I would like to share some thoughts regarding several points raised by a reader, Frankie, in the combox of my introductory post about Direction For Our Times and the Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King. It will probably take a few posts to do so, and from that point on, I will concentrate solely on sharing the Messages and the work of the Apostolate in my DFOT posts, with any of you who care to read here.
I will begin with some of the history of the image of Jesus Christ the Returning King, and a bit about the relationship of the image and the Apostolate’s mission to the Divine Mercy mission of St. Faustina.
In Anne’s book “Climbing the Mountain. Discovering Your Path to Holiness”, there is a section about the image [pgs. 244-245]. In October 2005, a month after Anne had received a series of locutions from St. Faustina, she traveled on pilgrimage, upon the invitation of Sr. Briege McKenna and Fr. Kevin Scallon, to the International Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, Poland. The three met with the Mother Superior of St. Faustina’s order, The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. They spoke with the Mother Superior about Anne’s experiences and her mission to spread the message of Jesus Christ the Returning King, and the Mother Superior responded by telling them of an unusual experience of her own the previous day. An artist friend had just presented her with a painting, which she had understood was supposed to be that of her patron saint, but was in fact an image of Jesus Christ the Returning King. When Mother Superior showed it to Anne, Sr. Briege and Fr. Scallon, “all of us in the room were amazed and recognized that this painting was to be the authentic image for the apostolate…” Mother Superior told them that she was, “certain that it was really meant for Anne.” In a locution to Anne on October 28, 2005 St. Faustina said, “The image of Jesus Christ the Returning King should be spread throughout the world. There are many graces attached to this image. Like the Divine Mercy image, this image will be widely recognized as a source of goodness and healing. All who venerate this image will be blessed…Such joy flows from heaven. Bask in the joy, dear apostles, because your King is returning.” In the DFOT Newsletter of April 2009 (Issue 13), there is a wonderful article about the image, and an interview with the artist, Janusz Antosz.
In his comments, Frankie expresses his fears and concerns that both the image and the Apostolate are “distracting” people from the Divine Mercy image, as well as from St. Faustina’s mission and her suffering. I do not know if anything I can say will help to alleviate his or anyone else’s concerns, but I will certainly try. As I recounted above, the image itself was given to the Apostolate by the Mother Superior of St. Faustina’s order. In the back of all the Volumes, as well as in the two books I have by Anne, “Climbing the Mountain” and “The Mist of Mercy”, there is a section entitled, “How to Recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy”. The April 09 newsletter, as mentioned, has not only an article about the image but three messages from St. Faustina. As another commentor, Kevin, told us: “Many lay apostles have a strong devotion to Divine Mercy; they are encouraged to. The staff at the Direction For Our Times offices in both the U.S. and Ireland are generally gathered at 3:00 each afternoon to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet.” In the audio recording of the monthly meeting of the Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King (May 2009), we hear a guest speaker, Mother Theresa (may not be the correct spelling), a Cistercian sister from Denmark. She tells us she is giving thanks to the Lord for what is happening because of the Apostolate, that graces are pouring down, that all are being blessed, and that the work of the Apostolate, which is Jesus’ work, should be respected and defended, not by speaking much, but by giving the glory to the Lord. She tells the audience that she and her contemplative sisters in different countries are all praying for the Apostolate, and refers to the Apostolate as an “act of mercy” from the Lord.
From my own perspective, I believe that the majority of us who have been devoted to the Divine Mercy message and St. Faustina’s mission for many, many years now will only find our devotion strengthened through the Messages and work of the Apostolate, and those who may have never heard of the Divine Mercy message will certainly be led to it through the Apostolate. Just as the saints all work together joyfully, we are called to do so as well, because we are all working for Jesus, our Returning King.