Wiping the Face of Jesus

Domenico_Fetti_-_The_Veil_of_Veronica

Hello, this is my very first blog ever.  To say I am scared to write down my thoughts would be an understatement.  But a friend who I really hadn’t spoken to in years advised me to write, so here I am putting it out there for you to read.

I have actually thought about writing a lot.  I named my first blog post, “Wiping the Face of Jesus,” and my site, “Veil of Veronica” and many of you may think those are strange names, so for my first blog I will explain my choice of blog names.

If you know me at all you know that I am Catholic.  I identify myself as this above all things.  It is who I am,  a believer in Jesus Christ and a member of the Catholic Church.  If you have known me a long time, you already knew this about me.  I have grown up going to church, attended Catholic schools, and generally been involved in Church activities or teaching in some way shape or form all of my life.  In 2010 though, I had an awakening, a conversion within a conversion, if you will.  If you knew me before then, you would have said, she is a good Christian girl.  I was going through the motions doing what was asked.  But, looking back now, I was missing so much.

You see, I had a friend, and her name was Veronica.  Veronica was sweet and beautiful and genuinely a kind person.  My son was her son’s best friend.  We were not the best of friends but we were friends that genuinely liked each other and we were mother’s who loved our children, and who hung out together because our boys brought us together.  On August 28, 2010, Veronica called me and asked if my son could spend the night at her house.  Though I had allowed him to dozens of times before, that night for some reason, I was uneasy.  I told her no, but that he could come over and play for the afternoon and that I would pick him up before dinner.  Around 4 o’clock I drove out to her house to pick him up.  I stood in Veronica’s kitchen area and we chatted about our boys.  She told me how each of them had a gift and what special children they were.  She had taken them to the grocery store to buy their favorite ice cream to eat.  My son also wanted cereal which she generously bought for him and gave me to take home for him.  I thanked her and I drove away.

The next morning she was murdered. Right there where I stood talking to her.  Her soon to be ex-husband had hired a hit man to murder her because they were separated and really who knows why else.  I felt like I got punched in the stomach.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t stop crying.

In my agony, I laid on my bedroom floor crying, wailing really.  Here was a beautiful young mother, 39 years old murdered, leaving her 8 year old son motherless.  And for what?  I cried out to God in anguish and anger.  How could you let this happen?   Why Lord?

In the midst of my anguish, a thought came over me. God said,  “I don’t want this, people choose this.”  I asked God, “what, what in the world can I do, in this awful place?”  He answered me.  He said, “Susan, good in the world starts with you.”  I began to think.  I thought about how I had seen Veronica and her husband in church together and I wondered, how can a person who would murder sit in church?  God answered me again.  He told me that her husband did not start out a murderer, but that his sin had grown in his heart and gone unchecked, and had lead down a long dark path.  I remembered the bible verse that stated, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”( Matthew 5:28)  That was the moment that verse made sense to me.  I never had understood it.  I had always thought, “how can a thought be a sin?”  But after her murder it made sense to me.  Sin starts in your heart and takes over until you act on it with your hands.  And if we never take the time to examine our conscience, or think about what is right and what is wrong, well then, we can really go down a wrong path.

So Lord, “what can I do?”  He told me that the only person I could control was myself.  That I can choose to love and spread that love outward.  For me this meant examining my own conscience and trying to become a better person.  Did I love my enemy?  or even my neighbor, for that matter?  The answer was a resounding, NO.  Oh my, I thought, I have not always spread love and left people better off for knowing me.  In the Catholic Church, we have confession, where we go to a Priest and confess our sins.  I had always disliked this Sacrament and dreaded going.  But here, in this place, crying on the ground, I found it to be a gift.  A gift I was grateful for.  In telling my sins, I was able to encounter Christ.  I had a confession like I had never had before.  In this Sacrament, I received the grace that Jesus offers to us when we choose to ask for it.  I took a good hard look at myself and my selfishness started to burn away because of the love I encountered in confessing.  The Sacrament makes me try to do better, and though I know that I am a sinner and will continue to have failures, I can receive His sanctifying grace and forgiveness when I go. This helps me to spread His goodness forward.  I don’t think you have to be Catholic to understand this.  Her murder was not my fault, but I would not let her murder be in vain, I would not let her life be snuffed out without letting others know the impact it had on me, and that good could come out of the ashes of such awful circumstances.  Thus my journey toward being truly Christian began.

I thought of Veronica.  In Catholicism while Jesus is in His Passion, walking His way to Golgotha, bloodied and beaten, He comes across a woman named Veronica.  Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.  A small kindness.  This man, this God man, was bloodied, beaten, tired, in agony, and this women, Veronica, provided a brief respite, if you will.  A few seconds where the sweat and blood were wiped away, and for a moment, however brief, He felt love from this woman.  It did not stop His Passion, His suffering, but in a world that was mocking Him, scourging Him, that woman’s touch with the cloth must have felt glorious.   So He imprinted His image on her cloth.  Veronica, means “True Image”.  He left her the mark of His love.  And so because of my friend, Veronica, who also had provided me love and respite during a tough time in my life, I must spread love and kindness where ever I go.  I cannot stop suffering, but I can offer that respite to those who are lost, poor, lonely, unwanted, or unloved.  And so for me, I will wipe the Face of Jesus, as long as His grace and mercy allows me to.

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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125 Responses to Wiping the Face of Jesus

  1. flo folle says:

    very heart rending.Yes, all one can do is forgive like Christ and keep on doing good. flo.

  2. Mona Wagner says:

    Susan, I am Roman Catholic also and thank you for your powerful story. I needed to hear this at this moment in my life. So many do not know the love of God. Hearts are broken. God asks us to simply walk each other Home to be with Him.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Great article… You’ll be a great blogger. Pour your heart out on here for us readers you really never know the impact you’ll have on our day-to-day grind in this world.

  4. Denise says:

    Thank you for this blog…The story touched my heart…thank you

  5. Bill says:

    Wow! Such a sad story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am humbled.

  7. anne says:

    You have poured out your heart …there is no pretense. Honest heartfelt words are always the best. My confirmation name is Veronica. I was fascinated…even at 10…with her bravery.
    Thank you so much for your sharing and keep writing!

  8. anne says:

    i could not see where i can subscribe to your blog. are we able to have it automatically delivered?

  9. anne says:

    sorry…..just saw Follow pop up!!! subscribed. thank you.

  10. Judy Kallmeyer says:

    What a tragic tale! It obviously touched you very deeply. Sometimes it takes things like this to move us to a course correction in out lives. May the Lord bless your efforts! I can’t help wondering what became of the precious little boy she left behind.

  11. Mark Dohle says:

    Your are a good writer,keep up you good work. I will share you blog on Facebook and twitter. You have a lot to share…God Bless You.

  12. Karen says:

    Your first blog was so moving, it brought me to tears. It seems that there is always some way, that in one person’s experiences, someone else can identify with also. Thank you for sharing – looking forward to seeing more from you.

  13. Greyser says:

    Thank you, Susan.

  14. Louise Brogna says:

    Thank you for your message. May eternal rest grant unto Veronica, and may perpetual light shine upon her. God bless you.

  15. kal says:

    THANKYOU! This really hit me. Love is the only solution.
    God Bless You,
    KAL

  16. Eileen says:

    Susan you write beautifully. We all need to listen to one another and hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. God Bless+

  17. Bidget says:

    Thank you for your story.. this will awaken many of us and challenge us to spread the Love on Our Lord and Our Lady.

  18. Stephanie says:

    I can hardly know what to say, but I will tell you that this moved me so much and I really appreciate you posting this. Thank you for being brave enough to tell us something so deeply personal ❤

  19. Nancy says:

    What a HEART RENCHING STORY!!!! If ever there was a time in history for good works, it is NOW! I never understood the parable of a man lusting in his heart either, until I read it here. Thank-You sooooooooooooo MUCH for clearing it up for me. Yes, it does make sense that “Sin starts in the heart.”

  20. Thank you. Someday I will share my story with you, but for now, I will tell you that I have had a year in which my faith has come alive even while, on the outside, my life has fallen apart. Indeed all sin starts in the heart and moves in action and it is only in our hearts that we can first make the change. I would like to subscribe as well!

  21. Kimber says:

    Good start to your blog. I will be watching to see what comes next. It’s good to see that I am not alone in a journey like this. Many times the evil one tries to deceive me into thinking I’m the only one who strives for a closer unity to Our Lord. Your words proves I’m not. Thank you

  22. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing. I believe that is a huge problem in our day – people don’t understand, they have no sense of sin.
    My daughter’s name is Veronica.
    May our Lord grant salvation to Veronica, repentance and forgiveness to her estranged husband and comfort and peace to her loved ones, including you and especially her son.
    (Ps I also have a blog; google Daughter of your Handmaid and Gospasdaughter if interested.)
    J

  23. Karin says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Susan and welcome to the Catholic blogosphere 🙂 That particular station of the cross always touches me. Veronica took a huge risk in providing that respite for Jesus. We as Catholics sometimes do as well, especially in this very secular world. I often ask Jesus to let my heart be like Veronica’s veil; a place where He can be consoled and comforted.
    Many blessings as you continue your writing.

  24. Susan, I am breathless! What a wonderful reaction to a horrific event! God has blessed you with the gift of writing. Thanks so very much!

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  30. barbaraschoeneberger says:

    Thanks for joining Sunday Snippets where I found you. This tragic story shows how God can use heart-rending events to give us deeper insights into His will for us. I am currently supporting emotionally a woman who had recently had to come to grips with the fact that both of her parents are first degree murderers. Her life has been a descent into hell. I will pray for all in that family.

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  32. Paul Flattery says:

    Susan, I just found your posting. Veronica was a friend of mine and I also met her wonderful mother. You describe her well. She was enchanting and genuine. This senseless tragedy visits me almost very day and makes me feel cheated that she was taken from me, from all of us, who knew her. I was born a Roman Catholic but am not of any religion now but you wrote a beautiful piece. Thank you.

  33. Michelle Davis says:

    I found your blog today by accident while researching The Stations of the Cross for our RCIA class. (I am part of the teaching team.) After reading it, I feel compelled to tell you that I think it is a beautiful writing. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will have an impact on all who read it.

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