St. Michael Prayer

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do, thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Artist: Carlo Callari: Jesus Meets Veronica: Public Domain

The day was stifling as Veronica began to walk to the well to bring water home to her husband and children.  The sun was just rising in the east.  The sun was red as it began to rise.  Veronica’s husband would not be happy that she left home this early, but she could not sleep and in order to cook she needed water.  How everyone else could sleep in this heat was something that Veronica could not understand.

When she arrived at the well, there were a few women there already,  They were talking and trying to cool off with a dab of water on their faces.  They were wiping sweat with their veils.
“I heard they arrested Him last night. There was a lot of noise near the temple.”
“The high priests tried to get him to blaspheme, but He wouldn’t.”
“I heard his followers were in the courtyard, and, is it Peter?  I heard he denied His Master three times.”

Veronica had little time or patience with gossip, but this did interest her.”
One of the ladies laughed, “Some Messiah.  He can’t save Himself.”

She smiled, and put her water on her head to help balance it and herself.  She did notice the city was a little busier than normal for this hour.  The sun was past the horizon now.  She could feel sweat seeping down her back.  She didn’t walk past the temple, but many men were headed that way. 

When Veronica returned home, her husband was up.  “If it hadn’t been for the children, I would have left to find you.  It’s just not safe to walk alone through town in the dark.”

“The women were talking about the Prophet.  They said He was arrested last night.  The high priest wants to crucify Him.”

Ishmael responded.  “That’s true.  Not only that, one of His own followers turned Him over to the high priests, then Judas, I think it was, went out of the city and hung himself.”

Tears formed in Veronica’s eyes.  She wept silently as she began to prepare their breakfast.  The children were starting to wake up. “Mother,” said Miriam, “What’s going on?  There’s a lot of people marching through town?”  Miriam was her little monkey.  She could climb any tree.  She was speaking to her parents from one of the top branches.  Ishmael spoke to his daughter lovingly, “Miriam, do I have to climb up there and get you down?”  They all smiled because they knew she could climb down quickly and easily.  “Daddy, what’s going on?  I can see all the way to the main street.  It’s the prophet.  He looks like He was beaten up really badly.”

Veronica and Ishmael looked at each other.  “Little monkey, come down,” said Veronica.  Ishmael stood up.  He had a few bites of his delicious bread that Veronica made for the family.
She gave him some olives and fruit.  Veronica knew that her husband would be on his way.  “Miriam,” he said in a gentle but gruff voice, “Come down now.”  “Papa,” she said, “I can see everything.”  “Now,” he bellowed, and Miriam came down the tree.

“See that she doesn’t climb any more today,” Ishmael told his wife.  He gave both his wife and nimble daughter a hug and kiss.  He was off to his business, but he would go to the Temple before he began his day. 

Veronica and her children did their chores even in the strangling heat.  Veronica kept her eyes on her children.  She did not want them to see things little eyes should not see.  There was so much noise in the city now.  The activity was great.

It was mid morning, but Veronica knew that she had to go closer into town.  One of the neighbors came over and said, “They condemned Him to die.  They are going to crucify Him.”  Veronica knew that crucifixion was the most painful way to die.  The Romans were good at this task.  She had loved the Teacher.  She had heard Him preach many times.  His words were all love and prayer.  He was a good man!  Why had they decided to crucify Him?  Something was wrong, terribly wrong.  She knew she must go see the Prophet.

Bayla was the eldest child and soon to be married.  She would be in charge while she was gone.

“Bayla,” I must go into the city now.  “The lunch is prepared for the children.   Please see to it that they eat all they take.  Do not let Miriam climb the tree.”

“Mother,” Bayla said, “What’s the matter?”

I must go and find your father.  It’s busy in the city now.  It might take me a while.  Whatever you do, do not let the children leave the house or climb on to the roof.”

“Mother,” Bayla said, “I’m afraid.” 

“Bayla,” Veronica replied as she hugged her child.  “Don’t worry.  Pray with the children.  I will be back as soon as I can.”

“Yes, Mother,” Bayla replied.  “Be careful.”

Veronica smiled at her beautiful daughter.  She would be a good wife and mother.  She would be the pearl that was found.

Veronica left the courtyard and walked into the streets.  She didn’t see her husband at his place of business, so she walked on.  Veronica didn’t realize that she had left her apron on around her waist.  She didn’t take it off, because to wear it around her shoulders, with her veil, would make her hotter than she was now.

She was going to cross the street when she heard the Roman horses pounding in the distance.  They were coming in her direction.  They didn’t hesitate to knock anyone down as they road.  It didn’t matter if they were children or the elderly.  The Roman soldiers didn’t care.  Ishmael had gone with others to Pilate to remind him that these people should be treated humanely.  Pilate agreed, but his soldiers did not.

She could hear the jeers as the soldiers drew closer. 

“Save yourself, Messiah.”  “If You’re the Son of God, ask for the angels to save You.”

“Oh, My Lord,” Veronica whispered in prayer, “Save us and forgive us.”

The first Roman soldier was walking and shoving people out of the way.  She saw His Mother walking with her arm around one of his disciples.  She was being crushed by the crowd, but the disciple was holding her up.  They weren’t making much progress.  They were headed towards the skull.  Veronica could see that the Lady was weeping.  They walked behind her.  Veronica lowered her eyes and embraced His mother.  They kept walking forward.  The soldier let His Mother pass.  He looked ashamed.

Two men came.  They looked like they had been beaten, too, and they were carrying their crosses.  One was cursing God.  The other was carrying his cross in silence.  Veronica looked away.  She had never seen a prisoner carrying his cross before.  Ishmael would not let her attend a crucifixion.  Why had she come?  She didn’t know.  The Romans were cruel.  Pilate could not control his soldiers. 

Then she saw the Master.  Veronica gasped because He had been beaten and scourged. He was covered in blood.  He was weak.  Flesh hung from his bones, and He was still being made to carry His cross.  He fell.  Veronica did not even think.  In spite of the Roman Army, Veronica raced towards the Messiah.  A soldier stepped up ready to stop her with His shield.  Veronica looked at this soldier in eye.  He seemed surprised that she was not afraid, and he let her go to Jesus.

Jesus was struggling to get up.  Veronica looked at Jesus with kindness and tenderness.  She took off her veil.  “My Lord,” she said, “May I wipe your face.”  Jesus was breathing heavily.  He seemed to be gasping for air.  His clothes were the color of the wine presser’s clothes.  Jesus nodded at Veronica.  A soldier stepped near to grab Veronica and make her move.  Jesus looked at Him, too, and the soldier moved away.  Veronica gently wiped the face of her Master. 

The soldiers were forcing Him to stand.  His legs were weak.  He could barely walk.  The crowd gasped as they saw Him.  Veronica reached out to help Jesus to His feet, and this time, the soldier came up and told her to move back to the crowd.  Veronica’s eyes were filled with tears.
She moved back to the crowd.  The soldiers whipped Jesus again.  One of the them tried to shove Veronica, but he missed her and he fell to the ground.  The crowd laughed and mocked the soldier.  Red faced, the soldier moved forward. 

Veronica began to weep.  Through her tears she could see her Master drag His cross on His shoulders.  The soldiers stopped and pulled a man out from the crowd.  She knew the man, it was Simon.  He was being forced to help Jesus carry His cross.  She wept because she had heard about the crucifixion deaths.  They were horrible beyond imagination, and His Mother would watch Him die.  Her heart broke for them both.

She felt and arm around her shoulders and she jumped.  It was Ishmael.  “My darling,” he said, “Why are you here?  What about the children?”  Veronica, while gasping for breath through her tears whispered, “Bayla is taking care of them.”  Her husband led her through the crowds.  In the distance they could see that the procession had reached the place of the skulls.  “Do not look, Miriam.  Do not look.”

With her veil in her hands, they arrived back home.  The children came running.  “Mother!  Mother!  Why are you crying?” 

Ismael told his children, “Your mother will be fine soon.  Let’s prepare her something to eat and drink.”

“Miriam, bring your mother a cool cloth for her face.  Dip it in the water.”

Ishmael carried his wife to their bed.  She was still holding on to her veil.  He lay her in the bed, and he knelt by her side.  She was sleeping soundly.  The sky grew dark.  

“My darling,” he said to her, “Please wake up.  We must close up the house.  It is going to rain.  There is a bad storm coming.”

Miriam woke up.  She lay the veil on her bed, and she and her husband and children began to close up their house with pieces of canvas from the fisherman’s boats.  There was a loud noise.  The earth shook.  The rain poured down, but they were safe.  They sat in their home waiting for the storm to pass. 

“Ishmael,” she said, “It’s over.  He is dead.”  “I know, My Beloved.  I know.”

The rain stopped and one of the neighbors knocked on their door.  Veronica reached for her veil.  Ishmael opened the door to their neighbor.  “The temple.  It’s just as he said.  It’s been damaged, and in places, beyond repair.”

Veronica knew she should veil, but she stopped when she saw her veil.  She gasped lightly.  Ishmael saw his wife  holding her veil.  On it, was the prophet’s face.  He knelt.  The neighbor knelt.  “He was the Son of God!” 

Veronica took off her apron and used that cloth as her veil.  There would be no  celebration at her home tonight.  The neighbors were gathering outside, but the family of Ishmael had nothing to contribute.  They were asked to join their neighbors for the meal.
One of the women who had met Jesus on the way had seen Veronica wipe the Master's face.  She brought a new veil for Veronica to wear.  She told her to keep it  because she had been so blessed.  The stories began.  Food was eaten.  They knew their lives would never be the same.

Veronica whispered a prayer for His Mother. 

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