View all Novenas | April 9, 2020
A Divine Mercy Meditation Novena – Day 5
Day 5 – The Gaze of Mercy
St. Maria Faustina was the third of ten children growing up on a farm in central Poland. Given the poverty of the times and her large family, a chance at higher education was never within her grasp, and a life of hard work and eventually a family of her own was her only real future. Yet a normal life was not in God’s plans for her!
St. Faustina tells us in her diary that already at the age of seven something was different. At that young age she felt God speak to her soul and make to her “an invitation to a more perfect life” (Divine Mercy in My Soul #7).
She does not tell us where and how this took place but only that it was a voice from God. It is remarkable that at such a young age she knew she was destined to be a religious sister. Yet, while St. Faustina knew God was calling her to be a religious sister, she did not know how, when, or where this was to happen.
Like so many of us, a vocation from God is really only understood when looking back over a long period of time. Looking back upon her early life, St. Faustina was able to reinterpret her life by the lens of mercy.
When I began painting the Divine Mercy image, the eyes and face of Jesus took a long time to formulate. I took a long time to come up with the exact facial expression.
In the diary, Jesus said, “My Gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross.” (Divine Mercy in My Soul #326)
I wanted to be able to paint this gaze from the Cross. How would that look? After many hours of prayer and thought, a look of love was what kept coming to mind. His Cross was his greatest agony but also his greatest act of love.
The eyes are cast looking downwards at souls. Jesus is seeing his mother, his apostle John, Mary Magdalene, and each and every soul that accepts his mercy. It is a look of love through pain. The lips of Jesus are softly evoking a response. On the tip of his tongue is a request: “Will you quench my thirst for mercy?” He looks as one hoping and wishing that a request and desire of his will be met, yet he is not demanding or forcing anything. He hopes and waits in love for us.
That is the face I wished to paint. I wished it to be somewhat transformative, an image that when seen inspires a divine request to sink to the bottom of my soul, softly, gracefully, and without a sound as an anchor sinks to the ocean floor. There in my heart that silent request for my love will forever echo. Hearing it, experiencing it, and answering it are milestones toward a deeper spiritual life with mercy.
Today, let us pray for Christians who have abandoned Christ and their faith, that they may return to live their lives once again under the gaze of mercy. Here is a passage from Divine Mercy in My Soul:
When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.
This is the prayer:
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You” (Divine Mercy in My Soul #186-187).