As a visual artist, visual imagery is one of the most common ways that I feel connected to God. I strive to create work that shares aspects of the Catholic faith and my personal identity with viewers. I want to draw viewers in with a general, relatable image and as they look deeper, they can see something deeper. I constantly feel caught between the “fine” art world and the “sacred/religious” art sphere. But it is my constant hope to fuse the two and make it very normal and necessary to combine sacred imagery or ideas into more modern media forms.
It is often said God is the master artist (or potter) and we are His creations formed out of the dust and clay of the earth. The idea of creating something out of nothing is the process of creating art- I have an idea and then I use some type of material to form a completely new object that had never existed before. In some ways, it becomes a reflection of my own character and form, but I always want the work to reflect back to God and His great glory.
Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart of Jesus by Terezia Sedlakova
I came across the above image of Jesus earlier this year and it instantly struck me. I set it as my phone wallpaper almost immediately because I could tell this was an image that I would want to look at often. Each time it draws my eye and reminds me to remember and think of Jesus. There is something just so engaging about this image. Ultimately the image as a whole shows Jesus walking out of darkness towards us, bringing the light with Him because He is the Light.
Though an image of Divine Mercy, it also draws our attention to his Sacred Heart. Jesus points right to His heart and shows us directly where to look and focus. The rays of red and white light are the beams of Mercy, the blood and water that He pours out for us and over us.
The radiating light around Jesus’ head circles in and out, drawing us always back to his presence. The tiny dots of white around the glow seem like stars, showing us that He is the creator and maker of the entire Universe. The overall color is a warm yellow and red, which helps us feel His humanity and closeness.
His hand is raised in blessing, ready to shower us with all that we need, when we turn to Him and ask in His name.
The words are a little different than the typical Divine Mercy image, instead saying “Jesus, I trust you.” Not “in you”, but just you – Jesus Christ – in all that you are, both fully God and fully man. I find this a much harder prayer to pray sincerely with great trust, but that is what He calls us to.
His feet are down in the darkness, reminiscent of Holy Saturday when he descended into Hell. He walks out of that dark world towards the light of Resurrection.
And finally, His eyes- they are so arresting. Dark and penetrating, I feel as if they can see and understand everything, which they can and do. He looks directly at us, right into our very soul and being, knowing us deeply and intimately and calling us by name. He is always present with us.
He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Paschal Lamb, the Good Shepherd, the Word made Flesh the Light of the World, the Bread of Life and the Father’s Beloved Son. The true personification of love, mercy, and peace. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Whatever title you choose to call Him, He is the Lord God Almighty. He created us, He sees us, He knows us, and He loves us, more than anyone else ever can or will. That is so incredibly comforting and a great truth to repeat to ourselves in times of trouble or unease.
I hope that as you view this image, you will see those aspects and more that He will draw your particular eye and mind to. May this image be a comfort to you and draw you closer to His Sacred Heart. Have faith and hope in His words and promises of truth.
As Father Mike Schmitz said in a Sunday homily a few weeks back, “Hope is trust in the One who will never change”. We have hope in that One, who is Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2020, Sara Caporaletti