The great saintly mystics and masters of the spiritual life tell us that one of the surest means to advance virtually by light years is by frequent meditation on the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on His love and sufferings, and on the heroic pains He endured for us.
Thus, St. Louis Marie de Montfort says, in Secret of the Rosary, “Blessed Albert the Great who had Saint Thomas Aquinas as his disciple learned in a revelation that by simply thinking of or meditating on the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian gains more merit than if he had fasted on bread and water every Friday for a whole year, or had beaten himself with his discipline once a week until the blood flowed, or had recited the whole Book of Psalms every day. If this is so, then how great must be the merit that we can gain by the Holy Rosary which commemorates the whole life and passion of Our Savior!” The rosary is therefore a priceless treasure for us all, as it beautifully combines vocal and mental prayer.
St. Bonaventure tells us this, as related by St. Alphonsus: “He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus.” And he adds that “there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.” St. Augustine also said a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.
St. Paul of the Cross states, “”The remembrance of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ is the door through which the soul enters into intimate union with God, interior recollection and most sublime contemplation[.]”
St. Peter of Alcantara: “In the passion of our blessed Saviour, six things chiefly are to be meditated upon. First, the bitterness of his sorrow, that we may compassionate with him. Secondly, the greatness of our sins, which were the cause of his torments, that we may abhor them. Thirdly, the greatness of the benefit, that we may be grateful for it. Fourthly, the excellency of the divine charity and bounty therein manifested, that we may love him more fervently. Fifthly, the conveniency of the mystery, that we may be drawn to admiration of it. Lastly, the multiplicity of virtues of our blessed Saviour which did shine in this stupendous mystery, that we may partly imitate and partly admire them; wherefore, in the midst of these meditations, let us sometimes compassionate with our blessed Saviour in the extremity of his sorrows; extreme indeed, both by reason of the tenderness of his body, as also, for the great affection he bore unto our souls.”
Likewise, one and all of the saints tell us that saintly Thomas à Kempis says the “Royal Road of the Holy Cross” in his beautiful Imitation of Christ is the safest, the surest, the most certain and sound means to acquire and retain a deep and lasting sanctity.
There are many favorite devotional meditations of the saints, but let’s take (1) meditation on the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) on His Holy Wounds, (3) on His Sacred Heart, especially in connection to His passion, His sorrows, and His sacrificial death.
The remainder of this article will focus on the first mediation: The Holy Face of Our Lord.
The Holy Face Devotion — a favorite of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
The Shroud of Turin shows us that Our Lord wants us to be devoted to His Holy Face. In addition, He has given revelations to various mystics. “In 1885, to bring attention to the importance of this devotion, Pope Leo XIII established this special devotion as an Archconfraternity; and contrary to custom, He immediately established it for the ENTIRE WORLD. Note that numerous indulgences have been granted from several Popes[.] … Saint Therese of Lisieux was also very dedicated to this devotion, which prompted to take the name, ‘Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face’. This devotion was universally practiced before World War I but unfortunately, has since become scarcely known.”
A well known prayer associated with meditation on the Holy Face is reparation made to the Holy Name of Jesus through the Golden Arrow prayer: “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.” This was instituted to make reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus for all the sins and crimes of communists, blasphemers, violators of Sunday, etc.
From Catholic Tradition: “Addressing Himself mystically to the pious Carmelite nun, Our Lord told her that especially to His priests He promises He will defend them before His Father in Heaven and give them His kingdom if they, through words, prayers or writings, defend His cause in this work of ‘reparation.’ Pastors, therefore, and priests who desire to answer this call should endeavor, through regular procedure, to establish the Confraternity of the Holy Face in their parishes.”
Promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Favor of Those Who Honor His Holy Face
- All those who honor My Face in a spirit of reparation will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
- Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this Work of Reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
- By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
- By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners.
- As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the King’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.
- Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
- They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
- I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.
Other prayers to the Holy Face of Jesus
Prayers: “LORD Jesus Christ, in presenting ourselves before Thine adorable Face to ask of Thee the graces of which we stand most in need, we beseech Thee, above all, to grant us that interior disposition of never refusing at any time to do what Thou requirest of us by Thy holy commandments and divine inspirations. Amen.
O GOOD Jesus, who hast said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,” grant us, O Lord, that faith which obtains all, or supply in us what may be deficient; grant us, by the pure effect of Thy charity, and for Thine eternal glory, the graces which we need and which we look for from Thine infinite mercy.
BE MERCIFUL to us, O my God, and reject not our prayers, when amid our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face. Amen.
O ALMIGHTY and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Son Jesus. We present It to Thee with confidence, to implore Thy pardon. The All-Merciful Advocate opens His mouth to plead our cause; hearken to His cries, behold His tears, O God, and through his infinite merits hearken to Him when He intercedes for us poor miserable sinners. Amen.
ADORABLE Face of my Jesus, my only love, my light and my life, grant that I may know, love and serve Thee alone, that I may live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee. Amen.
ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the adorable Face of Thy Beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Name, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the dying.
O DIVINE Jesus, through Thy face and Name, save us. Our hope is in the virtue of Thy Holy Name!
Nishant Xavier lives in Chennai, India. He has an MBA in Financial Management and works in investment banking in Credit Suisse. He earlier worked at Bank of New York in its Chennai office. He makes time to preach the Gospel. His Passion is to preach to 100 Crore Souls before he dies. He is the Author of the upcoming Book: The Great Commission of Lord Jesus Christ: Distributing 150 Crore Bibles in India by 2033. For any important concern, send him a mail at [email protected] or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and YouTube.