V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider the compassion of the holy woman, Veronica. Seeing Jesus in such distress, His face bathed in sweat and blood, she presented Him with her veil. Jesus wiped His face, and left upon the cloth the image of his sacred countenance. (Kneel)
R: My beloved Jesus, / Your face was beautiful before You began this journey; / but, now, it no longer appears beautiful / and is disfigured with wounds and blood. / Alas, my soul also was once beautiful / when it received Your grace in Baptism; / but I have since disfigured it with my sins. / You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. / Do this by the merits of Your passion; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.
He is teaching me: "Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and all your strength..." I am hardly listening, I am gazing at His face. His face is beautiful and earnest, and I can see Divinity bursting forth from His human eyes. He is telling me to love Him with words, but His face commands me to love Him even more. Who could begin to resist so loving a gaze? He is beseeching me with every movement of His lips to love Him, but in His smile I am swept off my feet with the realization that in this face is life, and without this face I cannot live.
Now images flash before my face: a fist strikes his eye, spittle covers his cheek, the whip slashes his skin, thorns pierce his forehead... the beautiful face is distorted and defiled. But now that it is transformed, I love Him even more. In the pain of His eyes I see a holy desire for love so great that the former beauty of His face no longer attracts my romantic heart, but only this seal of love so intense that it bears all miseries to show its love.
My soul is overwhelmed with delight as He gives to Veronica the gift of His face imprinted on her veil, and I hold it to my heart as I would hold Him if only I was worthy to touch His skin and wipe the blood from His eyes. His face shall be the object of my admiration day and night, and never shall the gaze of my soul be transferred from Him.