The Heart of Mercy
The Heart of Mercy is a person. More specifically it is the person of Jesus Christ as depicted in the image of Divine Mercy, as commissioned by the Lord Himself and given to St. Faustina Kowalska. But, as Vinny Flynn points out in his book, “7 Secrets of Divine Mercy”, it is not just a picture of Jesus. It is to be an instrument of His Mercy, a visible reminder of the merciful love available to each one of us. Vinny suggests that how one views the image is of critical importance.
The most important thing to remember that the Divine Mercy Image must be viewed as an icon, not an idol. What’s the difference? An icon draws us to God. An idol, on the other hand, draws us away from God. We usually think of an idol as an image or statue that we worship as if it possesses some sort of divine power. The idol itself becomes the object of our attention and worship.
The Divine Mercy image becomes like a window that allows us to look through it and to enter into a state of contemplation. But, what do we see when we look through this window? We see Our Lord’s right hand raised in blessing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father. … The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In His Word, who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, He fills us with His blessings. Through His Word, He pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.
#1078, #1082, emphasis added
Through this window, we see the triune God. Jesus has told us, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). “And I pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him for he dwells with you, and will be with you.” (Jn: 14:16-17) Jesus, in this image, is indeed, blessing us with the hand of the Father unceasingly. He and the Father are eternal. This blessing is always available. We are disposed to receive this blessing through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Gift that contains all gifts.
But, there’s more. The left hand, “touching the garment at the breast”, opens the garment slightly, “drawing open the garment in the area of the heart”(Diary, 47). This gesture is one of invitation. Jesus is inviting us to come into His heart, which was once pierced for us. “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once, there came out blood and water. He who saw it (John) has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you may believe.” (Jn 19;34-35). As with the continuous action of blessing, this action too is ongoing. However, the time of mercy is finite. We are living in this time of mercy. But, the time of mercy is short. As St. Faustina recorded in her Diary:
Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the foundation of My mercy. (Diary, 848)
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But, woe to them if they do not recognize the time of My visitation. (Diary, 1160)
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary, 1146)
The rays represent a stream of mercy. The pale rays are often thought to represent the sacrament of Baptism (waters of Baptism), and by extension, confession. The red rays respresent the Eucharist (blood of sacrifice) and again, by extension, confession. But, why then, is the heart not visible? If the heart were visible, what we would likely see is the Sacred Heart image. The Sacred Heart image reveals Christ’s wounded heart with its crown of thorns surrounded by flames of love. Vinny Flynn cites a speaker at a “Fortnight of Mercy” event in the early nineties at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy, who made it clear to him. If revealed, the image would become the Sacred Heart image. The speaker explained that the Sacred Heart image represents the source of mercy. The Divine Mercy image concerns the distribution of mercy. The Sacred Heart image reveals the depth of His love for us:
Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself to prove to them Its love. In return, I receive from the greater part of men, nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges, and coldness with which they treat me …
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Lamentations of the Lover, 1675
The appropiate response is to make reparation for the treatment all of us at times have given Him. The image of Divine Mercy is calling for a response. The best form of reparation is to respond by returning His love, to console His Heart. The response is contained in the signature, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
As we view the Image of Divine Mercy, we are called to respond by embracing the blessing, realizing that the best way to make reparation and console the Heart of Jesus is to receive His mercy with gratitude and expectant faith, placing all our trust in Him.
Vinny Flynn, 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy, p. 95
I developed this website to assist you in your efforts to “embrace the blessing’ by receiving His mercy “with gratitude and expectant faith, placing all our trust in Him”.