This morning in the Office of Readings we read from the Catecheses by St. John Chrysostom. Chrysostom translates as "golden mouthed," and if you read his homilies you will know why. He was the archbishop of Constantinople in the late 4th, early 5th centuries and is one of the Greek Fathers and a Doctor of the Church. I love Chrysostom's writings and homilies, and the one chosen for today's reading is exceptional. In it he speaks of the power of Christ's blood, and the syblolism of the water and blood as Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. John writes, "Since the symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist flowed form His side, it was from His side that Christ fashioned the Church, as He had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam." The comparison is clear since as Eve became the wife of Adam, so too the Church is the Bride of Christ. John also compares a mother nursing her child to Christ nourishing the Church with His own blood. As one who has nursed her own children, this comparision is quite beautiful and full of meaning.
Today, Good Friday, also begins the Divine Mercy Novena. The image of Divine Mercy is that of Jesus with blood and water gushing from His side depicted by rays of red and white light. In explaining the image, Jesus revealed to St. Faustina, "The pale rays symbolise the water, which cleanses and purifies the soul: the red rays represent the blood, which gives new life to the soul." While I am not that fond of the orignial image that St. Faustina commissioned, I have found an icon image that I prefer. I find the image less stark. I also have an iconic image with Jesus standing in front of a door, reminding me that while Jesus stands waiting to pour out His Mercy, it is I who must open the door of my heart to allow His Mercy to enter my soul.
Some who know me find it odd that I like the devotion to the Divine Mercy. I find it comforting, and so many times I have had to rely on the Love and Mercy of God to get me though the rough times. Since I have said in previous posts that I have difficulty with trust, this devotion reminds me to trust in Jesus for all my needs, and that the blood and water from His side are "a fount of mercy for us."