Thursday, April 14, 2011

Station VI: Veronica.

This is part six of a series of posts on the Stations of the Cross. Here are Stations I and II and III and IV and V.

The Anchoress tells a tale today (perhaps it's hagiography, but it makes little difference) about John Paul II: "Once the great pope, John Paul II was found, embracing the Tabernacle in his arms, and crooning a Polish song as a parent would use to comfort a child. When asked about it, he replied, “I don’t know how else to comfort Him…”

This is like the story (perhaps apocryphal, but it makes little difference) of Veronica. In the middle of chaos, fear, and anger, she steps out of the crowd to wipe the face of the Suffering Servant.

Veronica and the pope. What difference can these little gestures make in the vast ocean of God's pain? The suffering threatens to smother all comfort. The darkness mocks that Polish lullaby and it sneers at Veronica's veil. Tokens of love appear to be symptoms of insanity.

The veil and the song, however, are the only signs of sanity on the Way to Calvary. Human beings reach out in helpless gestures of love, to show and strengthen their trust that Love suffers only to conquer. Veronica wipes Christ's face to comfort him, but also as a sign that evil is never victorious. Her veil seems to be nothing, but it is evil that is in fact nothing.

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