Yes, this statue is real! And yes, those really are stairs in the red and white rays leading people into Jesus’ heart! This statue of Divine Mercy is a pilgrimage site in the Philippines. After I got over my initial shock that this place existed, I understood the statue’s deeper message – Jesus is calling us into His heart.
He is not just calling us to look upon His image of Divine Mercy, but to enter into the very depths of His heart. We may not be able to go to the Philippines, but each day we can enter into His heart. We can place ourselves within His heart and unite our hearts with His heart in prayer.
Will you climb the stairs to enter the Lord’s heart?
As I look at those stairs, I must admit that they look pretty tiring to me. In order to get to the rays, the pilgrim first must climb the stairs up the hill. Then there are more stairs to get to His heart. This can appear very exhausting. Sometimes the spiritual life can feel this way too, we have climbed many “stairs” through the Lord’s grace, and then look up only to see so many more that we still have to go. But we are not to be discouraged!
Jesus has given us His life within us and united us to Himself in baptism, which is represented by the white ray. The red ray signifies the Holy Eucharist by which He nourishes us with His body and blood.
At the Easter Vigil, I was reminded of the great power of our baptism as the congregation eagerly renewed their baptismal promises and the celebrant with a huge smile on his face sprinkled us with holy water. This joy filled moment reminded me that through baptism we have become adopted children of God and the power of God dwells within us.
This is the same power by which Jesus was able to rise from the dead! If Jesus can rise from the dead, then surely this same power can enable us to climb those “stairs” to His heart. The power to do this lies within us through baptism, if only we will call upon it.
On Holy Thursday, a line in the homily struck me that described the Passover lamb as giving sustenance to the Israelites for their flight from slavery in Egypt. This meat provided strength for their journey. Jesus, the true Passover lamb, gives us sustenance in the Holy Eucharist. In climbing those “stairs” to the Lord’s heart, the Holy Eucharist gives us strength for the journey.
As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming feast of Divine Mercy, let us climb and enter into the pierced side of Jesus through the power and strength of our baptism and reception of the Holy Eucharist. Saint Bernard says, “The secret of Christ’s heart is revealed to us through the cleft of his body.” As we place ourselves within the cleft of His open heart, may we be blessed to know the secrets of His Most Sacred Heart!
- Sister M. Chiara, FSGM