featured image

The Stations of the Cross, particularly the Sixth Station, made Cathi Kennedy aware of her default response to others’ needs.

Like most Catholic churches, my parish has images of the Stations of the Cross arranged around the sides of the church. They are there to remind us of Christ’s Passion and death on the cross.  

I gravitate to one side of the church out of habit for Reconciliation. There are several images of the Stations of the Cross on which I often gaze while waiting my turn. Of these, the one that speaks to me the most is the sixth station: Veronica wiping the face of Jesus.  

Jesus is tired, in anguish, and barely able to take another step. Veronica is crouched down, lovingly wiping His face of blood and sweat. And there looming over them both is the Roman guard. His face is angry, impatient, and cruel. 

One day, when I was feeling especially contemplative, I looked at this image and thought, “Who am I in this scenario? Am I Veronica? Or am I the soldier?” 

Would I stop? What is my reaction to people despised by others? Bloody, dirty, hated. Would I be so bold to help? Or would I be like the soldier: yelling, hating, uncaring, and unsympathetic? 

I would like to think I would be Veronica. But would I be? 

The crowd is yelling; the mob mentality has taken over. Do I go against them? Maybe they’ll turn on me for helping? I think at that moment, Veronica didn’t see the crowd. She didn’t hear the mob. She had no concern for her safety or her reputation. Only love. Only love for Jesus. At that moment, she was compelled to act. The very nature of love is action, after all.  

Did Jesus look upon Veronica with gratitude for this small kindness? I believe she was rewarded in heaven for her action. For this kindness to Jesus when no one else seemed to care. For stepping in to help when others wouldn’t. 




I recently attended a lecture by Bishop Robert Barron. It was truly an honor to hear him speak. During the Q&A portion of the lecture, Bishop Barron was asked a question on discernment. He said that when you are faced with two choices, the one that’s the hardest, that will take you out of your comfort zone, where you feel downright unqualified—that’s where God is calling you. 

Veronica didn’t know she was performing a corporal work of mercy that day. She loved Jesus and did the one thing she could do to help Him at that moment. A small kindness. A kindness we are still talking about today.  

I will admit that I fail miserably at corporal works of mercy. They make me uncomfortable for a number of reasons, and I let my need for comfort outweigh the small good I could do. I’m aware of it, but have taken little action to overcome it.  

Because of my lack of action, I fear that I am often the soldier in this scenario. I am impatient, unfeeling, and unsympathetic.  


Click to tweet:
Are we afraid of the reaction of others? Or are we like Veronica? #CatholicMom

Where are we being called to act in our communities, in our own homes, and in our friend circles? Do we see someone who needs a simple act of kindness? Are we ready to act? Are we afraid of the reaction of others? Or are we like Veronica? Not hesitant. Acting out of love, with no thought of ourselves.  

I pray that God will not only fill my heart with compassion but that he will give me the courage to look beyond myself and my feelings and to lovingly and kindly be there for others. To help the hungry, the poor, and the forgotten.

Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours and help me to be like Veronica, showing love to others who need it. 

Copyright 2023 Cathi Kennedy
Images: copyright 2023 Cathi Kennedy, all rights reserved.