Humility and a miracle behind Fr. Carney’s book about the Holy Face
Fr. Lawrence Carney wrote his latest book, The Secret of the Holy Face, because of the amount of reverence we owe God, he said.
“We can’t even break through the divine mystery of his Godhead,” he said. “He gave us a beautiful church and if we can approach him in the Holy Mass – the source and summit of our faith – with the greatest reverence and awe and humility, he will reward us for that humility.”
Humility is what helped him write the book, Fr. Carney said.
“Humility recognizes our place in creation. In the hierarchy of God, we’re created as human beings who have the ability to contemplate and think like angels – unlike animals and rocks and inanimate things. The reason I wrote this book is so that we can see where we fit in the hierarchy of goodness, and how we can be pleasing to our Creator.”
Research was a step away
Fr. Carney didn’t have to go far to research his book. His research materials came to him, so to speak.
“My library came about very providentially,” he said.
A priest friend offered Fr. Carney his extensive library because his priest friend decided he wanted to become a monk.
“My first thought was, I don’t need more books. Then I thought, wait a minute. This priest has a lot of sources I would probably want someday.”
After driving from Indiana to Missouri, where Fr. Carney was at the time, they transferred a dozen boxfuls of books from the car to bookshelves.
“I said, ‘These are gems!’ and when TAN asked me to write the book, I thought to myself, well, I’m gonna put that library to use. This was all in God’s providential plan.”
A minor miracle
Another incident that involves what Fr. Carney believes was a miracle is also part of the background of his latest book.
A woman named Frida, who eventually became the secretary for the League of St. Martin, reached out to Fr. Carney years ago because her sister, who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, read his first book and wanted to become a Catholic as a result. The woman, a highly placed marketing executive with a national package delivery company, received private instruction from a priest. She emailed Fr. Carney asking for prayers because of a grave illness.
He replied that he was at Clearwater Creek Abbey, located east of Tulsa, and that he would pray for a miracle because he needed her to work for the League.
“So she went to the hospital after receiving Communion for the first time in her life,” he said. “They X-rayed her and the next day a doctor looked at her chart and asked why was this woman here. It was a miracle, a complete miracle.”
As a result, she took early retirement and began working for the League of St. Martin, which Fr. Carney helped establish to pray for the spread of the Latin Mass and greater reverence for the Divine Liturgies.
Frida contacted TAN Books to request that Fr. Carney – without asking him – write a book about the Holy Face.
Fr. Carney said she apologized with a big smile after he asked her about her request of the publisher.