Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

March 20, 2017 Comments Off on Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

Artist: Sylvia Duff

What I love about this Veronica, apart from the fact that she was painted by a young person, is that she herself looks young and approachable.  It is also notable that the artist chose to depict Veronica in the manner of many Greek Orthodox icons of Veronica, after she had already wiped the face of Jesus and, I’m sure unexpectedly for her, gotten her reward in the imprint of Jesus’s face on the cloth she used.  Since she looks so approachable, I can imagine asking her “Were you frightened, Veronica, when you stepped out from the protective anonymity of the crowd to perform an act of such compassion?”  How might she answer?  In my imagination, she is modest and matter-of–fact, replying that she did nothing special, only what needed to be done.  Moved by the blood and sweat of a very human Jesus, Veronica recognized that he might appreciate having his face wiped and did it.  She wasn’t expecting any lasting result.   What she got was proof that Jesus was not only man, but also God, as the image of his face remained on her cloth.  In traditional Western depictions of this station, we see Veronica doing the wiping of the human face of Jesus; in this one we see the divinity of Jesus.  It’s worth noting that Veronica is not named in Scripture and nothing is known about her life and death.  Her existence is preserved in sacred tradition.

What is the message of Veronica for twenty-first century Christians today?  Consider this:  Perhaps the message is that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and do what needs to be done, if you even remotely think whatever needs doing is in your power to do.  Think about what the implications might be, well beyond what you may at first imagine.  Does the legend of Veronica challenge you?  How might you respond to the challenge?  These are some of the questions that praying before this station raised for me.  What questions occur to you as you look at the image? The answers will be as varied as the people looking at Veronica as she is seen here.  That’s one of the wonderful things about art; it affects each person differently and individually.  May you each find your own message as you pray the Stations of the Cross this Lent.

– Julia Alberino

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