"There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness: and we have seen Him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of Him: despised, and the most abject of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and His look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed Him not” (Isaias, 53, 2-3 ).
Centuries before the most beautiful of the sons of men set His questing feet upon the hills of Galilee, the Prophet gave us this word picture of the only photograph we should ever have of our divine Master. Twice He let His adorable face be photographed, that we might know how He really looked: once just before His death while He was struggling up the long road to Calvary, and once in His tomb while the burial cloth rested on His face. Though the prophecy of Isaias remains true for all those who do not love Jesus, it is the glory of those who do love Him to lessen this number as much as possible.
Looking on the picture of the Holy Face, the Little Flower of Jesus prayed:
''O Jesus, who in Thy bitter Passion didst become 'the reproach of men and the Man of sorrows, 'I venerate Thy sacred countenance wherein did shine the beauty and the sweetness of the Divinity, now become for my sake like to the face of a 'leper.' But in those disfigured features I recognize Thine infinite love, and I long to love Thee and to make Thee loved by all men. The tears that fall so abundantly from Thine eyes appear to me as precious pearls which I love to gather, and so purchase with their infinite value the souls of poor sinners. O Jesus, whose Face is the only beauty that ravishes my heart, I am content not to see here below, the tenderness of Thy gaze, not to experience the ineffable kiss of Thy mouth, but I beseech Thee to imprint in me Thy divine likeness, and inflame me with Thy love that so it may consume me quickly and I may soon behold Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.”
To the recitation of this prayer Pope Pius X attached an indulgence of three hundred days, applicable to the souls in Purgatory. To a few moments’ meditation on the Passion before the picture that inspired this prayer, he attached an indulgence of one year, once a day, and a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, on a number of the major feasts of Our Lord.
The picture here referred to is that of the Holy Face outlined on the grave cloth, which is now preserved at Turin. The other linen containing the photograph of Christ’s sacred Face is called the Veronica. According to St. Gregory of Tours the V era-icon (true image) is the representation of the Face of Christ, commonly known as the "Vultus Sanctus,” "Sancta Veronica,” or "Holy Face,” impressed on a veil of soft woollen texture, which is kept as one of the three Great Relics of the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica in Rome, in an oratory in the interior of one of the four immense pilasters upholding the dome of St. Peter’s. The "Holy Face” was placed therein by Pope Julius II on April 18, 1506, and with it were placed by Pope Urban VIII, in 1629, the Lance and a portion of the True Cross.