Originally published in 2013. Updated version: Good Friday, 18 April 2014.
A quick Google search of “Veronica’s Veil” will bring up many images of the imprint of the face of Jesus on cloth, or of a woman holding out a cloth, such as this one by Hans Memling, c. 1470.
Source: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus via Faith in the 21st Century
For this post however, I have deliberately chosen the one above because of the interaction between the two main figures. Notice the way in which Veronica faces Jesus front-on. She looks at him intently and he too, returns and holds her gaze. Furthermore, this image captures the moment of their meeting. Veronica is not exhibiting the shroud or veil on which the imprint of Jesus’ face as if Jesus has passed her by, or no longer alive. Both Jesus and Veronica meet, they breathe, they exchange glances, they both express some form of pain, vulnerability and need of each other. They both meet in mutual humanity.
Here, Veronica is portrayed as standing front-on, facing Jesus. Many images of the scene will show you either a woman exhibiting the shroud with a face on it, or some sort of representation that covers Jesus’ face. This artwork does neither. Jesus and Veronica are right there in the moment, as if someone has frozen time.
What do you see?
I see a woman standing, facing and confronting with compassion, the suffering of a man, her Lord and Saviour.
I see a woman present to the needs of her Master.
I see a faithful companion.