When Our Lord Jesus Christ was taken through the teeming streets of Jerusalem on the way to His crucifixion, a mean gang dogged His heels and shouted sneering insults at him. They offered Him nothing but the slap of their scornful words. Suddenly, Veronica bravely pushed her way through the rabble of rudest ruffians, and offered her Savior a silk cloth which He gladly accepted and with which He wiped His Face. His Face was drawn on the silk canvas in blood and sweat, and in reward for Veronica’s great empathy, a miraculous portrait of His Face was forever marked onto the threads of the veil.
Veronica was a contemporary of Peter’s – the same Apostle who had denied Jesus three times and who was absent from the Sorrowful Passion. Veronica had the guts to break through a mad mob and offer Jesus’s Face the caress of silk, and this would have meant there was reason for her to be held high in Peter’s esteem, for surely her bravery trumped Peter’s in this instance. Later Peter advised Veronica on how to ensure that the veil would be kept safe. Peter instructed her to give the veil to Clement, who was Peter’s disciple. Peter was the first Pope and later Clement became the third Pope. And so before her death, Veronica entrusted the Veil to Clement, and under his watch the Veil was preserved in Rome.
Nearly two millennia later, in France during the 1840s, Our Lord chose a French nun to whom He gave extraordinary revelations about devotion to His Holy Face. The nun’s name was Sister Mary of St Peter (Sr Marie de St Pierre) and to her, Our Lord exclaimed, “I seek Veronicas.” Our Lord made known to Sr Mary of St Peter that He seeks souls like Veronica who will have her empathy with the agony He suffered for our salvation and who will cherish His Holy Face. He detailed the glorious promises that await as rewards for such souls. “Our Lord,” said Sr Mary, “has promised me that He will imprint His Divine likeness on the souls of those who honor His Most Holy Countenance.” This essentially means that every soul who honors Our Lord’s Holy Face may have a portrait of His Face on their souls in the same manner as Veronica’s Veil.
If you and I do as Veronica did, and offer devotion to the Holy Face, your soul and my soul will become like her Veil, a worthy canvass for Our Lord to imprint His Divine Face. Fittingly, in the same manner the Veil is preserved with great care and tenderness in the Vatican, your soul and my soul, embellished with Our Lord’s Bearing may be saved in Heaven.