Imprint of Mercy

Date: 8/3/2009
Saint Veronica with imprint of Jesus on cloth.

Veronica: Woman of faith.

Veronica was never mentioned in the Biblical accounts of Jesus' passion, and her name only rarely comes up in matyrologies and official texts of the Church, but whether or not she really stood with Jesus at some point during his carrying of the cross, and whether or not Jesus miraculously left an imprint of his face on the towel she offered him to wipe off his blood and sweat, she has something to teach us.

Saint Veronica is but one of many examples of women of faith who were always compassionate, always thinking of ways to ease Jesus' pain and suffering, much like another saint from more recent times, Saint Therese of Liseaux. Therese, a saint of whom much is recorded, often thought of Jesus' passion, and thought of her own sins which caused Jesus pain (after all, he bore the sins of the whole world on his back). Her 'little way' was often sacrificed in order to try to ease some of Jesus' burden.

Veronica and Simeon (who was ordered to help Jesus with the weight of the cross) are two faithful followers of Christ who realized (Veronica before the fact, and Simeon after) that their own shortcomings and failings added to the weight of Jesus' cross and the depth of his suffering. Their small acts of faith, likely not even known to them at the time, helped in what small way they could to ease the pain of their own Lord and God.

This is definitely something you can take to your own contemplative prayer: do we ever think of the fact that all of our sins—already ransomed by the once-and-final sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ—added to the great crime that was the Crucifixion? Do we ever take personal responsibility for this, and try to perform small acts of virtue in order to relieve a small bit of Jesus' suffering and increase our own humility?

St. Juan Diego

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