The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:40)
It is clear to everyone around Jesus how incredibly weak He has become. Now his breathing has become labored. His wounds have started to swell so much that He is almost unrecognizable. It is hard to recall, through the bruises and blood, the face that once drew children clamoring at His feet for stories and jokes. Now, mothers shelter the faces of their little ones’ from the sight of Him. But just as one look from Jesus transformed the will of the once-reluctant Simon, another onlooker was forever changed. Veronica, perhaps a woman who had once listened to Him with hope as He told parables in the countryside, a woman who had also experienced some loss, could no longer remain anonymous. She saw Jesus, and she could not stand by silently. With a cry of compassion for her Lord, she approached and offered what she could. Taking her veil off, she blotted the mixture of the sweat, the blood, the dirt that was blinding Him as it streamed down His face.
Now a voluntary act of service follows Simon’s involuntary one. Veronica truly had a mother’s nurturing heart. She recognized what little thing she could do to comfort you, Lord. Although it was not anything that would change Your suffering, it lifted Your heart. How generous You are, dear Jesus, in repaying even the smallest act of kindness. You gave Veronica the first physical representation of You in the entire world. How precious that face of Yours was to her in the days and years after You left the earth. Jesus, help me to realize that if I want to see Your face in my children and in everyone I deal with, I must be willing to meet them where they are in their journey to you. If I cannot see You in them because their sins and sufferings have disfigured them so much, please show me how I can help them—even if it is something that does not seem to address their biggest problems. Just as the smallest match in a dark room can help to orient a person’s vision, the smallest act of love can help a soul to recognize truth and, ultimately, to recognize You.
Points to consider:
Do I allow myself to forget my own troubles by looking for ways to serve those around me?
Do I put the temptation of pride behind me when I think that what I have to offer my children, my husband, or those in my community is not good enough?
Do I hide behind the anonymity of the crowd in my prayer life, or do I make myself known to Jesus, opening up the possibility of true intimacy? Specifically, do I tell Jesus about my personal joys, frustrations, triumphs, and failures—knowing that He truly rejoices in my successes and wants to help me overcome my shortcomings?
Love and sacrifice are closely linked, like the sun and the light. We cannot love without suffering, and we cannot suffer without love. Saint Gianna Molla, mother