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Forty days before the Triduum, the Lenten season disposes Catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery through prayer and penitential practices.
Veronica, Laywoman, First Century
Think a bit about Jesus and his passion. After being humiliated by the people who, only days before, had welcomed him by spreading their cloaks before him on his way into Jerusalem, he was condemned to death and scourged. Beaten and bloodied as he was, the soldiers were uncertain that Jesus could survive long enough to reach Calvary. Simon, the Cyrenian, was pressed into service to carry the cross to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. Along the way, Jesus falls several times.
Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels tell of the large number of women following Jesus on the Way of the Cross who were grieving over his condemnation. While there is no specific mention of the incident in the Scriptures, Tradition tells us that when Jesus fell, one of the women in the crowd who saw his suffering rushed forward with a veil to wipe his bloody face. This was a simple act perhaps, but it was an indication of the sorrow felt by these women who had been Jesus’ disciples. Jesus’ gift to the woman was the image of his face on the cloth.
Very little is known about this saintly woman. Even her real name is unknown. Veronica is derived from the Latin and Greek words, vera and icon (true image). More important, however, is the compassion and courage which this woman displayed in one single act. Veronica and the others could easily have been shoved aside by the soldiers anxious to get on with their grisly task. Her love and understanding for Jesus would not allow her to step aside while he was suffering.
Saint Veronica has been called the patron saint of photographers and laundry workers. She is especially honored on July 12.
Veronica's message today: Showing compassion for a suffering human being is never out of date. Many in our world today need your help.