[quote=ekim61]I was told by some protestants thjat Catholics worship images and they used the divine mercy image as an example. I had never heard of this before. I looked it up on the web and it sure looks to me like we are worshiping images.
Can anyone explain this to me?
Mike, as a Catholic have you ever worshipped an image? (I didn’t think so - and neither have I.)
The reason we Catholics truly have honor for things we can see and feel, etc., has to do with the Incarnation in that Catholicism understands and appreciates the reality of the God becoming Man, whereas Protestantism merely pays it lip service without truly appreciating what it means for God to have become Man. As St. Paul says of Christ: “He is the visible image of the invisible God; and so in seeing Him we are caught up in love for the God we cannot see.”
This situation (the Incarnation) changes everything. It shows that the New Covenant in Christ is different from God’s Covenant with Israel. In the Christian Covenant, we have Emmanuel (“God-with-us”), and, therefore, not only Christ’s Incarnation reflects the glory of the Father, but also the Church – the extension of Christ’s Incarnation (i.e., the Body of Christ) – reflects God’s glory. Thus Mary and the other Saints who reflect Christ, thereby reflect the Father’s glory. And so, images of Christ and the Saints are at the service of this incarnational glory of God; and the law against “graven images” is turned against itself in Christ.
Under the Old Law the Israelites were not to make graven images because no earthly creation could reflect the glory of God. Yet, after the Incarnation, this is possible, but only in Christ and in His Saints – those who are part of His Body.
So, the key to understanding Catholic iconography is to appreciate the reality of Christ’s Incarnation. In rejecting the legitimacy of icons and other religious images, the Protestant world comes very close to rejecting the Incarnation Itself. Indeed, Christ became FLESH in order to save FLESH (us). If everything is merely spiritual, why did Jesus need to come in the flesh at all?? This must be addressed and recognized.
Here is an excellent article on the subject of sacred images: