Behold, the Lamb of God. Behold Him, who takes away the sins of the world.
We hear these words all so often at Mass. We gaze upon Christ Himself in forms of bread and wine, and today’s feast, we behold Him through the devotion of Divine Mercy.
This image expresses truths which are difficult to express in words. The love of Christ more powerful than sin and death is made visible to us. Jesus is not only alive, but also glorified and revealing His wounds. He longs, He yearns, He desires to come to us in our sin and weakness and to allow His love and mercy to penetrate into those areas of our hearts we are afraid of.
Wounds…We define ourselves so often by our wounds. Our past, our sins, or wrongs done to us can often be ways that we find our identity. And yet, in this image, Jesus is showing us the reality. His wounds define us. Our identity is not in what we do, how successful we are, or even what has been done to us. Rather, He is our worth and identity. We are daughters of the Almighty Father, loved infinitely to the point of Christ being nailed to a cross and shedding His blood for us…We only need to be open to receive such love.
This image of Divine Mercy is declaring your value. You are priceless and are created by love and for love. Jesus is glorified, and he actually is proclaiming his wounds to us. These wounds which were the source of utmost pain and suffering are the founts of infinite life and love.
It can be difficult to receive such love. This love is so overwhelming and beautiful that we can feel unworthy to receive it, and yet, that is all that God wants from us.
The words “Behold” are found so often in Scripture and in the Liturgy, and it can be easy to just skim over them. But in each of these moments, the word “Behold” involves a call. It involves the deep desire of the human heart to stop "doing" and focus on “being.” It focuses on receptivity to something beautiful being presented. At the Annunciation, Mary received the news of the angel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.”(Luke 1:38) At the foot of the Cross, Mary and John received one another from Christ with the words “Behold, your Mother…Behold your son.” (John 19:27)
The words “Behold” hold a core truth of the beauty of being a woman. As women, God has endowed us with the special gift of being able to receive the love of another. It is in our nature innately to desire and long to be loved and cherished, and to receive that love. And yet, so often, in our culture of death, we are closed off to such love. Our society and our culture today encourage us to identify with our past, our wounds, or our successes. This feast of Divine Mercy is a call to us as women to live a culture of life and identify with God’s love for us.
While many of us have been told of the love of God for us and about how God gazes at us, how many of us have really let this journey go beyond what we intellectually know? This was the question I asked myself as Behold was being formed over the course of the past few years. I found that in my own life, I knew intellectually of my value and God’s love for me, and yet, often I doubted that in my heart. And prayer, in particular praying through sacred art, allowed that journey to happen. It was an opportunity to not just “know about Christ," but to know Christ...To see myself in the place of Mary in order to know what she experienced of Christ. Praying with “Visio Divina” became for me a journey of my faith going from “head to heart,” and I am praying it does the same for you through our mission and program as well. It is with joy on this special feast of trust in God’s Mercy and Love that we launch Behold!
May Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, lead us all to a deeper understanding of our value in light of Christ. Jesus, we trust in you!
If you are interested in joining us in our mission, please prayerfully consider becoming a facilitator. Our facilitator application can be found here:
(The image of Divine Mercy in this blog is found at the website http://fruitfullyalive.com/jesus-says-divine-mercy-image/ )