6 THE TRUE FACE
One of the most striking features that distinguish Ted Felen's Calvary from most others is that there are very few stations that represent more than one character and there is not a single station that has more than two. After the station with the two men carrying the one crossbeam, Jesus is here depicted with a woman. The gospels do not know her. Legend has brought her on to Jesus' path and also given her her name: Veronica. A fictional name, made up of a Latin word (verus = true) and a Greek word (eikoon = picture), combined to give the meaning 'true image'. The story was - and still is - that on the way she felt pity for Jesus , dried his face with a cloth and that this cloth afterwards contained his portrait. The station depicts Veronica 'revealing' this portrait; caught by surprise she looks at his face again and is amazed to conclude how striking the similarity is. Yet I think Ted Felen has served truth, more than the Veronica legend, by depicting a solitary Jesus on most other stations. The comfort and relief legend has Veronica give him really belong to the realm of myth, and the sudarium, the sweat cloth with the portrait, is a pious fancy. On his calvary Jesus was at the height of desolation and loneliness. This is what increases all pains exponentially. What about Jesus' true face? Haven't we known for centuries that we can see it in every face from whose eyes the poor, the sick, the banished and the needy look at us, and in every face of all those others who need us? Is it not a sign of the times that it took a Jewish philosopher, Emmanuel LÚvinas, to give this insight the status of a philosophy that can also be accepted and admired by non-Christians?