Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

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Veronica
“Everyone forgets my name now. But I was there, and I remember seeing him, carrying his cross, his face so covered in sweat and in blood from the soldiers’ blows. He stumbled towards me and almost by instinct I pulled out a small cloth and wiped his face. There was so much sweat and blood that when you looked at the cloth you could see his face. I still have that cloth, a true image of him.”

Prayer
Lord Jesus, your face was sweaty and bloodied:
be with all who care for the broken bodies of our sick and injured.
Your face was wiped by an unknown woman:
let us bear your true image in our hearts, in our words and in our deeds.
To you, Jesus, scarred by a crown of thorns,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
Amen.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 at 2:00pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: just thinking
Comments

How beautifully Veronica, and other women of the New Testament, ministered to the real needs of Jesus in his incarnate life-time! How dare the Church deny the ministry of women?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 12:34am BST

Yes I too have been reflecting on the balance and tension between men and women in the Passion Narratives, and it struck me that one woman played a pivotal role which is not often commented on - at least in the books I have read.

Is it significant that it was a woman who first challenged Peter and forced him to deny Christ? It's an almost Greek Chorus type of role - a role without power (a slave girl in some narratives) but bringing crisis by simply commenting on and stating the truth - you were with him weren't you?

Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 9:11am BST

Except of course Veronica is not a woman of the NT, as this particular station of the cross is a later invention, not part of the Gospel tradition. Not addressing your bigger point Ron, obviously, just a small correction. On your bigger point, I hesitate yet again, as both sides tend to repeat the same points ad nauseam, but denying the ministry of women is not the same as saying the ministry of women is absolutely vital, but it might not include as elders in the church (as is the case for the vast majority of men as well, who are key ministers, but in a lay capacity). You will often find more women in paid ministry roles in churches which don't have female elders, than in churches which loudly trumpet their support of women's ministry.

Posted by: NJ on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 9:41am BST

All the 'stations' are a 'later invention', since this is a devotional walk dating from several centuries after the actual events. Most stations are based on events in the gospels and a couple are not, this being the obvious one. The church in which I grew up had a set of (as I recall) 12 Stations dating from the 1920s or so, since it excluded this one and another.

This particular set of devotions was first used a couple of weeks ago at an ecumenical Lenten 'Stations of the Cross' held in the church where I now worship. We happen to have a set of the 14 traditional stations, as do our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters who were also present. The introduction to the devotion (omitted from this series) asked those present to imagine that they were at a reunion of some of those who had witnessed the events of that day and who were sharing their reminiscences. Some of these memories, I said, are recorded in the gospels, and a few are not.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 10:57am BST

Nj. As far as the legitimacy of Veronica as a historical figure goes - it only matters as much as the historicity of Adam or Eve, if one is trying to discern history from legenda!

Your quoting of 'Invention', in these particular circumstances, is almost risible. The importance rests with the fact that someone, somewhere, has actually considered a woman as part of the Passion Narrative. Of course, there are also other Women of the N.T. who can perhaps be taken to be actual people - whom Jesus trusted to spread the Gospel - Like Mary Magdalene, for instance. But then, the male disciples discounted her witness even then.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 11:00am BST

never mind Veronica or the slave girl: THE most sacramental act ever performed was by a woman--his mother--she gave him flesh. She LITERALLY made the body of Christ - and some say women aren't proper ministers of the sacraments? really??

And the Orthodox call the Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles. How can the first apostle not be fit to be an apostle?

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Wednesday, 1 April 2015 at 7:56pm BST

"the ministry of women is absolutely vital, but it might not include as elders in the church"

As I myself said to not make the Stations here political, consider my response to be nothing but :-X ...until next week. A blessed Triduum to all at TA.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 2 April 2015 at 8:18am BST
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