“I desire that this Image be venerated.. This Image is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.. By means of this Image, I shall be granting many graces, so let every soul have access to it.”

In days past, it was almost expected that every Catholic home would have some form of devotional area, where the family would pray together. This area is where the prayers of the Rosary would be recited, or the Bible read together. The presence of such an area said something about the people living there – their faith, their beliefs, their value system, their unity. It is certain that God, Who “looks with favour on the humble” smiles upon such small places where people gather together in His name to offer their prayers to Him.

Today, the idea of such an area may have fallen out of favour and may no longer be as common as it once was. And yet, the idea of a visual representation of our beliefs is not so different to keeping photographs of loved ones – looking at them, we are reminded of those we love, and from our hearts issue sentiments of love and tenderness, or longing when those depicted are far from us or have already gone to their eternal reward.

In respect of the Divine Mercy devotion, one of the core themes is the idea of veneration of the Divine Mercy image, the picture of the Merciful Jesus. But how can we venerate that image if there is no such image to hand?

A small home altar may be the solution.

It does not matter if the altar is small or large, ornate or simple. Indeed, simplicity is generally better here as it is in so many areas of life. Whether it is comprised of a shelf, a table, a corner of the dresser – it makes little difference. What is important is that there is an area which is specifically set aside for prayer and devotion, a place dedicated to the Lord and which lifts our hearts and minds to Him, where we can be with Him in a particular way, and where the common distractions of life can be put to the side, even for just a little while.

Perhaps the basics of such a home altar are these – the Image of the Merciful Jesus, accompanied by an image of the Blessed Virgin, whether picture or statue; a Crucifix, that central symbol of our faith; the New Testament or Bible; a Rosary; and a candle. Together, these items can help to keep us focused on what really matters and help us to heed the requests of the Lord, echoing down the centuries from the time of the New Testament.

Now that we have entered the Jubilee of Mercy, perhaps a small area set aside in the home in the way described above, may be a good focal point for prayer and devotion throughout this Year, a place where we can contemplate and consider the Divine Mercy which is the focus and inspiration of this Year. In devoting time to considering that mercy, we ask it for ourselves and begin to practice it in regard to others. And that, surely, is the whole point of the Jubilee.

Prayer to the Most Merciful Jesus

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.



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