Francis. Sustain and guide him, keep him in health and strength, to lead Your people by the Light of the Way and the Truth. Holy Father, have mercy on us, Holy Spirit guide and lead us, Lord Jesus Christ be our intercessor and teacher, amen.
St Maximian of Ravenna
St Miguel Facerías Garcés
St Mohammed Abdalla
St Papias of Heirapolis
St Paschasius of Vienne
St Raynerius of Beaulieu
Martyrs of Arabia – A memorial for all the unnamed Christians martyred in the desert and mountainous areas south of the Dead Sea during the persecutions of Emperor Valerius Maximianus Galerius.
Thought for the Day – 1 August – Thursday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Feast of St Peter in Chains
Homily of St Augustine
Peter alone among the Apostles was accounted worthy to hear – A – men I say to thee, that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church. Worthy indeed was he, to be the foundation-stone, the supporting pillar, the key to the kingdom, in building up the peoples into the house of God. Concerning this, the divine word says – And they laid, it says, their sick, that when Peter passed by, his shadow at the least might fall on them. If at that time the shadow of his body could give aid, how much more now can the fullness of his power? If a mere breath of air from him, as he passed by, was of such benefit to suppliants, how much more his favour now that he remains steadfast? With good reason is the iron of those Penal chains held throughout all the churches of Christ to be more precious than gold.
If the shadow of him who visited was so potent to cure, how much more the chains of him who binds? If even the mere appearance of an empty image could have the force of healing in it, how much more healthfulness should the chains, with which he suffered, whose iron weight had pressed upon his sacred members, deserve to draw forth from his body? If he was so mighty to help his suppliants before his martyrdom, how much more must he avail after his triumph?
Happy those bonds, which by touching the Apostle rendered him a Martyr and so from manacles and fetters themselves were changed into a crown! Happy chains, which brought their prisoner even unto the cross of Christ, not so much for condemnation as for consecration!
Jesus said to His disciples – Who do men say that the Son of Man is? Peter answered and said – Thou art Christ, the son of the living God. And I say to thee – that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church!
Hymn The Chains of Saint Peter
How blessed is the force of prayer!
Eager for Peter’s fate,
Thy soldiers, Herod, bound him fast,
And watch’d before the gate.
But Jesus has His soldiers, too,
They also vigils keep,
They watch to prayer, while Peter rests
In faith composed in sleep.
And Jesus other soldiers has,
Responsive to the call
Of prayer His holy angels come,
Sent by the Lord of all.
Prayer brought an angel down from heaven,
Sentries and bars are vain,
With heavenly light the prison shines,
Unlocked is Peter’s chain.
1 August – The Feast of Saint Peter in Chains
The feast was originally kept in Rome, Italy to commemorate the dedication of the Church of Saint Peter on the Esquiline Hill built by Eudoxia Licinia in 442 and rebuilt by Adrian I in the 8th century. When the chains which Saint Peter had worn in prison and from which he was freed by angelic intervention were later venerated there, the feast received its present name.
The date when these chains were brought from Jerusalem is disputed – some claim they were brought in 116 by travellers sent in search of them by Saint Balbina and her father Saint Quirinus, while others think Saint Eudoxia brought them in 439. St Pope Leo the Great united them to the chains with which Saint Peter had been fettered in the Mamertine Prison, forming a chain about two yards long which is preserved in a bronze safe and guarded by a special confraternity. Patronages – diocese of Annecy, France, Donnas, Italy.
The Feast was removed from the Liturgical Calendar as a separate feast in 1962 but is celebrated together with the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul on 29 June. See the Getty image below.
St Peter in Chains
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
The Holy Church, today, celebrates a special feast in commemoration of the great benefit which God bestowed upon His people by miraculously delivering St Peter, the visible head of the church, from prison. The entire event is described in the Acts of the Apostles, by St Luke. Herod Agrippa, a son of Aristobulus, favored by the Roman Emperor Claudius, ruled over Judaea, with the title of king. To give more stability to his reign, he endeavoured to make himself beloved by the Jews, for which there was no easier way than to persecute the Christians, especially those who fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ, as did the holy Apostles. He had, therefore, apprehended and soon after beheaded, James the Great, brother of St John, which bloody deed gave the Jews great satisfaction. To increase this, Herod commanded them to seize St Peter, intending to make away with him in the same manner. His command was executed, Peter was taken prisoner, chained and locked in a narrow dungeon, which was guarded so vigilantly, that he could not escape. It was then near the Easter Festival, after which St Peter was to be beheaded. The Christians, in deep distress, were praying day and night, that the Almighty would not permit His flock to be so soon deprived of its shepherd.
There was no human power to save him but God, hearing the prayer of His people, delivered him by a miracle. On the eve of the day on which he was to be executed, God sent an Angel to set him free. Although heavily laden with chains, the holy Apostle slept peacefully, guarded by the soldiers. The Angel, who by his brightness, illumined the dungeon, struck him on the side and awakened him, saying: “Arise quickly. Gird thyself; put on thy sandals and cloak and follow me.” The Apostle, whose chains had fallen from his hands and who thought it all a dream, obeyed and followed the Angel. They passed the first and second watches without attracting their attention and reached the iron gate which led into the street. The gate opened without the aid of human hands.
After having conducted St Peter through one street, the Angel vanished and was seen no more. Not until then did the holy Apostle realise that his deliverance was not a dream but a reality. Hence he began to praise the Almighty, exclaiming: “Now I know truly that the Lord has sent his Angel and delivered me out of the hands of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of Judaea.” He proceeded immediately to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where the faithful were assembled in prayer.
When he knocked at the door, a servant, named Rhode, came and asked who was there. Judging by the voice that it was Peter, she was so greatly startled with joy and astonishment, that, without opening the door, she ran back to announce the news. They all believed that she was insane but as she reiterated her words, some said that it must be his guardian Angel. Meanwhile, the Saint repeated his knocking at the door. They opened it and perceived, with amazement, their beloved shepherd safe and free from chains. Their joy on beholding him was as great as had been their grief when he was taken prisoner. Having given the sign for silence, St Peter related all that had happened to him. They all gave thanks to Divine Providence when he had ended and learned to trust in future to the heavenly power and mercy.
Among the sermons of St Chrysostom, there is one in which he asserts, that the chains by which St Peter had been bound to the ground, came into the possession of the Christians soon after his deliverance and were held by them in great honour. Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Theodosius the Younger, received them as a present from the patriarch Juvenal, when on a visit to the holy places and sent one of them to the Church at Constantinople. The other she gave to her daughter Eudoxia, who married the Emperor Valentinian III. Eudoxia showed the chain to Pope Sixtus III., who, on his part, showed her the one with which St Peter had been bound, before the Emperor Nero sentenced him to die. No sooner had the two chains been held together, than they suddenly united as if they had been but one chain and forged by the same hand. This miracle increased the veneration in which these chains were held and actuated Eudoxia to build a special church at Rome for their keeping, where they can still be seen. Many sick were healed by their touch and many possessed were delivered, among the latter was a Count of the court of the Emperor Otho, who, in the year 969, was sent to Rome to be freed from the Evil Spirit. Pope John XIII had hardly touched the count’s neck with the holy chains, when he was relieved and his torments were ended.
St Gregory the Great, writes that it was considered a great happiness to possess a few particles filed off from these chains and that many persons devoutly wore them enclosed in golden crosses and lockets around their necks. Experience has shown that the touch of these crosses or lockets has restored health to many a sick person. A nobleman, who scoffed at this and, in derision, dared to break one of these crosses, was severely chastised. He was instantly possessed by the Evil One and became so enraged that he took his own life, as St Gregory relates. St Augustine states that the iron of these precious chains is justly esteemed far above gold. Blessed are those fetters which touched the apostle and made him a martyr. “The touch of the blessed limbs of St Peter has sanctified the instruments of torture.” In another place the same Saint says: “If the shadow of St Peter possessed a healing virtue, how much greater power must the chains of his sufferings have derived from him.”