Ipsius vultum mundo valeat ostendere


Custodi, quaesumus, Domine, in populo tuo spiritum,
quo beatum Carolum episcopum implevisti,
ut Ecclesia indesinenter renovetur,
et, Christi se imagini conformans,
ipsius vultum mundo valeat ostendere.

Preserve in Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit with which Thou didst fill the bishop Saint Charles; that the Church may be ceaselessly renewed, and, in conforming herself to the image of Christ, be able to show forth His face to the world.

Showing Forth His Face

In the Ordinary Form, the Collect for today’s memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo contains an extraordinary phrase. We beseech (quaesumus) the Father that the Church, being ceaselessly renewed, and thus conformed to the image of Christ, may show forth His Face to the world: Christi se imagini conformans, ipsius vultum mundo valeat ostendere.

The Face Reveals the Heart
This is the mission of the Church: to show forth the Face of Christ to the world. In showing forth the Face of Christ, the Church invites all peoples to discover the merciful love of His Heart.

Saint Charles and the Holy Shroud
It is no coincidence, I think, that Saint Charles Borromeo, who venerated the Holy Shroud in Turin on October 10, 1578 was profoundly affected by the experience. Could not the allusion to the Face of Christ in today’s Collect be a discreet allusion to the great reforming bishop’s encounter with the mysterious Face of the Shroud?


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