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FEast: Sunday after Easter
Established By:  St. Faustina

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Divine Mercy

Bio

 

     The devotion to Jesus' Divine Mercy began with St. Faustina Kowalska. She was a poor, uneducated sister who had a special vision of Jesus telling her, "I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful Heart."

This occurred in 1931, and it was very important for the devotion to appear during this time. The world was changing drastically and found itself between the two world wars, creating a pessimistic view for many of the world and even of their faith. During this time, God was often described only as a cruel judge punishing sinners, so Faustina's new devotion brought so much light and hope.

The image came from St. Faustina's vision. Though she could not paint herself, she eventually found an artist to paint it for her, adding the words "Jesus, I Trust in You" to the bottom as her vision of Jesus had asked. The rays coming from his chest symbolize water (for righteousness) and blood (the life of souls). The image is in reference to the description of both blood and water pouring forth from Jesus' side as he was pierced while on the cross.

St. Faustina also created a Divine Mercy Chaplet (prayer) and novena (prayer said for 9 days in a row). Her vision also directed her to pray to this devotion especially in the 3 o'clock hour, which is said to be the time Jesus died on the cross.

The feast day for this devotion is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter each year.

St. Faustina was not widely known by the time she passed away, but we can thank Pope St. John Paul II for spreading her work and then canonizing her as a saint.

Prayer

 

Forgiveness, second chances, Mercy - some things we need a little help with in this world. we can so easily  miscommunicate, or others may hurt us by disagreement or choices we don’t understand. It is eternally hard to forgive, but may we have just enough of your mercy to do so.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

Since this is the first icon I ever painted, it's a little different than the others. it is so important, though, because it is what began this whole project. Keeping Jesus in a simple white t-shirt was the decision that brought about all of this!

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Sacred Heart

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FEast: the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost 
Established By:  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Bio

 

     Though St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is credited with the establishment of the devotion, writers have expounded upon the idea of the Sacred Heart of Jesus almost since the very beginning. St. Justin Martyr and Pope Gregory the Great popularized the idea, with Sts. Gertrude, Mechtilde, Anselm and Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century influencing members of the Franciscans and Dominicans.

St. Margaret Mary was a sister in the Order created by Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal in the 1671, in which the Sacred Heart was already a very important idea. In the rest of the world, however, an extremely pessimistic view of the faith was being spread - one that suggested that human beings were desperately sinful and could not do anything to receive grace from God.

After Margaret had her visions of him telling her that he so dearly loved humanity, she was able to tell her spiritual director about his message, and he, in turn, was able to take it out to the rest of the world.

The flames represent a burning love that Jesus can barely contain in his heart for all of us, as described to Margaret Mary, and the heart is also usually encircled by the crown of thorns and is bleeding. Many Popes and Christian writers have written much on this extremely important devotion to this day.

Prayer

 

We can never be too passionate, too in love, too on fire for the people, things, and parts of life we love. Neither can we be too energetic or  too devoted, to what we believe in and what we are working to change. Fill us with the grace your sacred heart gives to continue those fires. Be our model for radical love, And let us always feel that fire  for you.
Amen.

Art Reflection

 

Because Jesus is pictured far more often by the average person than any of the saints are, it has proved immensely difficult to try and portray him in ways that both challenge and align with those images. This one differs from the Divine Mercy in that his clothing is more formal, and his expression is more warm and cheerful. His features are more typically Middle Eastern, and he also appears older than in the image of the Divine Mercy.

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Precious Blood

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FEast: July 1st
Established By:  Pope Pius IX

Bio

 

     The Devotion to the precious blood of Jesus goes back to the beginning of Christianity since it finds its roots in its comparison to Old Testament Sacrifices and Blood Offerings. Just like animals were slaughtered as sacrifices for God, so was Jesus killed, according to Scripture, to be a sacrifice that would save humanity from death. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus mentions his blood as well as being an atoning sacrifice for forgiving sins and cleansing us. It is the price he paid for the redemption of humanity. Those who partake in it will have everlasting life, he says. Throughout time, many saints such as St. Bonaventure, St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, and St. Catherine of Siena have reflected on a devotion to Jesus’ precious blood, and how it symbolizes mystical love. In 1815, St. Gaspar del Bufalo established the Archconfraternity of the Precious Blood in Rome, which re-established the popularity of this devotion and gave it a feast day on the first Sunday of July.


This feast asks us to find areas in our lives in which we need repentance and reparation, and reminds us of the method of Jesus’ death. It also calls to mind any areas of injustice and the voices of history that cry out for it still.
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Prayer

 

There is still so much bloodshed not for sacrifice, but for injustice. Your blood allows us to hear the cries of those suffering. Take the pain away from the families and victims of gun violence, racism, and hatred, and guide us in our duty to end these things. 
Amen.

Art Reflection

 

this commission of the precious blood of Jesus is meant to represent victims of gun violence. With his halo portrayed as a target for shooting practice, the wound in his side comes not from a spear but a gun. An angel collects the drops of blood that are a symbol of his complete self-giving, which is life-giving and reconciling. Though this was given freely by Jesus, it recognizes that this is not so and should not be so when it comes to all other victims of violence, so, in this image, it is also collected because the blood of every human is precious - especially when the person is not treated as such by others. 

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