Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparing for Lent

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Here is a meditation by a Carmelite tertiary who shall be known on this blog as Mi Amigo:
Our first parents ate, against the will of our Father, the forbidden fruit. What is the fruit? We might consider, "Is the 'fruit' of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil the birth of “conscience”? Prior to eating the fruit, Adam and Eve did not have any knowledge of evil in their nakedness. Was their realization of “something wrong” in their self-exposure the birth of human conscience?
The Banishment of Adam and Eve by Masaccio 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1776, states, "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment….For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God….His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."

In the human heart, God inscribes his Law. In the heart, we are either single-minded toward the will, the law, of God, or we are double-minded, divided in ourselves between God and the world. The season of Lent is upon us, a time of reflection, to turn within to our most secret core and sanctuary, our conscience, and listen to the voice of God echoing in our depths, a time to repent from our double-mindedness and, a time of conversion, to re-commit ourselves with single-mindedness to the will and love of God in those areas of our life to which our conscience directs us.

This Lenten season, let us turn within and from our hearts pray as Thomas a Kempis, "O God my Truth, make me one with you in eternal love. Often I become weary with reading and hearing many things. You are all that I want and desire. Let all teachers be mute and all creation keep silence before you. Speak to me, You and You alone."
Jesus in Gethsemane by Carl Bloch

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reverence at Prayer

From Vultus Christi:
Grace seeps into what is inward through what is outward. For this reason Tertullian says Caro salutis est cardo, that is, “the flesh is the hinge of salvation”. Scholastic philosophy frames it this way: Nihil est in intellectu quod non sit prius in sensu, “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses”. Outwardly, then, the monk will take great care to do all things with attention and dignity: standing, sitting, walking, bowing, signs of the cross, prostrations, raising one’s eyes heavenward, the way one holds one’s hands, the way one holds one’s book and turns its pages. In the carrying out of the Opus Dei there must be nothing rushed, nothing small or cramped, nothing routine and formalistic. The sign of the cross, for example, must be generous, majestic, and grand; no furtive flapping of the hands about one’s face and shoulders. The profound bow from the waist, holding the torso and head straight, is part of the sacred choreography of the Opus Dei; it signifies a man’s complete submission to the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. It is more than a mere lowering of chin to chest. Every bodily attitude and every gesture is significant; the smallest details are sacramental. For this very reason, I put Romano Guardini’s classic, Sacred Signs, on the reading list for postulants. Another book, Maurice Zundel’s The Splendour of the Liturgy, complete’s Guardini’s little book. (Read more.)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus

The image above is the drawing of the imprint of Our Lord's face on the Veronica veil, as it is venerated in the Carmelite Order, and propagated by Sister Marie de Saint Pierre and Venerable Leo Dupont. It was a devotion spread to protect the people from Communism, which had begun to manifest itself as a political movement in 1848.

Here is the prayer of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux to the Holy Face:

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 the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men. The tears which well up 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.
Another site with everything about the Holy Face devotion is HERE.

Relic of the Veronica Veil at St. Peter's Basilica
 From Fr. Mark:
Today...marks the beginning of the Novena in honour of the Most Holy Face of Jesus. The feast of the Holy Face is celebrated, in many places, on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Litanies are among the oldest forms of Christian prayer. They invite us, not to a mechanical and vain repetition of words, but to a prolonged contemplation of one or another of the mysteries of our faith, shot through with an insistent appeal for mercy. Pray the Litany of the Holy Face quietly and slowly. Allow each invocation to open the eyes of your soul to the adorable countenance of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Human Face of God.
The Litany of the Holy Face of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven,
R. Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
R. Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
R. Have mercy on us.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, radiant splendour of the Father,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, spotless mirror of the majesty of God and image of His goodness,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, where radiates the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, joy of the Virgin Mary,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Who allowed Thyself to be embraced by little children,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, covered with sadness at the departure of the rich young man,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose gaze converted the sinful woman
and transformed the heart of Peter,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, sought by all those who love Thee,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, light of all the upright of heart,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose radiant beauty is veiled to the proud,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, in Whose light our misery lies open,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose compassionate gaze wants to take away our bitterness,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose meekness is so sweet that it transforms souls,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, on which we read Thine infinite Charity,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose look of mercy enfolds the whole world,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, which will never be sufficiently honoured,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, covered with a sweat of blood,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, touched by the infamous traitor’s kiss,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, crowned with thorns,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, insulted by hatred, negligence, and infidelities,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, buffeted by servants, struck by soldiers, and bruised abusively by the crowd,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, stained with spittle, dust, and blood,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, despised by the powerful of this world,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, trembling with sorrow upon meeting Mary,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, tenderly wiped by Veronica,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, on which we can read all the traces of our sins,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, hidden in the Holy Sacrament,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, which the Angels so greatly desired to see and before which they can only be silent and adore,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose brightness will one day be the reward of the just and the most burning punishment of sinners,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, before which the elect cast their crowns in everlasting praise,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, Whose radiance is all the beauty of holy souls,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Most Holy Face of Jesus, which will transfigure us from glory to glory,
R. Look upon us, and have mercy.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
V. Behold, O God our protector.
R. And look upon the Face of Thy Christ.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, glory of the Heavenly Father
and light of souls,
we beseech Thee with confidence that,
as we make our way amidst the shadows of this world,
the splendour of Thy Face may shine upon us,
that in the light of Thy Countenance,
we may at length merit to contemplate the eternal light
in which Thou livest and reignest with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
forever and ever.
R. Amen.
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