V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.
Today we continue our walk with Christ at station six where he meets Veronica. I have been familiar with this story ever since I was a little girl; praying the stations of the cross during Lent with the Church. However, I never knew that it wasn’t from the canonical Gospels which made me wonder...where did it come from?
I personally love when I can go back to the Bible and point out why we believe what we believe as Catholics. I love when I can confidently say, it’s in Scripture, yay! But we are not a Church that teaches sola scriptura bible alone theology We value tradition just as much as we do scripture.
I came to find out that the legend of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus with her handkerchief/veil (also known as a sudarium which means sweat cloth) has been around for centuries of tradition!
Let’s go over some basic points.
Firstly, why a handkerchief and not a cloak or canvas?
Well, “the people of Palestine in Greek-Roman times were generally provided with handkerchiefs, used especially to wipe off the perspiration. The fashion was derived from Rome, whence the name of these napkins became soudarion, Latin sudarium”
It’s interesting to note that Paul’s handkerchief was also used to cure people like Veronica’s. In Ephesus the handkerchiefs of Paul were carried to the sick, and achieved miraculous cures
Acts 19:12 Knowing this is really helpful because we see a connection with culture, history, and scripture which makes this legend clearer.
Since it was a common practice to carry these pieces of sweat cloth around since the Jews during this time were under Roman rule it makes it more likely that there really is a true image of Jesus on a cloth.
What can we learn from this tradition? I would say that Veronica is giving us an example of mercy. How perfect since we are in the Jubilee year of mercy! She saw someone suffering and she did something about it. She risked her comfort of being unassociated with a hated man. Instead she gave comfort to him.
Can we go out of our comfort zone and visit the sick like she did?
Can we seek the face of Jesus in the sick?
I know it's hard, so hard, but we must do as she did. Saint Veronica, pray for us.
God bless you sister.
Dear Jesus You go to die For very love of me; Let me bear you company; I wish to die with You. -Saint Alphonsus Liguori