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MEDITATIONS BY HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II

SIXTH STATION

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R.
Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. 53:2-3

He had no form or comeliness
that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

MEDITATION

Tradition has bequeathed us Veronica. Perhaps she is a counterpart to the story of the Cyrenian. As a woman, she could not physically carry the Cross or even be called upon to do so, yet in fact she did carry the Cross with Jesus: she carried it in the only way possible to her at the moment and in obedience to the dictates of her heart: she wiped his Face.
Tradition has it that an imprint of Christ's features remained on the cloth she used. This detail seems fairly easy to explain: since the cloth was covered with blood and sweat, it would preserve traces and outlines.
Yet this detail can have a different meaning if it is considered in the light of Christ's words about the last days. Many will then ask: "Lord, when did we ever do these things for you?". And Jesus will reply: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (cf. Mt 25:37-40). In fact the Saviour leaves his imprint on every single act of charity, as he did on Veronica's cloth.

ACCLAMATION

Face of the Lord Jesus,
disfigured by pain, resplendent with God's glory.
R.
Kyrie, eleison

O Holy Face,
imprinted on every act of love.
R.
Kyrie, eleison

All:

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari,
dolentem cum Filio?

 

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