Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Holy Face of Jesus in the Sorrowful Mysteries

Don't you just love those first signs of spring this time of year?  The sky is just a bit lighter each morning when you wake up and the sun begins to feel more warm and welcoming.  Birds start to appear again, and the winter boots and coats start their migration to the back of the closet.

I decided to go for a walk in the sunshine, and I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries as I hiked up and down the long, steep driveway to our home.  Occasionally, to help with my meditation, I'll view the mysteries I'm praying through a sort of "lens," for lack of a better word.  Today, I reflected on the Holy Face of Jesus in the Sorrowful Mysteries.

In the Agony of the Garden, Jesus' face is human perfection-- He is still the "unblemished lamb," about to be led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).  I imagine that His eyes are gentle and loving but probe to the depths of one's soul.  As He fervently prays, His holy face is lifted to heaven in agony as he pleads for the cup of suffering to be taken away.  Yet, He obeys the will of His Father rather than the weakness of His human flesh.

By the time Jesus is scourged at the pillar, His face is likely bruised and battered by the enemies among His own people.  The cruel whips of the Roman soldiers increase the damage as they strike His head and face, tearing flesh away and causing unbearable suffering.  Yet Jesus patiently endures this torture, all the while looking upon those who beat Him with love and mercy.

When Jesus is mockingly crowned with thorns by the Roman soldiers, He still looks upon these pagan men with love and mercy.  The sharp thorns pierce His scalp and forehead, causing blood to run down His face and into His eyes.  How could these men not be moved by His loving and kind countenance, despite the swelling and bruises that disfigured His holy face?

During the Carrying of the Cross, Jesus looks at several people on the way, profoundly affecting each one.  The most painful meeting must have been with His own beloved mother.  Can you imagine the sword of sorrow that pierced her Immaculate Heart when she looked upon the face of her beloved Son?  Simon the Cyrenean, an unwilling bystander, must have looked upon the Holy Face and been profoundly affected.  We know that Simon's sons were involved in the early Church, and I'm sure he told the story of carrying the cross with the Savior to anyone who would listen.  Veronica, a woman brave enough to push past the soldiers, weeps as she offers her veil to Jesus so that He can wipe the blood from His eyes, leaving an imprint on her veil as well as on her heart.  The women of Jerusalem weep as Jesus passes by, but He turns His Holy Face to them and tells them not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children.

By the time Jesus is crucified and hangs on the cross, His Holy Face calls to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah:

"There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him.  He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held Him in no esteem.  Yet it was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured, While we thought of Him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by His stripes we were healed." (Isaiah 53:2-5)

The crowd turned their faces from Him, just as we often do.  Pray the Rosary, every day if possible, and your reward will be to see that Holy Face in all its glory in eternity.

Related links:
Website devoted to The Holy Face of Jesus

St. Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) was very devoted to the Holy Face.  Here's a link to her Holy Face Prayer for Sinners


Anonymous said...

The Face on your blog brings to mind what Paul Badde wrote in his book "Maria of Guadalupe" about the crucified Man on the Shroud of Turin: "The image is covered with wounds; there is no part of the body intact. (He) was flogged like a slave...His beard is matted and clumped..and partially pulled out...The shoulders and extremities are covered with crisscross lines left by whipping...On the left foot there is a three-inch space without wounds. Otherwise, no part of the body is unbloodied...His face is full of peace."

Tiffany said...

I am so excited to have found your blog! Also a neat connection to the military...I am a former Army officer myself. I LOVE the rosary, my beads of battle, and am consecrated to Our Blessed Mother:-) Sounds like we have a lot in common. Ordering your book now!

Peggy Bowes said...

Thank you both for taking the time to comment! Anon, I have long been fascinated with the Shroud, ever since my mother bought a book about it. ; )

Tiffany, thank you for your service to our country and for buying my book, but most of all for consecrating yourself to the Blessed Mother. To Jesus through Mary!