Thursday, April 12, 2007

Defending the Image of Mercy

I have seen parishes transformed after beginning to venerate the Divine Mercy image on Mercy Sunday.
We have found that once a pastor introduces the image, devotion to Christ takes off. People start learning about the Divine Mercy devotion and soon the pastor is hearing confessions from people who have been away from the confessional for years — or decades.

We let the pastor pick out the image. There are several versions of the image, and the pastor is the best suited to select which one fits his parish.

But, sadly, I have also often heard from people who call me and e-mail me and say, “My pastor doesn’t want that image in the church.” They say it isn’t appropriate, or that those who aren’t devotees won’t understand it.

But Divine Mercy Sunday isn’t for devotees. Jesus is looking for sinners. The Church gives us this special feast so that as many people as possible can be touched by the beauty and joy of reconciliation with God — and displaying the image is key to the day’s effectiveness.

What to tell pastors who are unsure about the image?

The image of the Divine Mercy is the icon of the risen Lord. The image is like the depiction of Jesus appearing in the upper room to the apostles and bestowing on them the power to forgive sins. It is also an image of hope that gives us the assurance that Christ will be there for us as we draw ever closer in great anticipation and wonder of his final coming.

The image of the Divine Mercy portrays, with its two rays of red and pale light, the re-presentation of the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation and the Eucharist.
Parishes that have permanently installed Divine Mercy images are noticing that many parishioners are finding great consolation and are entrusting themselves to God’s divine mercy and are urging their family and friends to do likewise.

They are repeating in their hearts what the picture tells them: “Jesus, I trust in you!” National Catholic Register

No comments: