Husband & Wife Articles


 

Soul of the Savior

The Divine Mercy image can become the heart of the domestic church

By Philip Kosloski

“By means of this image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it” (St. Faustina, Diary 570).

After celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday (April 3), we are reminded of the beauty and power of the image that Jesus asked St. Faustina Kowalska to share with the world. Jesus designed this image to be a channel of grace, with the power to change hearts, for all those who venerate it. Unfortunately, the image of Divine Mercy is not often seen in our churches.

Nielsen Family

Yet in this Year of Mercy, it is vital to place this image in a prominent place in our homes as a constant reminder of God’s unfathomable mercy. What better place to allow its graces to flow than in the domestic church?

The image itself can have multiple functions within the context of a family, becoming a channel of God’s graces to parents and children alike. First of all, it can serve as the central image of family prayer. Whenever a family gathers together to pray, it benefits everyone to have a focal point for meditation. Over the years, my wife and I have struggled with the location of our family prayer time and have found that it is easiest to pray in front of a prayer table (or corner) that contains beautiful sacred art.

We have tried to pray in our children’s rooms, but they are often distracted and not in a particularly prayerful mood. Let’s just say that they haven’t learned from reading stories about what happens to monkeys that jump on the bed.

However, when we gather to pray in a separate room in front of beautiful art, like the Divine Mercy image, they are much more able to focus their attention and enter into a state of prayer. The image captures the eyes of children and reminds them to whom they are praying.

The image also serves an important role in teaching children about the nature of God. I know from my own childhood how images shaped my understanding of God. I grew up with the image of God being an old man with a white beard, floating in the clouds. This image of God gave me the impression that God is distant and unloving. I thought that he cared little about us and simply watched our activities from afar.

But when the image of Divine Mercy is used to teach children about God, he is seen as someone who loves us and literally opens up his heart to us. Children are fascinated by the rays coming from his chest and always ask what they are and why they are red and white. The face of Jesus also reveals to us not an angry God who is ready to strike us down when we sin, but a gentle God who looks on us in love.

This is the image of God that we want our children to have as they grow older and are more aware of their own sinfulness. We want an image that sticks in their mind and beckons them to return with an invitation to new life, no matter how serious the sin. The old man in the clouds that I grew up with simply does not speak to the heart and cannot call someone back from a life of sin in the same way.

Additionally, as children grow older they can read the words at the bottom of the image, “Jesus, I trust in You,” and make that prayer their own. While the prayer is extremely simple and short, it can carry your children through the most difficult trials in life. 

In the end, Jesus wants us to use this image to draw closer to him. One of the best places to allow his graces to flow is in the family. It is the key to family prayer and has such power to teach our children about the God who loves us. Let us consider placing the image of Divine Mercy in a prominent place in our home and let the God of Mercy flow into our lives.

Philip Kosloski is a writer, blogger and author. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife, Maggie, and their four children.