My parents hung a painting of the Divine Mercy Image of Jesus in our home that I remember well. The image was especially adored by my Polish Catholic family since a Polish nun, Saint Faustina, was the one who received the image of Divine Mercy in a vision.
The painting depicts the resurrected Christ with his heart visible, showing that it had been lacerated as described by the Gospel of John: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (19:34). (I later learned the medical explanation for the water: the rupture of the pericardium membrane wrapped around his heart.) In the painting, a red ray of light shoots forth on the left representing blood, a white ray of light shoots forth on the right for water. Jesus holds one hand to his heart and one stretched out in loving invitation. The words “Jesus, I trust in you” are printed along the bottom.
I spent a lot of time studying this image as a boy. The twisted thorns around his heart. The drops of blood below the wound. And the loving gaze of my Savior.
The Divine Mercy Image of Jesus has remained important to me in my work today. You probably could have guessed that since we named a non-profit Divine Mercy Care. The image represents the depths of Christ’s tender mercy for all of us, and the demands of his mercy because “even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.”
You may have heard me say before that medicine is an act of mercy. At Tepeyac and Divine Mercy Care, we are reclaiming this phrase of “merciful medicine” that has unfortunately become distorted to encourage medical “mercy killings” by euthanasia and abortion of sick babies. I regret that I even have to say that killing human life is never merciful.
Like housing the homeless, clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry, caring for the sick is an act of mercy. At least, it should be. At Tepeyac we try to offer merciful medicine. That means we treat two patients, mother and child. We focus on restoring relationships. We care for each patient as a whole individual with a body and an eternal soul.
Today as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, let us remember the resurrected Christ as the fountain of mercy whom we are to keep going to for graces. Likewise, we remember the demands of his mercy and the role we each play in extending his mercy throughout the world.