“Daniellion” by After Briton Rivière – Manchester City Art Gallery
“My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither have I done you any harm, O king!”
On the 29th of this month it will have been 5 years since Veronica’s murder. It has been a a great Spiritual journey for me. The name Veil of Veronica is not only about Veronica who wiped the Face of Jesus, but for me personally, it is the veil that was lifted from my eyes after my friend Veronica’s death. I became acutely aware of the spiritual around me, both good and evil. It is hard to explain, and there are those who will always think I am crazy.
In hindsight, all things in my life pointed me in this direction. The direction of God who always seeks us. He has always been waiting for me and I had come to meet Him sometimes in prayer before, but now I talk to Him all day long. This does not mean everything is easy, or peaceful, in fact some things have been much harder. It is hard to know. To know and want to tell others only to be attacked or seen as weird. But because we find rest in the Lord, we can have spiritual peace.
I was reflecting back on my life, my Catholic upbringing, and I remembered my Confirmation. I remembered picking my Confirmation name, Danielle, the feminine of Daniel, from the Old Testament. To many, Confirmation is a kind of graduation, a choosing for yourself to follow Christ, but this was never the intention of the Sacrament. This Sacrament is a strengthening by the Holy Spirit of our Baptism in which we are already marked for Christ. It is one of the initiation Sacraments, and through it the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to go out. It increases our sanctifying grace, imparts the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and gives us courage to boldly profess the name of Christ.
It seems no coincidence then that I chose Daniel. I remember identifying greatly with Daniel as a child. Speaking out when others wouldn’t, being made fun of because I did. I remember thinking how awesome it was that God protected Daniel from the lions. The lions ready to devour him. But as I grew older, and the worldly world took hold of me, I spoke out less against evil, and loved less. The world had made me somewhat bitter, and I wasn’t sure of the God who I had seen so clearly when I was young. Veronica’s murder changed all that. God had been waiting for me all along calling me back. My call at Confirmation to go out was lit on fire once again. The Flame of Love is on fire in my soul. I once again, only through the grace of God, can proclaim Him. I only pray as the days and months forge ahead that God will continue to impart courage and strength upon me so that if the lions come to devour me, I can walk in confidence that God Almighty is holding me in the Palm of his hand. And I say to all in the spirit of Confirmation, “we must go out and proclaim Christ the Lord!”