Isn’t He beautiful?

Thou art beautiful above the sons of men: grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee for ever.  Psalm 45:2 (DRB)


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O Jesus, Your Incomparable Face!
It is my Glory, my Joy, my Fascination.
O how I long to see You!
Promise me that that moment will be ever new
That it will never end;
But always be beginning.
Grant that I may be
Eternally falling in love
With the indescribable Beauty of Your Face.
I felt Its Radiance today,
And I was lost in wonder!
O God of Beauty! I await You!
Reveal Yourself to me.
Show me Your Face,
The Face of Love!

Adoring the Holy Face of Jesus

Today is the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus.  It always falls on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras.)  I can’t help thinking that this Feast of reparation falls on this day at least partly because of all the sins committed during the Mardi Gras celebrations.  (I grew up in New Orleans, so I know….)

I hope you will visit this link to my post featuring the history of this feast, as well as the Golden Arrow Prayer which Jesus Himself dictated to a Carmelite nun….a prayer to bring delight to His Heart.

But I also wanted to celebrate the Beauty of the Face of Jesus today.  I substituted at Adoration yesterday, and found myself meditating much on His Sacred Humanity, and how irresistible the Face of Jesus must be.

I cannot imagine such love and compassion, such kindness, tenderness, majesty and power, such goodness and glory all shining forth in one Sacred Countenance.  Truly, one could not see Him as He is and live!

I remember the words of St. Faustina:  Jesus, who will paint You as beautiful as You are?

faceofchrist

O Most Beautiful Face
Of my Savior,
I adore Your Divine Beauty,
Hidden from me now,
Yet known somehow
In the depths of my soul.
I sit before You,
Beneath Your Loving Gaze.
I gaze back,
Seeing
Only the Sacred Host,
Yet knowing
That it is into the
Eyes of my Beloved Savior that
I see,
Endlessly.

For an outstanding article on the Holy Face, visit: http://vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2014/03/look-to-him-and-be-radiant/

The Holy Face of Jesus….

This is a re-blog of a post which I published shortly before The Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus last year. It is such a beautiful feast…especially dear to the hearts of Carmelites. But most of all, the prayers are a much needed act of reparation during this time of so many outrages and blasphemies committed against our Beloved Jesus. Hopefully, we can all find time to console Him this Tuesday….and like Therese prayed: May we one day behold His Glorious Face in Heaven

Aholyface.

Tuesday is the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus.  It always falls on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  (Appropriate, considering the grevious sins committed during Mardi Gras.)

Jesus appeared to a Carmelite nun, Sister Mary of St. Peter, in Tours, France during the 1840’s, and requested devotion to His Holy Face in order to make reparation for the blasphemies and outrages committed by unbelievers, and for the profanation of Sundays by Christians.

“Oh, you who are My friends, and My faithful children, look and see if there be any sorrow like mine. Everywhere My enemies despise and insult both my Eternal Father and My Church, the cherished Spouse of My Heart. Will no one rise up to console Me by defending the glory of My Father, and the honor of My Spouse, which has been so cruelly attacked? I can no longer remain in the midst of a people that will continue to be so heedless and so ungrateful. Look at the torrents of tears that stream from My eyes! Can I find no one to wipe away these tears by making reparation to My Father, and imploring forgiveness for the guilty?”

Jesus entrusted to Sister Mary of St. Peter an act of praise and reparation which He called The Golden Arrow, saying that those who would recite this prayer would pierce His Heart delightfully, and heal those other wounds inflicted on Him by the malice of sinners. It is recommended to be prayed on the 33 beads of the Holy Face Chaplet (or rosary beads may be used.)

MAY THE MOST HOLY, MOST SACRED, MOST ADORABLE, MOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE AND UNUTTERABLE NAME OF GOD BE ALWAYS PRAISED, BLESSED, LOVED, ADORED AND GLORIFIED, IN HEAVEN, ON EARTH, AND UNDER THE EARTH, BY ALL THE CREATURES OF GOD, AND BY THE SACRED HEART OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR. AMEN.

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Perhaps today, as we prepare for the beginning of Lent, we can console the Heart of Jesus by meditating on His Holy Face, and the sufferings endured by that Divine Countenance….the blows, the spittle, the piercing of thorns, and even the plucking of His beard from His cheeks…as the Scripture tells us.

Oh what cruelties were endured by our Gentle Jesus, who could have annihilated His torturers in an instant, but instead submitted with perfect humility and obedience for love of you….and me.

Let us remember His falls beneath the heavy Cross, which caused His Holy Face to be pressed into dirt and rocks, no doubt causing the agony of additional cuts and bruises.

If we contemplate His Suffering Face, His Wounded and Bleeding Face, His Beaten and Tortured Face here in our exile, surely the day will come when He will reveal to us that Most Beautiful and Glorious Face which will be our Beatitude for all eternity.

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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 behold Thy Glorious Face in Heaven.  (St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face)

Just until glory comes….

A few days ago, I asked Our Blessed Lady to be the mistress of my home, and that I might be her servant girl.  I am in dire need of her loving presence, guidance and wisdom in my vocation as wife, mother and homemaker…and every other aspect of my life as well.

So, I’ve been listening, eager to hear her advice.  Yesterday, I was busy about those boring, mundane chores which most of us have to do on a regular basis.

I get tired of dusting and vacuuming and cleaning out the refrigerator.  Whilst wielding my Swiffer duster, I daydream of doing other things…at least writing a blog post, or maybe even an e-book.  I wish I lived in a bigger city where there were more exciting things to do.  Nothing ever happens here.  I wish I could make a 30 day retreat, or even travel to all the places of pilgrimage in the world or be involved in Catholic radio.  I still have dozens of books left to read, and if I could work on being an Olympic figure skater… I wish…..hmmm.

Yesterday, I washed the kitchen curtains, and as I struggled to slip the rod past the seam, it got hung up, and I tried to be patient as I maneuvered the fabric.

Then I thought of Jesus, working with Joseph in the carpenter shop in Nazareth.  Jesus, laboring by the sweat of His brow, struggling to shape furniture out of wood… He Who twirls the planets and makes the stars twinkle, and fashions each snowflake into a tiny work of art.

Was He bored?  No…because He did everything out of Love (being Love Himself), and in obedience to His Father’s Will.  Who more than the King of Heaven had a right to put down the tools, and with but a mere thought transform the trees of Palestine into acres of woodcraft?  But, He never did.  He never walked away from the hard work.  Just like He didn’t walk away from the Cross.

Love constrained Jesus.  Love of us confined Him to tedious work in a small town for most of His life, and then to traveling with and teaching a rag-tag group of men who deserted Him when He was preparing to lay down His life for them..and for us.

And I am bored?  The rod slipped through to the other end of the curtain.  “Thank you, Mary.”  And thank you for reminding me what Therese knew so well….that the smallest act done out of love can save a soul and bring God so much joy.

Was it Mary who seemed to reply?

It is sometimes a struggle to do these routine tasks, because you were created for greater things….much greater things.  You were born to spend eternity immersed in that Furnace of Love which is the Most Holy Trinity.  You were created to adore the thrice holy God, your whole being trembling with joy.  Your heart and your soul long for this, and you are restless because you cannot yet fulfill your eternal purpose.  You possess the very image of God …you were born for glory.

I love this thought.  I believe it’s true.  We were…all of us, created to be sons and daughters of the Most HIgh God.   Earth is our exile; Heaven is our true home.

I was awakened from my reverie by our cat coughing up two hairballs just as I was preparing to start dinner.  Out came the paper towels and the steam mop….but this time, with a smile.

Yes Mary, I’ll try to serve without complaining…at least most of the time.  You bore the Son of God and yet spent your life doing the most simple but demanding household chores.

But it helps to dream of glory, doesn’t it?  The glory of one day seeing God Face to face….the One Whom St. Augustine called,  “O Beauty ever ancient, ever new…”

Sweet Mary, help us to prepare for that day as Jesus and you did, by doing the Father’s Will in every ordinary moment of our lives…..but please remind us now and then, that it’s just until the glory comes.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee..”   St. Augustine

 

One thing I ask of the Lord…

Adoring Jesus today,
–Gazing into His Holy Face
Bowing before His Majesty
–Lost in wonder at His Love
Slumbering in Divine Caresses
–Rejoicing in the Kiss of God
Smiling at the Glorious One.

I have found Heaven on earth!

 But I in my uprightness will see Your Face,
and when I awake, I shall be filled with the vision of You. (Psalm 17:15) NJB

My Beloved Jesus, how delighted I was when You showed me this Scripture verse in response to my question: “Lord, will I see Your Face when I appear before You for judgment?”

For, even if I must enter into the place of purification for a time, the memory of Your Most Beautiful Countenance will sustain me, and keep my heart burning with love and longing for You.

It will not be in my own “uprightness” that I will see You then, but rather through the Grace and Mercy which You Yourself have won for me, my Adored One.

Here before You in the Most Blessed Sacrament, I behold Your Face, even now. My eyes search for Yours, veiled beneath the white Host. But, through faith, my soul is already filled with the vision of You!

It is a vision so sweet and mysterious, yet wonderfully real, and I know that You are gazing back at me with Infinite Love and Tenderness.

This vision of faith, O My God, is a prelude to that unveiled, heavenly vision, when at last my eyes will truly behold the Most Beautiful of the sons of man.

Jesus, Your Face…my Joy!

When Jesus sleeps…..

When I went to adoration the other day, I found myself fighting sleep.  I had taken an antihistamine, and it might as well have been a sleeping pill.  There I was, all alone in the chapel with Jesus for two hours, and all I could do was struggle to stay awake.

I remembered that I had brought with me a little book titled, When Jesus Sleeps, by dear Archbishop Luis Martinez, who also wrote Secrets of the Interior Life which I chose as one of my three favorite books in a recent meme.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of watching Jesus sleep, and of wondering what He dreamed….just the incomparable beauty and wonder of the God of the Universe fast asleep so delights me.  The charm of God.  The sweet mystery of the God-Man.

But Archbishop Martinez expressed similar ideas in such rapt words:

Jesus was exceedingly beautiful when He spoke words of eternal life, accomplished wonders, looked with love, pardoned with mercy and caressed with tenderness. But I would like to have seen Him while He was sleeping because I could have contemplated Him to my heart’s content, without the fascination of His gaze distracting me, without the perfection of His beauty and the glory of His splendor dazzling my eyes and enrapturing my soul. The beauty of Jesus awake is too great for my smallness. Who could support it? I feel it more suited to me veiled by sleep, as the glory of the sun is more adapted to my eyes when I look at it through a translucent lens……

In the presence of that regal immobility and the divine silence of that most comely body, could one guess the interior glory? Through the delicate, celestial veil of human sleep, could penetrating and loving eyes like those of the Virgin discover the deep secret of the interior joy of Jesus? (pp 6,7,9)

And then, I was awake…my heart stirred by the touching portrait of Jesus, shared above only briefly, sketched by this holy Archbishop.

His little book shall be my companion this Lent. After sharing the magnificence of the Son of God at repose, the book continues on to encourage the soul in desolation by reminding her that Jesus has not departed. He is only sleeping. Gaze upon Him within your soul as He rests in you…as He slept on the boat amidst the stormy sea. He is sleeping? Yes, but not as we sleep.

Jesus says to the soul, “I sleep, but my Heart is awake.” (Song of Songs 5:2) He has not forgotten us. He can never forget. His Love never sleeps. In dryness and darkness and desolation, He is present with us, in all of His Glory.

He is only testing our faith, our trust, our love for Him, just as He tested that of the apostles on the lake. “Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?”

Let us not wake Jesus when He desires to sleep in our souls. Let us be brave and trust that He will awake at the perfect moment. Like St. Therese, let us permit Him to rest. She liked Jesus to sleep in “her boat,” because, as she said, so few allow Him any rest.

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My sleeping Jesus,
You are breathtaking
In Your rest.
Your Peaceful Face
belies the Truth
That You are God
Of all Power and Might
Lord and King
Of The Universe.
But the resting place
You choose
Is my heart,
For more than
All else,
You are
LOVE,
Seeking love
That asks nothing save
Your Presence.

Who will put happiness before our eyes? Psalm 4: 6

PSALM 4: 6-7

Many keep saying, “Who will put happiness before our eyes?”
Let the Light of Your Face shine on us.

Lord God, to my heart You are a richer Joy,
than all their corn and new wine.

Oh my Jesus, there can be no greater happiness than to be in Your Eucharistic Presence, to look upon You face to Face. What joy is this, my God, as Your eyes meet mine, and I am lost in Your Loving Gaze!

Truly, the Light of Your Face shines on me when I am in Your Presence. I can close my eyes and experience the transcendent beauty emanating from Your Most Adorable Face, purifying my entire being with Its Radiance.

I rejoice in that most tender and beautiful Divine Glance, and my heart soars in wonder at Your Immense Love for me.

The Joy of Your Presence makes all of the earth’s riches seem as nothing. In the depths of my heart, You place a secret peace which nothing can destroy.

Living on Love….

One of my favorite books is the collection of Therese’s poetry, which has only been available in English for about 15 years.

I have even considered studying French, so that I could read her original words, but I have not yet followed up on that idea!  However, the Institute of Carmelite Studies, (ICS) translation seems excellent, and I have found much to ponder within its pages.

My favorite poem written by Therese is the 15 stanza, Living on Love.  It was also the favorite of her beloved sister Celine (Sister Genevieve of Saint Teresa.)  Therese composed it during Forty Hours Devotion before the Most Blessed Sacrament in 1895.  She later wrote it down from memory.

To choose one stanza to share is so difficult.  Each one breathes Therese:  love, simplicity, confidence…

In stanza 12, she wishes to imitate Mary Magdalene, and this stanza also references her deep love for the Holy Face of Jesus.  In fact, although she is widely known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus, her true name in religious life was Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, and Carmelites generally still accord her the honor of both of her titles — or “kingdoms” as she called them.  But that is a story for another day…..

(from a painting by her sister, Celine Martin)

LIVING ON LOVE

By

 St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Stanza 12

Living on Love is imitating Mary,
Bathing your divine feet that she kisses, transported.
With tears, with precious perfume,
She dries them with her long hair…
Then standing up, she shatters the vase,
And in turn she anoints your Sweet Face.
As for me, the perfume with which I anoint your Face
Is my Love!….

Translated by Donald Kinney, OCD

(Therese used rhyming, in the original French)