(My sharing on the sixth station of the Way of the Cross)
I continue this series of articles based on the meditations shared by Father Vic Santos, during a three- day silent retreat given to 28 ladies last July 4 to 6, 2019 at the St. Scholastica’s retreat compound, in Baguio City. The sixth station is when Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
In the fifth station, when Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross, my sharing focused on the inspiration I received that we are all called to holiness. This sixth station’s message for me is very similar, but more particular on how we can achieve holiness.
As Father Vic explained the setting of the sixth station, he mentioned that Veronica must have been prepared with the linen cloth to wipe Jesus’ face. Being a woman and a mother at that, I can understand how she must have felt, braving the stares and the probable indignation of some soldiers surrounding Jesus. With her heart that must have been palpitating a hundred plus per minute, (I’m very familiar with this feeling,) she didn’t let her evident fear stop her from doing what she has set to do... to be there for Jesus, to help in the way that she knew how.
Tradition says that when Veronica gently and lovingly wiped the disfigured face of Jesus with a linen cloth, she was rewarded with three imprints of the authentic face of Christ on the cloth itself. A miracle, some might say. I read in a commentary that this cloth upon which the face of Christ remains imprinted becomes a message for all of us. In a certain sense, it says, “This is how every act of goodness, every gesture of love towards neighbor, strengthens the likeness of the Redeemer of the world in the one who acts that way.”
Indeed, acts of love do not pass away. Every act of goodness, of understanding, of service leaves on peoples’ hearts an indelible imprint and makes us ever more like Christ.
Father Vic’s challenge for all of us is to “Be another Christ.” This is our pathway to divinity. We need to make every effort to identify ourselves with the humanity of Christ. Christ is our model to follow. After all, Christ became man not only for God to show that He loved us and for us to participate in the life of God; He became man, so that we could be like Him, be one with Him, be another Christ, to one another.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said, “Veronica’s act of love impressed the true image of Jesus on her heart: on His human face, bloodied and bruised, she saw the face of God and His goodness, which accompanies us even in our deepest sorrows. Only with the heart can we see Jesus. Only love purifies us and gives us the ability to see. Only love enables us to recognize the God who is love itself.”
So, to the question, how to become holy? Father Vic says, Follow the example of Jesus. Be another Christ. He is the model we ought to follow. Have the same attitude, disposition, virtues and characteristics of Christ.
How do we follow someone we do not know? Father said, “Go to the Sacred Scriptures. Meditate on the life of Christ.” I realize, we have to have a personal relationship with Him in order to get to know Him better. We will then not only get to know of him, but know Him better.
My dearest other Christs,
Will you join me in this prayer?
Dear Jesus, please teach me to be humble like you are humble. Teach me to love like you love. May I be blessed with the interest to read the Gospels, to meditate and ponder upon them. May I become like You and may Your face be imprinted in my heart, that others may see you in me, and that Your name may be glorified. Amen.