Meditations and Prayers to the Holy Face

Veil of Veronica Painting by Josef Janssens

How can we with mortal eyes
contemplate this image, whose celestial splendor
the host of heaven presumes not to behold?
He who dwells in heaven condescends this day
to visit us by His venerable image;
He who is seated on the cherubim
visits us this day by a picture,
which the Father has delineated
with His immaculate hand,
which He has formed in an ineffable manner
and which we sanctify by adoring it
with fear and love.
— Medieval Byzantine Hymn

Psalm 27:8,9

Lord, my heart has said of you, ‘Seek His face.’
O Lord, I do seek your presence; do not hide your face from me.

Prayer of Pope Innocent III

Let us pray. O God, who in the image impressed on Veronica’s Veil wanted to leave your memorial for us who are sealed in the light of your face. We beg you to obtain for us through the merits of your passion and cross, that as we now on earth venerate and adore the very mystery of its likeness, so we may see it face to face unto salvation when the Judge comes. — (1207)

Hymn of Pope John XXII

Save, Holy Face of Our Savior, in which gleams the image of divine splendor Imprinted on a snowy cloth of brilliant whiteness Given to Veronica as a token of love. — (1316)

Julian of Norwich

It made me to think of the Holy Veronica of Rome; which He hath portrayed with His own blessed face when He was in His hard passion; willfully going to His death, and often changing of color. Of the brownness and blackness, the ruefulness and leanness of this image many marvel how it might be so, since He portrayed His blessed face who is the fairness of heaven... Then how might this image be so discoloring and so far from fair?
— from Revelations of Divine Love, (1373)

St. Gertrude the Great

Extracts from Revelations, (1256-1303):

On the second Sunday in Lent...I saw the Lord face to face. I seemed to see against my face another face, which, according to St. Bernard, “was not contained under any form, yet gave form to all else; which did not strike the eye of the body, but charmed that of the soul; which was lovable, not through the brightness of its color, but through the gifts of its love.”

It is but Thou, my God, who can know how not only my soul, but also all the powers of my heart found pleasure in this happy vision, in which the brightness of Thine eyes, like two suns, looked straight into my own...

When then Thou didst approach Thine adorable face, in which is found an abundant source of all joy, close to my own, so greatly unworthy to touch it, I perceived a gentle light proceeding from Thy divine eyes and passing through mine, spreading itself in every secret part of me, and seeming to fill all my members with a wonderful power and strength.

Words of Our Lord, spoken to St. Gertrude:

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.

Holy Face Clip Art

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

St. Therese, writing of herself, says:
“The tears and blood of Jesus were to be her dew, and her sun was His Adorable Face, veiled with tears.”
- Story of a Soul

St. Therese told Celine to look into the Face of Jesus, for
“there you will see how much He loves us”
- Letter

St. Therese, speaking of the Veil of Veronica portrait, says:
“How well Our Lord did to lower His eyes when He gave us His portrait! Since the eyes are the mirror of the soul, if we had seen His soul, we would have died from joy!”
- Last Conversations

Extracts from the poetry of St. Therese:

My only treasure is Thy Face,
No other do I ask to see,
There shall I find my hiding place
Till, Jesus, I resemble Thee.

- Canticle to the Holy Face, 1895

The petals of my flowers caress Thy Sacred Face, They tell Thee that my heart has fled to Thee above.
- To Scatter Flowers, 1896

Remember Thou, Thy Countenance appearing
Amid Thy chosen few, was e’er unknown;
But Thou, didst leave for me its Sacred Image,
And, love, I knew it as my very own.
Yea, I behold, e’en though by tears obscured,
The Face of God - Its charm my soul allured; Thy glance enveiled for me,
Solaced my heart to see,
Remember Thou!

Then fleetly shall my soul outwing space,
To hide me in the secret of Thy Face.
In love’s eternity,
My Heaven Thou shalt be,
Remember Thou!

- Jesus, My Well-Beloved, Remember!, 1895

To live by love is to dry Your Face, It’s to obtain pardon for sinners.
- To Live by Love, 1896

Therese, speaking about that poem, said:
“I repeated this [stanza] to Him while passing by (the picture of the Holy Face), doing so with great love. When looking at the picture, I cried out of love.”
- Last Conversations