This project was conceived as an aid to meditation and reflection for a parish retreat during the season of Lent. The "icon" is revealed during the description of the image and a short reflection may follow. This may be a conversation or may be privately journaled.
Understanding Iconography: The “Veronica”
The Gospels are full of stories of people wanting to see Jesus. Everyone from shepherds watching their flocks to wise men from the East, prophets, such as Simeon and Anna, Zacchaeus, the tree climbing tax collector, the sick, the lame, the hemorrhaging woman, crowds on mountain tops, people in the plains, multitudes in the dessert, wanted to see this Jesus from Nazareth. Even after his death we are told he appeared to crowds until he was taken up into heaven. Early “followers of the way” gathered around those who had known Jesus, house churches met to remember Jesus in special meals, and new disciples corresponded with old disciples for instruction in the faith. Gospels were written to preserve important moments of Jesus life and teaching. Christians began visiting important locations associated with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and anamnestic liturgies were created to help Christians enter into the Paschal mystery. As reverence for these holy places grew there was an equal interest and veneration of objects made sacred through contact with Jesus.
Some believe the image was destroyed during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Artistic reproductions of the image, though popular, were prohibited by Pope Paul V in 1616, and, in 1629, Pope Urban VIII not only prohibited reproductions of the Veronica, but also ordered the destruction of all existing copies. This has led to speculation that the Veronica was “misplaced” or stolen from the Basilica.