Chosen Souls Who Have Venerated the
Thorn-Crowned Head of Our Savior
TAKEN FROM Devotion to the Holy Face
, TAN BOOKS
THROUGHOUT the centuries there have been chosen souls who have had
special devotion to the Holy Face. Among the most illustrious were St.
Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Gertrude the Great and St. Mechtilde. One
of the most beautiful hymns in honor of the Face of Jesus [O Sacred
Head] was composed by St. Bernard (d. 1153); another was written by St.
Bonaventure (d. 1274). These Saints worshiped in a special manner
the thorn-crowned head of Christ.
The aim of the Church in propagating devotion to the Holy Face is to impress
ever more deeply on the minds of the faithful the memory of the
sufferings of Our Lord, that they may nourish sorrow for theirsins and
an ardent desire to make reparation for the offenses committed against
the Divine Majesty.
With wonderful clearness our Saviour impressed upon St. Gertrude how
beneficial it is for a soul to meditate upon His sufferings and the
great consolation He derives from the compassion thus offered Him. One
day the Saint beheld Our Lord in the pitiable state in which He was
bound to a pillar between two executioners, one of whom tore His flesh
with thorns while the other lashed Him with scourges. Both of them
struck Him on the Face, which was so disfigured that the sight of It
filled Gertrude with bitter grief.
During the remainder of her life she could not restrain her tears
whenever she remembered this sorrowful vision. It seemed to her as
though Jesus turned His Face from side to side, but each time He did
so, He was only struck the more cruelly by the other executioner. "Tell
me, O Lord," exclaimed St. Gertrude, "the remedy that can soothe the
sufferings of Thy Divine Face." Jesus replied: "If anyone meditates
upon My sufferings with tenderness and compassion, his heart will be to
Me as a soothing balm for these wounds."
Frequently during her meditations St. Gertrude saw the Divine
Countenance of our Saviour resplendent as the sun, illuminating
priests, inflaming the devout and converting sinners. Once she asked
why the blessed Countenance of our Redeemer shone like the sun, and she
received this explanation: "Like the sun, My Countenance illuminates,
warms and fructifies."
On one occasion when St. Gertrude was compassionating the Adorable
Face, wounded and disfigured, she asked Our Lord for a special grace
for those who would practice this devotion. From His Divine lips she
heard this consoling promise: "All those who meditate frequently on the
vision of My Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall
receive within them, through My Humanity, a bright ray of My Divinity,
which shall enlighten their inmost souls so that they shall reflect the
light of My Countenance in a special manner throughout eternity."
Overcome with ardor, St. Mechtilde once exclaimed to her sisters: "Let
us all, full of holy desire, hasten to venerate the sweetest
Countenance of Our Lord, which will in Heaven be our all - all that a
glorified soul can desire." On one occasion when this Saint had asked
Our Lord to grant that those who celebrate the memory of His sweet Face
should never be deprived of His amiable company, He replied in these
precious words: "Not one of them shall be separated from Me." (Bk. I,
ch. xiii). The Lord then pronounced this blessing: "The splendor of My
Countenance be their eternal rejoicing."
The great servant of God, St. Edmund of Canterbury, was accustomed to
pray: "May I expire from ardent desire of beholding the Face of Our
Lord Jesus Christ."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
The dear Carmelite Saint, Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy
Face, more familiarly known as "The Little Flower," who died September
30, 1897, nourished a touching, ardent devotion to the Adorable
Countenance of our Saviour. She sought to soothe the sufferings of the
Holy Face by bringing Our Lord sacrifices to save souls, and she
encouraged others to do likewise. She composed a most beautiful prayer
in honor of the Holy Face and recited it daily. This prayer reveals her
compassion for Jesus in His sufferings, as well as her vehement longing
to behold His Divine Face in glory. Veneration of the Holy Face was one
of her dearest devotions. After Holy Communion she would, in spirit,
bend over the Face of her Beloved, which delighted her with Its secret
The Carmelite Nun of Tours
On July 8, 1848, Sister Mary of St. Peter died in the odor of sanctity
in the Carmelite Convent of Tours in France. She had been favored by
Heaven with many revelations concerning the reparation of blasphemies
uttered against the Holy Name of Jesus, and veneration of the Holy Face
had been pointed out to her as a most efficacious
means of making such reparation. Our Divine Savior transported her in
spirit to the spot where He was met by Veronica, on His way to Calvary,
and made known to His spouse how great was the service this heroic
woman had rendered Him when, with her veil, she wiped His Adorable
Face, all covered with spittle, dust, perspiration and blood.
Our Savior revealed to this religious how great is the satisfaction He
derives from the veneration of His Sacred Countenance, saying:
"According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face,
disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of yours which has been
disfigured by sin. I will reprint upon it My image and render it as
beautiful as it was on leaving the baptismal font."
At another time Our Lord said to Sister Mary of St. Peter, "I seek
pious souls who, like Veronica, will wipe My Divine Countenance and
venerate It. ... Those who on earth venerate My wounded Countenance
will once behold It in Heaven all resplendent in glory."
Again Jesus said to His spouse: "All who honor My Holy Face in a spirit
of reparation thereby perform for Me the services of the pious
Devotion to the Holy Face is regarded as a sign of predestination, for
how were it possible that a soul who had loved this Divine Countenance
here on earth would be excluded from beholding It in glory in Heaven!