Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

February 29, 2016 § 3 Comments


Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Artist: Sylvia Duff

Learning How To Wipe

As new dads, my husband and I are becoming expert wipers. Our son is four months old and has just discovered that he likes to look at the world sitting up. The more his sits up, the more he drools. We wipe his face over and over with special little muslin cloths, some speckled with gray stars and some trimmed with little boy blue which always reminds me of the Virgin Mary. We didn’t know babies needed these special cloths until just before he was born; terry cloth is too abrasive for infants.

My husband and I now order baby wipes by the case (We tested the One and Done wipes and – spoiler alert – some messes will always need more than one wipe!). We wipe our son’s fingers. When he was first born his fingers were so tiny, they were almost transparent. We wipe his drooly face and the spot under his neck where some formula dribbles. Of course we wipe his butt, though it turns out that so far the diaper changes are not nearly as bad as I’d expected.

All this wiping brings me to the Sixth Station: Veronica meets Jesus on the road to the cross. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face and an image of Jesus’ face is transferred on to the cloth.

I grew up reflecting on the magic of this stop in the middle of the Stations of the Cross. I was dazzled by the image transferring to Veronica’s veil. As a new parent, this station speaks to me in a new way. I think less about the miracle on the cloth and more about the service.

Veronica reminds us today that our smallest every day gestures bring us closer to Jesus. Even if we can’t fix everything, even when we know we can’t change the end result, we can bring each other small comforts.

Of course it is easy and beautiful to wipe my son. How can I leave my self-centerendness and bring someone else comfort on their way? Did you know that Chinese food is the favorite food for the homeless youth we serve at our Outreach program? Feeding them, sitting to speak with them, and yes then wiping up after them is a small way that we can create comfort in our world.

– Chris Phillips

§ 3 Responses to Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

  • Julia Alberino says:

    I don’t know what I love more about this, Chris’s heartfelt real-world reflection about the small comforts we can bring each other, or Sylvia’s painting of the station. For one so young, Sylvia captures perfectly the way I have thought about this station since my own childhood.

  • So, so lovely. Your friend Julia began loving napkins when she was about Luke’s age. She loved having her face wiped, and was most distressed when she felt messy. I had never connected it to Veronica, but now I do.

  • Suzanne Pyrch says:

    A wonderful reminder of the rewards of service.

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