The Veil of Veronica and the Passion

The Veil of Veronica is a veil or handkerchief upon which the adorable face was miraculously impressed without paint nor artificial colors, but by the power of the divine Son of God during His passion. After some two thousand years, it is quite darkened, so its features are difficult to make out. It is housed in the epistle side pillar of the papal altar along with the holy lance and wood of the true cross since 1606. How was this relic obtained? 

From tradition, we are informed that the holy woman known as Saint Veronica broke through the mob to console Jesus while He was carrying the cross, His holy altar of sacrifice, to console Him. “So full of deep sorrow into which he was then plunged by the weight of the sins of the world.” She took off her headdress of fine Egyptian linen and handed it to Jesus to wipe His face of sweat, mud, spittle, and blood. He gave it back to her with his august image impressed on it. His imprint detailed the marks of the fingers of the cruel men who gave the sacrilegious blows. 

Weighed down by the cross, Jesus left the house of Pilate, and arriving half-way to Calvary, He was consoled at Veronica’s house, where she took the veil off her head. We know from prevailing custom that Jewish women were accustomed to wearing fine Egyptian linen on their heads and around their necks. And as a sign of friendship, they gave it to others to wipe the sweat, dust, or tears from their face. The Latin word Sudarium signifies a handkerchief used for wiping away sweat. This custom was not just a local one. When Saint Paul was being led out of Rome for his beheading, he saw a lady named Plautilla who gave him her veil, and he promised to restore it. The following night, he appeared to her and restored her veil. 

The remembrance of this has been attached to the sixth station of the cross since time immemorial. Although not scriptural, it has been handed down to us by oral tradition. Clearly, this image represents one of the three objects made by Our Lord Jesus. It is still preserved as one of the precious relics in memory of the great Redeemer. The Veil of Veronica represents the face of Jesus in His passion. What Veronica did is so marvelous that even Our Lord Jesus deigned to stamp her heroic act in history by this most holy relic. 

At the very time when the whole universe conspired against Our Lord, God the Father abandoned His Son to the criminals, the whole of Jerusalem clamored for His crucifixion, the Blessed Virgin Mother fainted [after facing Him], the apostles abandoned Him, the cruel soldiers hastened His steps, and the angels of peace wept bitterly over Him. Even though it was a sacrilege for Jews to recognize Him as a holy man at the time, Saint Veronica broke through the mob and consoled the face of Our Savior. It is no wonder this devotion has been destined since the revelations to Sister Mary of St. Peter in the 1840s as a devotion for our times. Blessed Pope Pius IX said, “Reparation is a work destined to save society.” As the enemies of the Church—through their systems of communism, modernism, and Freemasonry—try to enslave us all, it is no wonder Our Lord said to Sister Mary of St. Peter, “I seek Veronicas to wipe and venerate my Divine Face which has but few adorers!” Then Sister’s words, “And then he reassured me that all persons who would apply themselves to this Work of Reparation would perform the same service in His behalf as that which the saintly Veronica had performed.” This is one of the secrets of the Holy Face.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Secret of the Holy Face by Father Lawrence Daniel Carney III, which is available from TAN Books.



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