Divine Mercy sanctuary - Vilnius
"Imprint in our heart, Lord, sentiments of faith, hope and charity, of sorrow for our sins, and lead us to repent for our sins that have crucified You." - Pope Francis
I watched the Stations of the Cross from Rome last evening. I was deeply impressed with the prayers, especially the last, prayed by the Holy Father. He looked very tired to me, and sounded so 'soft' - and I loved how he wove all that troubles mankind into an appeal for mercy.
O Christ crucified and victorious, Your Way of the Cross is the summary of your life, the icon of Your obedience to the will of the Father, and the realization of your infinite love for us sinners. It is the proof of Your mission. It is the final fulfillment of the revelation and the history of salvation. The weight of Your cross frees us from all of our burdens. In Your obedience to the will of the Father, we become aware of our rebellion and disobedience.
In You, sold, betrayed, crucified by Your own people and those dear to you, we see our own betrayals and our own usual infidelity. In Your innocence, Immaculate Lamb, we see our guilt. In Your face, slapped, spat on and disfigured, we see the brutality of our sins. In the cruelty of Your passion, we see the cruelty of our heart and of our actions. In Your own feeling of abandonment, we see those abandoned by their families, by society, by attention and by solidarity.
In Your body, sacrificed, ripped and torn, we see the body of our brothers who have been abandoned along the way, disfigured by our negligence and our indifference. In Your thirst Lord, we see the thirst of Your merciful Father, who desired to embrace, forgive and save all of humanity. In You, Divine Love, we see even today, before our very eyes, and often with our silence and complicity, our persecuted brothers and sisters, decapitated, crucified for their faith in You. - Pope Francis
Don't forget the Divine Mercy devotion - especially as we prepare for the Holy Year - and of course, the Synod on the Family. I look forward to both - I have such peace regarding these two events. All the fears, the talk, the gossip, the reaction against the Holy Father, the Synod, and even an apparent resistance to the proclamation of Mercy itself, seems to me, to be unwarranted. I think my confidence is a grace, the fruit of Divine Mercy: Jesus I trust in you!
So, whatever your state of mind - indeed - your state of soul - turn to the Divine Mercy. The novena began on Good Friday, but you can begin it anytime - the essential element of the novena is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy - pray that and use the image to captivate all your senses, all the faculties of your soul.
I know many images exist and many may not appeal to some Catholics - but try to overlook the variety of styles. Mortify your artistic sensibilities, and like a child, in an attitude of spiritual poverty, find a representation which appeals to your heart. I prefer some of the earliest images, within the context of the sanctuaries wherein they are venerated. Imagine yourself, in the light pouring forth from the sacred image, in the blood and water flooding your soul, immerse yourself therein and suspend yourself in that light - or let yourself be suspended, lifted up in His merciful love.