Vinny Flynn’s book, 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy (Ignatius Press-Augustine Institute) was given out as a gift to all parishioners and visitors to our parish on Easter Sunday. Here is an excerpt from this wonderful book that will help us continue in our Year of Mercy as we contemplate the Divine Mercy Image. — AMJ
Want to know how to use the Divine Mercy Image most effectively? Look at it. Gaze at it. Keep your gaze fixed upon the Lord until you are struck with awe and joy, contemplating the incredible goodness of God, who is always loving you, always blessing you, always inviting you into His Heart.
St. Paul records the process of transformation that takes place through this contemplative gazing on the Lord:
“All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”
—2 Cor. 3:18
As we gaze upon the Image, contemplating God’s great mercy, we come to see who God really is, and who we are called to be. Moment, by moment, through the grace of God, we are transformed into the image and likeness of what we see, from one degree of glory to the next. We become what we behold until we, ourselves, are living reflections of God.
We’re not supposed to just hang this Image on a wall; we’re supposed to become it. The Divine Mercy Image must become our “mountaintop experience,” our reminder that Jesus is Mercy Incarnate and that we are each called to become like Him, transfigured into living images of Divine Mercy, reflecting and radiating the Father’s mercy in the world:
The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son…to make God manifest by acting in conformity with his creation “in the image and likeness of God.” (CCC1877, 2085 emphasis added)
Our vocation is to make God visible by the way we live, acting in conformity to the way we were created — in His image and likeness.
I’ve got to start acting like someone made in the image and likeness of God! I’ve got to start acting the way He acts, seeing you the way He sees you, loving you the way He loves you. I’ve got to start seeing God in you and responding to you with a blessing!
…So, as we gaze on the painting that represents Christ, what we’re trying to do is connect with Him, to become like Him, the real Divine Mercy Image.
Where is the real Divine Mercy Image? In Heaven? Yes, of course. But sometimes Heaven can seem pretty far away. Is the Divine Mery Image anywhere else, in a more tangible way, a more “right here and now” way?
Yes. The Eucharist. Jesus, in Person — Divine Mercy, Himself — is right here in our midst, in every tabernacle in the world, twenty-four seven.
There’s a “veil” over the Eucharist. We look and try to believe what we’ve been taught, but we’re seeing what looks like bread, what looks like wine. If we could lift the veil, what we would see is Jesus as He is portrayed in the Divine Mercy Image.
Every time you receive the Eucharist or spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, see that Image. Because He is truly there. Not the picture, but the prototype — the one that the picture is trying to represent to us. The one true Divine Mercy Image, Jesus Christ.