In the Jubilee of Mercy and Compassion, Mr. Vinz Loiz and Mr. Barth Mariquit of the Christian Life Education Subject Area put up an exhibit of images of Jesus, the King of Mercy and Compassion.
Just as St. Ignatius was converted by reading two books, the Life of Christ and the Lives of the Saints, we hope that those who visit would also experience a metanoia, a change of heart. In taking time to contemplate these symbolic art, the Lord may also grant every visitor what He has granted to St. Ignatius of Loyola.
For Mr. Loiz and me, these are our Top 7. Come to the exhibit at the St. Stanislaus Kostka Chapel of the Ateneo High School, and tell us your Top 7. Or choose one image that inspires you to become more compassionate, merciful, or forgiving of someone.
1. The Divine Mercy
St. John Vianney says, “It is not the sinner who returns to the Father to beg His forgiveness, but God who runs after the sinner and makes him return to Him.” St. Alphonsus says, “no sinner has ever trusted in God, and has been lost.”
And one of the prominent figures of the devotion to the Divine Mercy, St. Faustina says, “God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God’s mercy will never be exhausted.”
Return to your experiences of being forgiven. What was your feeling when someone forgave you despite the gravity of pain you have inflicted on them?
Contemplate on your experience of forgiving others. Was it liberating? Was it freeing?
2. Jesus who pardons sinners.
“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little has been forgiven, loves little. He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.'” (Luke 7, 47-48).
Forgiving someone takes a greater love. Have you ever made a great move to forgive someone whom you love too much? And on the other hand, has someone who loves you too much, forgiven you? Savor the memories of being pardoned.
3. Jesus carries the cross.
“Then he handed Him over to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew: Golgotha” (John 19, 16-17).
When you are beset by problems and challenges, who accompanies you and shares your crosses? Who listens to you? Who are those who will be with you from the time your problem began to the time it is resolved? Like Jesus who never abandons us, your family/friend becomes a real friend.
4. Jesus who was betrayed by his friends.
“His betrayer has arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely, He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed Him. (Mark 14: 44-45).
Compassion is the ability to share the heart of another. If you have ever felt betrayed by a friend, you can be assured that Jesus knows what you feel. He was betrayed by his closest friends: Judas, who kissed Him, and Peter, who denied Him three times.
Share your experiences of betrayal in your prayers.
5. Jesus with the merciful heart.
Here is an image of the Sacred Heart whose love is burning with the fire of love. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In sharing our burdens, Christ assures us of his constant companionship. This becomes a consolation to us who are heavily tired, stressed, and distressed.
6. The captive Christ.
“So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound Him, and brought Him to Annas first” (John 18: 12-13).
Have you ever felt being bound by others? It is the feeling that other people are controlling us. Or it may be a thing that determines our decisions and our lives, like a substance (in the case of substance abuse), or a video game (an addiction), or even someone who “lords it over us.” Have you ever desired to break free?
Christ shows his solidarity with us, as he shares our limited situation and resources, that often restrain us from achieving our dreams and our freedom.
7. The Lord of Forgiveness.
Jesus says, “Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5: 44-45).
We are marked by our ability to forgive. In fact in the “Our Father” we dare say “Forgive us our trespasses, AS we forgive those who trespass against us.” What we mean is that God forgives us, the way we forgive others. Forgiving others distinguishes us as children of God, because God is the Lord of Forgiveness.