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wishing you a Holy Christmas, I’d like some more information about the picture taken by a Mexican nun at the Blessed Sacrament, showing a beautiful smiling face of Jesus, which link (deleted, editor’s note) is here below.

Did the Church speak about this matter?

Are there any books or texts explaining in depth where the picture is, etc.?

Thank you with all my heart


Dear Laura,

1. that is not the first case of such phenomena.

The Church never speaks about them.

There are various explanations, such as the one suggesting that an image, which is settled in one’s own memory, would come from the person’s subconscious.

Really, the appeared images are never entirely new.

Therefore, those would be psychological phenomena.

2. It is difficult, however, to affirm that with certainty as the only explanation.

It is an assumption.

And assumptions cannot receive the certificate of apodictic argumentation.

However, this explanation may be plausible.

This is why we must not cry out for miracles and, rightly, the Church does not speak about them.

3. From the theological point of view, other hypotheses could be advanced.

Keeping our feet on the ground, firstly it could be a joke from our opponent.

Saint Paul would say: “And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light” (2Cor 11:14).

4. In such cases, St. Thomas says that the discretion of the spirits is required, a discretion which God gave St. Anthony the Abbot in a special way.

It is possible to discern whether it is Satan because the good Angel at the beginning exhorts to good and then to persevere in it, while the bad Angel shows a good at the beginning but then, wanting to satisfy his desire to deceive and make people fall, he induces and instigates evil.

St. John warns not to believe in every spirit (1Jn 4,1).

For this reason, when Joshua saw the Angel in his field, he “went up to him and asked, “Are you one of us or of our enemies?” (Jos 5:13).

In fact, the sign is different: although the good Angel at the beginning is terrifying (he inspires fear), nevertheless he immediately consoles and comforts, as happened to Zechariah when he said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah”, and to the Blessed Virgin: “Do not be afraid, Mary” …

Instead, the evil angel makes you astonished and then he leaves you desolate. And that only to make fall more easily who is amazed and persuaded.

5. That comment from St. Thomas is illuminating.

Our opponent can do phenomena that amaze, then he makes the subjects to mount into so much pride as to believe to be privileged souls, thus he easily takes possession of their souls.

6. Well, how shall the subjects behave after such phenomena?

The answer is the one that comes from Saint Teresa of Avila: “However wicked an artist may be, we should revere his picture if it represents Him who is our only good” (Interior Castle, Mansion VI, Ch. IX, Par.11).

Therefore, the one, who is favored with apparitions representing Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin or the Saints, shall render due honor to these apparitions, even if they were the result of an illusion by imagination or by the devil, nevertheless these honors would be referred to the people represented in the apparition.

Doing so, we are not wrong, especially if we remain humble and avoid thinking to be holy souls.

7. However, there is a third explanation that cannot be excluded: these phenomena may come from God in order to encourage the weakest in the practice of the Christian life.

The criteria for diagnosing their origin are the classic ones and are reminded by the Dominican A. M. Meynard:

“One must judge all bodily visions by the produced effects.

1. If the disturbance and fear, assailing the soul at first, are gradually followed by a great joy, a lasting peace, an inner light and a holy disposition to piety and prayer, although these effects could still be incomplete because the soul is not enough purified, that is a proof that the vision comes from God, because diabolical visions begin with sensible enjoyment and end with sadness, disturbance and dryness.

2. Apparitions that have God as their principle always bring healthy fruits to the soul: ardent charity and great energy in the practice of the virtues, renunciation of one’s self and of every created thing, a holy zeal for perfection and above all a deep humbleness.

The so favored soul is careful not to indiscreetly manifest what he or she has seen, and an account is given to his or her spiritual father only with the utmost repugnance.

The opposite happens in false visions: the soul feels nothing but a vain complacency and often speaks of it for no reason” ([Tr.] Treatise on the interior life, answer 318).

8. In conclusion, it is good in itself the phenomenon you pointed out because of the object it represents.

One would say together with Saint Paul: “Of course, some preach Christ from envy and rivalry, others from good will. The latter act out of love, aware that I am here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not from pure motives, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What difference does it make, as long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I rejoice. Indeed, I shall continue to rejoice” (Phil 1,15:18).

I wish you a happy continuation of the octave of Christmas

and I bless you.

Father Angelo