29 June 2015

Saint Thomas More on the Holy Face

As part of my summer reading, I am working my way through Saint Thomas More's Dialogue Concerning Heresies (which is, I might say, a very good read).

Last evening I found myself reading through his refutation of the arguments against sacred images in which More brought up what is now known as the Veil of Manoppello. He said that Jesus
was pleased to leave the holy veronica, also an express image of his blessed face, as a keepsake to remain in honor among those who loved him, from the time of his bitter Passion to this day. Just as by the miracle of his blessed, holy hand it was imprinted and left on the sudarium [i.e., napkin; see John 20:7], so by a similar miracle has it been, in that thin, corruptible cloth, kept and preserved uncorrupted these fifteen hundred years, fresh and easy to make out, to the inward comfort, spiritual rejoicing, and greatly increased fervor and devotion of the hearts of good Christian people.
For the curious, and for those who know something of the history of the Veil of Manoppello, More wrote his Dialogue Concerning Heresies in 1528.

You can see for yourself just how fresh and easy to make out the face of the Lord is in that piece of byssus:

I have never met anyone who has looked upon the Holy Face who did not the Shrine of the Holy Face inwardly comforted, rejoicing in spirit, or with increased devotion.

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