A LITANY OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS

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A LITANY OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS

This Litany of the Holy Face of Jesus, printed below, along with the Golden Arrow prayer, is an important part of Devotion to our Lord in His Holy Face. It has been attributed to Sister Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite Nun pictured above, to whom Jesus revealed his ardent desire for this Devotion in reparation for blasphemies against God and the profanation of Sunday. (This offense involves people engaging unnecessarily in commerce and other such labors and chores on Sunday, a day meant for rest and reflection on God.)

Jesus once told Sister Mary in one of His many revelations to her “Oh, if you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once ‘Admirable is the name of God’ in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy!” This short prayer of reparation probably gladdens Our Lord’s heart indeed!

Sister Mary showed great love in honoring Jesus’ requests to further the adoption of the Holy Face devotion. One of her associates, Ven. Leo Dupont himself played a key role in spreading this devotion after Sister’s death in 1848 as discussed here. Our Lord Himself spoke of His Holy Face and the need for reparation, as mentioned above, a number of times in the 1840’s, and indeed, dictated the Golden Arrow prayer to her in 1843!

This Litany below is inspiring in the way Sister Mary lovingly takes us through Jesus’ life in this prayer, with special detail as to how His Face appeared during His Passion.
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Saint Margaret of Cortona

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Saint Margaret of Cortona

Franciscan tertiary, penitent
(1247-1297)

It is not strange that the world feels drawn to the Augustines and Magdalenes of every age. The world knows its guilt and is ashamed. With the lives of such saints placed warmly and tactfully before us, it is impossible to abandon hope. From the tumbleweed of sin many saints have grown.

Margaret was born at Laviano, in Tuscany, Italy, about 1247, of poor farm people. Her mother died when she was only seven years old, and two years later her father married again. His new wife was a strong, masterful woman, who had little sympathy for her pleasure-loving stepdaughter. Margaret had always yearned for love and it was always denied her at home. It is not hard to understand, then, how the pretty young girl fell prey to the prospect of love and luxury offered her by a rich young cavalier (whose name she never divulged) from a neighboring village. She went away with him one night and lived with him as his mistress for the next nine years, during which time she gave birth to a son. During all those years Margaret remained faithful to her lover, even though she was an object of scorn to the townspeople, who regarded her as a depraved woman.
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Saint Peter’s Chair at Antioch

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Saint Peter’s Chair at Antioch

(ca. 36-43)

That Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by many Saints of the earliest times, including Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Saint Clement, Pope. It was just that the Prince of the Apostles should take under his particular care and surveillance this city, which was then the capital of the East, and where the faith so early took such deep roots as to give birth there to the name of Christians. There his voice could be heard by representatives of the three largest nations of antiquity — the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Latins. Saint Chrysostom says that Saint Peter was there for a long period; Saint Gregory the Great, that he was seven years Bishop of Antioch. He did not reside there at all times, but governed its apostolic activity with the wisdom his mandate assured.

If as tradition affirms, he was twenty-five years in Rome, the date of his establishment at Antioch must be within three years after Our Saviour’s Ascension, for he would have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius. He no doubt left Jerusalem when the persecution which followed Saint Steven’s martyrdom broke out (Acts 8:1), and remained in Antioch until he escaped miraculously from prison and from the hands of Herod Agrippa, while in Jerusalem in 43 at the time of the Passover. (Acts 12) Knowing he would be pursued to Antioch, his well-known center of activity, he went to Rome.

In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to observe the anniversary of his Baptism. On that day each one renewed his baptismal vows and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption. That memorable day they regarded as their spiritual birthday. The bishops similarly kept the anniversary of their consecration, as appears from four sermons of Saint Leo the Great on the anniversary of his accession to the pontifical dignity. These commemorations were frequently continued by the people after their bishops’ decease, out of respect for their memory. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter was instituted from very early times. Saint Leo says we should celebrate the Chair of Saint Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom, for as in the latter he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, by the former he was installed Head of the Church on earth.

Reflection: On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the divine Goodness for the establishment and propagation of His Church, and to pray earnestly that in His mercy He will preserve it and extend its dominion, so that His name may be glorified by all nations and all hearts even to the boundaries of the earth.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2.