DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL
When I was in my early 20s, I had the idea of attending a meeting held by Communists. We had nothing in common, except that like me, they found fault with the European Union. So, I popped along to the gathering of mainly men. I saw the familiar face of a woman I knew to see take the podium and hold forth on her love of Karl Marx. I was treated to a harsh speech, with such shrill tones it seemed to cut my ears, but I could barely follow it because I was so appalled by the change in her. Not long before that day, I’d known this woman as a ravishing beauty with Titian hair and aqua-marine eyes. But after her conversion to Communism, her whole face seemed harrowed by hate. I tried to talk to her afterwards, but she elbowed me out of her way. She was furious that some men were eyeing me as the fresh-faced newbie. When she spoke, her mouth looked like a long hole of hatred. I was so disturbed by the drastic change in her that I had to rush to the bathroom and get sick. I never darkened the door of their meetings again.
Was I just being nasty about her looks? I told a wise friend of mine what I’d experienced, and he chuckled, wriggled his eyebrows and he asked me if the lady in question looked like a horse. I reluctantly agreed that she did, and that I was saddened that her once sweet face had taken so equine a shape. My friend then suggested I read Douglas Hyde’s memoir, I Believed, because Hyde had ably chronicled how Marxism destroys a woman’s attractiveness. Hyde had been a member of the British Communist Party in the 1930s and 1940s. He was the news editor at the newspaper, The Daily Worker. He recalled that his comrades used to complain crudely that their female recruits became so unattractive that they were “utterly unbedworthy”. Hyde heard a Political Bureau member gripe that, “We get women into the Party…but within 12 months of our turning them into Marxists they are about as attractive as horses.”
Hyde did not mince his words when he described how such women become hardened and ugly by way of hate, “The hatred which the Party kindles and uses is often quite shockingly apparent in eyes as hard as those of a Soho prostitute and lips as tight as those of a slumland money-lender.” After I read Hyde, I felt a dreadful fear of cozying up to Communism, born of vanity, but I was also grateful for his honesty. Hyde was a Marxist for 20 years before he became Catholic. He lapsed, however, before his death when he had a new dalliance with socialism. But when he was converting to Catholicism, he was worried that his pretty young daughter would be set upon by his comrades.
Hyde was also complimentary of the way Christianity has a charming effect on the faces of those who practice it, that loving others makes you lovely. I had his observations in mind when I learned that one of the promises given souls who are devoted to the Holy Face of Jesus is that their own faces will be rejuvenated and become so youthful that they will be like a baby who has just been baptized. To honor and love Our Lord’s Face is the have the gift of youthful beauty of face; the opposite of those who are devoted to Marx. I’m always thinking of ways to spread this devotion, and I’ve even imagined running skin care ad campaigns for devotion to the Holy Face that champion it as a free moisturizer.
Our Lord gave the devotion to His Face to a Carmelite nun, Sister Mary of St Peter in France during the 1840s, and He warned her sternly that because of the profanation of Sunday and blasphemies against His Holy Name, that there would come a chastisement in the form or “revolutionary men” who have since been recorded in history as Communists whose “malice” would be a condign punishment for the masses who refused to either stop blasphemy or to make reparation for it. Our Lord’s words have come to pass in technicolor, but His messages were prophecies that have yet to be fully fulfilled. Oh yes, they are as relevant for us today as they were when He gave them to Sr Mary of St Peter. Hyde’s generation was consciously Communist, our “woke” generation is subconsciously Communist. Just as the promises are real for those devoted to the Holy Face, so too, are the opposite and adherents of Communism often wear the punishment on their faces all too apparently in our times.
Our Lord also gave a panoply of spiritual arms to defeat communism. Offering the prayers to the Holy Face and honoring Our Lord’s countenance were promised as how atheistic Communism would be defeated. In this same devotion, we may make reparation for the same blasphemy that causes the chastisement of Communism and we may also prevent it and stop it altogether. I make an urgent plea to you to consider learning by heart and offering daily, The Golden Arrow, the prayer that is at the heart of devotion to Christ’s Face:
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, 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.
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This post was informed by Douglas Hyde's I believed and The Golden Arrow: Revelations given Sr Mary of St Peter.
The engraving of the Holy Face is Claude Mellan's Veronica's Veil.
I wrote this column for Mass of Ages, the magazine of The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.