I’ve made a similar post to this in the Spirituality section, but I wanted to also have some people approach this from an apologetics standpoint.
Earlier this morning, while at work, a co-worker (who’s Presbyterian) commented on my computer desktop background (which is now an image of the Divine Mercy ). She liked the background, but she told me that she was raised in a household that did not allow such images, based on the infamous commandment (often lodged at Catholics), “Thou shalt make no graven images.” I felt her comment was a severely mild form of iconoclasm: not that she intended for me to remove my own images, but just that they weren’t worthy of veneration.
On a normal day, and if it had not been so early in the morning, I would’ve retorted that making an image is quite different from worshipping an image, perhaps even citing the pictures of her children as her own “trespass” against this commandment. However, I was thrown off guard because Jesus specifically asks for this image (of Divine Mercy) to be venerated. Plus, I recalled this website which I found a couple days ago.
I’ve been reading Michael H. Brown’s “Prayer of the Warrior,” which a friend loaned me a couple of weeks ago, and in it he talks about apparitions and visions received by mystics which are actually demons dressed in the disguise of Jesus or Mary. This has caused me to pause and wonder: how do we know the visions received by St. Faustina are not of a demon?
Explaining to a Protestant, such as my friend and co-worker, that Catholics do not worship images seems like a diluted argument in the presence of the faithful venerating images like Divine Mercy, or Sacred Heart, etc. Having come from a Protestant background myself, with brief experimentation with Islam, even though I know we Catholics do not worship images as gods, I find my own apologetic is quite weak. Even though it is the person signified, and not the image itself, I sometimes can’t help but wonder what it is we Catholics are doing.
In fact, an old Muslim friend of mine once stated that she didn’t even like images of her parents, or deceased grandparents, because she’s witnessed too many people becoming too dependent on such images. “People begin talking to the pictures, imagining that the picture is talking back to them, and treating the picture like a person.” Her statement reminds me of what Solomon says in Wisdom:
*For a father being afflicted with bitter grief, made to himself the image of his son who was quickly taken away: and him who then had died as a man, he began now to worship as a god, and appointed him rites and sacrifices among his servants. * (Wisdom 14:15)
Jesus asks us to venerate the image of Divine Mercy, or the Sacred Heart, or any number of images: but how do we know the Jesus of these visions isn’t some demon tempting us into breaking the commandment given at Sinai?