Veronica offers her veil to Jesus.
I always imagine Veronica with this impromptu reaching out. Not something, she brought from home, with a plan to wipe Christ’s face in a premeditated gesture. Instead, Veronica seeing the pain of Christ, is called into action.
Perhaps it was the blood from the thorns that was falling into his eyes that prompted her. Perhaps, sweat from and dirt from falling, mixed with blood, meant that she could not see the face of her beloved Jesus. Maybe it was the way his swollen, blackened eyes compelled her to move. Or maybe it was the shackled hands, carrying the burden of the heavy cross unable to reach up and clear his own vision?
Whatever the reason, Veronica (name means ‘true image’) is stirred to move. To step forward and offer the veil, to wipe that beloved face.
This is what Saint Paul of the Cross calls us to each day. “This power of the Cross, which is the wisdom of God, gives us strength to discern and remove the causes of human suffering.” (The Constitutions of the Congregation of the Passionists #3) Saint Paul of the Cross calls us to look upon Christ on the Cross, at Calvary, and take that pain that suffering and never want to see it on a human again. We see Christ suffering and He stirs us to move, to step forward to wipe a face, feed the hungry or show compassion to the lost.
When we move, God is never outdone in his generosity! It is in Veronica’s selfless gift that we see Christ’s, always more abundant, gift. She gives a simple veil and He gives an imprint of his suffering for us to ponder for thousands of years.
Another challenge for us, on this journey of Lent, go and do. Move. In your gift of time, talent and treasure consider that Christ is never outdone in His generosity.