Pope Benedict, Good Liturgy, Sacred Art and the Divine Mercy Image
life of souls, and the Water (Baptism) that makes souls righteous. Jesus also indicated that we would receive graces from these images, and why not, if the sacraments are contained with them.
The Pope continued to explain "the center of the icon of Christ is the Paschal Mystery: Christ is presented as the Crucified, the risen Lord, the One who will come again and who here and now hiddenly reigns over all. Every image of Christ must contain these three essential aspects of the mystery of Christ and, in this sense, must be an image of Easter".
The Divine Mercy image is the image of the risen Christ on that first Easter on the evening of the Resurrection, miraculously appearing there in the Upper Room and bestowing on the Apostles the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive sins. His hand is
raised in blessing, he shows them His wounds, and Jesus is looking for their trust. Recall that St. Thomas, the doubter, was not there on that first Easter Sunday, but was actually there on the "Second Sunday of Easter", the very first Divine Mercy Sunday. Now we can see why Jesus insisted that the Divine Mercy image, with the words "Jesus, I trust in You" be in view and venerated in our churches on that day.
The Divine Mercy image portrays, not only the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, that Benedict XVI indicated as being essential, but as Pope John Paul II indicated in one of his Divine Mercy Sunday homilies, also portrays, in the clear light ray representing the water, the giving of the Holy Spirit which is present in all the other sacraments of the Church.
It is very clear that our Holy Father wrote this book with the intention of pouring out his heart to all of us, so that we might bring life and hope back into the liturgy. His many years as one of the Church´s foremost theologians and as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has earned him everyone´s respect. It would be of great benefit for everyone to read this book, including all the clergy.
His message of hope, which has become his hallmark, was very prevalent in this work, which was written just five years before his election to the Papal office. He often mentioned the word "hope" and associated it with the Second Coming of Christ. Indeed, this is our hope, and this image of the Divine Mercy was designed by our God, to bring us precisely this hope, and trust, as we grow ever closer to that long-awaited Second Coming of Christ.
The Divine Mercy image perfectly fits every single fundamental principal and indentifying element that our Pope has so painstakingly described. Only by reading this masterful work will we come to understand the depth of the Pope´s insight and into the urgent need to re-invigorate our churches with sacred art that is ordered to the liturgy, of which no other image could represent so precisely as the Divine Mercy image itself.
Is it any wonder, why his predecessor, Pope John Paul II worked so hard to make us all understand how important Divine Mercy is? There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit was working through our Church and the Vicar of Christ to bring about this path of hope. The World Congress on Mercy is yet another sign from heaven that now is the time for mercy. Let us take advantage now while there is time for hope.
Robert R. Allard, Director of the Apostles of Divine Mercy, has been helping the Church to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday since 1996. He had been a Fallen-away Catholic for over 25 years and received a special grace on Mercy Sunday. He has written for national magazines, newspapers, and has organized conferences and seminars. He has recently appeared on EWTN TV and Radio. His website provides information and resources, such as bulletin inserts, homilies, documents, and images.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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