Friday, 23 March 2012

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Continuing our meditation on the Way of the Cross taken from, The Way of the Cross with the Curé of Ars written by Mgr Keith Barltrop, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

The story of Veronica, who overcomes her fear of other people’s reaction as she moves out with compassion to Jesus and is rewarded with an imprint of his face on her towel, is not found in Scripture, but expresses a profound Christian instinct about our creation in God’s image.

"How beautiful a soul is! The image of God is reflected in a pure soul like the sun in water. Our souls are made in his image. He sees them, he contemplates them eternally, and when they are truly pure, he sees himself in each of them like little mirrors."

As the Curé implies, that image of God in us needs to be purified by overcoming our self-love and giving our lives completely to Christ, who in a unique way is the radiant image of the Father’s glory. This can take place especially through works of love and mercy like that of Veronica:

"How beautiful it is, how great it is to know, love and serve God! That is all we have to do in this world. Anything else is a waste of time. Men and women were created by love; that is why they are so excited by loving. Human beings, created by love, cannot live without love: either they love God, or they love themselves and the world."


Father, help us when we would like to act with generosity and compassion, but are afraid of  what others will say. May the example of Veronica and the reward she received help us to overcome fear by love, and so grow into the likeness of your only Son, who lives and reigns  with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father…

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Picture © John Salmon, Stations of the Cross in the parish church St Silas, Kentish Town, London
Text © St Pauls Publishing