Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and here we are, once again staring into what some would refer to as the dark days of Lent. It is a period of forty days of fasting, prayer and alms giving. As Catholics, we are called to do without….to sacrifice…there is no meat on the Fridays of Lent and several days of fasting. It is a stark contrast from the ways of the world, in which we are constantly told that we deserve the best, that we are better than this or that… For many, this period of days is a step out of the normal everyday sense of self satisfaction ….During lent we are called to embrace our Crosses… more so than normal. We are called to fast, so that we may be hungry…so that we can gain an appetite for the Lord. We are reminded that we are not put upon this earth to satisfy our every want and desire. It is a period of repentance. But instead of viewing it as long drawn out days of bleakness…let us begin this day by looking at the Holy Face of Jesus.
Today is recognized as Shrove Tuesday. It is also the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus. Of course the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus dates back into ancient times, with the appearance of special Masses being offered in the fourteenth century. There have been many saints who reflected and wrote devotions honoring this observance. But back in 1958, Pope Pius XII made it official. He decreed that this Feast should be celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Even though there have been many reformers who would try to do away with such devotions, many dioceses throughout the world still hold special masses for this feast, this devotion. Pope John Paul II, even reiterated this message in 1986, and had a Mass celebrated for the feast.
So today as we prepare ourselves for this coming Lenten journey, let us begin by meditating upon the Most Holy Face of Jesus…asking Him for His guidance…His love, and His mercy, in all things, so that we may make this our best lent ever… dying to ourselves, so that He may fill us with Himself.
PRAYER TO THE HOLY FACE