A Reflection on Divine Mercy Sunday
I was at the Church of the Annunciation in Minneapolis for a praise and worship service during Holy Week. During the service, there was adoration before the blessed sacrament and while I was praying this image filled up my mind.
I am standing on a high platform made of stone tiles. I can see nothing around or below the platform, only open air and space. Next to me on the platform is a tall vase made of dark clay. The vase towers above me at twice my height and has many spouts protruding from it in different directions and at various heights on the vase. I inspect it carefully and find that it is covered in intricate patterns and was made with tremendous craftsmanship and skill. But I also
find many cracks that run in spider webs along the vase that break up the patterns.
I look away from the vase to see that a man is standing on the platform. The top of the vase shoots far above my head but for the man it only reaches up to his waist. He smiles and invites me to come closer. He picks me up with little effort and great care to look within the vase. It is cavernous and dark and all I can make out is some black still water at the bottom. He pulls me back and sets me down on a stone bench. He says that this vase is mine and that he wishes to fill it with water. I say that it would be wonderful for him to do so.
He walks to the side of the platform and there is a waterfall that is pouring from above and fills a pool that is surrounded by a short stone wall. The waterfall smells like spring flowers and gives off a cool breeze. Its sound is like music as the water plunges into the deep blue pool. He lifts up a big pail which sat upon the stone wall. He dunks the pail into the pool and pulls the water out. He moves to the vase and pours the crystal clear water into the vase. The water creates a sweet echo as it joins the black still water at the bottom. The sound is like music that fills the heart with joy.
The man continues to fill the pail at the pool and pour the water into the vase. The water level rises and eventually reaches a crack. The water begins to leak out to the face of the vase, runs down the side, and collects in a basin below the vase. A great swirling wind blows across the platform and blows upon the water at the base. The water drys up and disappears. The man, seemingly oblivious to the crack in the vase, continues to pour the water into the vase. The water level does not rise but remains the same as the water continues to escape through the crack. I try to get the man’s attention to point out the crack and the water flowing out. I tell him it is no use! Stop pouring in the water! I must fix the crack! He appears not to hear my cries and continues to fill the pail with water and uselessly pours it into the vase.
Becoming overcome with frustration, I stand up from my seat on the stone bench and run to the crack in the vase. I spread my arms and push my body and face up against the vase in desperation to plug the crack and stop the flow of water. But the crack is too big and too long. The water pours out into my face and body and I begin to drown in the water as I attempt to block it. I struggle against the flow until I collapse in exhaustion away from the vase, gasping for air. I am embarrassed before the man at my futile attempt but angry over his apparent ignorance of the cracks in my vase. I yell to him and say that it is of no use to keep pouring the water. It only runs out from the crack and is dried up by the wind. The man looks at me with a loving smile and continues to pour in more water. I realize that I can not stop the water nor hope to fix the crack. Please help, I cry. He smiles, takes my hand, and lifts me up. He sets me down on the stone bench near the waterfall and continues to fill the vase.
The water spills through the crack but I begin to notice at the crack the clay of the vase is changing. It is growing darker and becoming damp and soft. He puts down the pail and kneels before the vase. Like a potter, he takes his hands and places them on the crack and begins to move the damp clay and smooth the clay over the crack. With love and firmness he molds the vase so that the crack disappears. He then breathes deep and with a mighty wind blows on to the damp clay and drys the vase. The crack is gone! He smiles at me. He then takes up the pail again and begins to fill it with the water and pour it into the vase. The water rises over the crack without a single droplet escaping through the side. The music of the water filling the vase becomes louder and fuller and sweeter.
With love and firmness he molds the vase so that the crack disappears.
The water reaches one of the many spouts in the vase and the water springs out of the spout in an arc of perfect glass as it plunges over the side of the platform. I look over the edge of my platform and I see below that their are other platforms and on them are other people with large vases like mine. I begin to recognize the people around me whose platforms are closest. They are my family, my friends, my coworkers, my community. The water spouts on my vase all point to different platforms. The lower spouts in the vase point to those closest to the platform, my family. The higher one’s point further away.
As the man fills the pail from the pool of the waterfall and pours the water into my vase the spouts in my vase pour water out to those platforms in a waterfall. My water joins other arcs of water from other platforms to make the waterfalls for others. I think to look above my platform at my waterfall and notice that my own waterfall is actually not one stream but many streams combining into one. I see above me those that have filled my life with love, faith, and hope. My parents, grandparents, parish priests, church youth ministers, and so many others. I am filled with such a feeling of gratitude and blessing.
I want to do the same for those I love and for those in my life. I look up at the man and plead with him to fill up my vase more so that the water reaches higher and pours out of more spouts to reach more and more people. Every now and then we hit a crack and the vase must be softened but the man never stops pouring water into the vase and eventually smoothing the crack over. At times I am frustrated at the pace at which it is being filled but the man is steady and patient. He tells me to trust that it will be filled in time. He isn’t going anywhere. He will fill it up until it reaches the top. At the top there is a great spout. And that spout is pointed at the whole world at the center of all the platforms. The world is a desert, dead and dry. It desperately needs the water. There are a few arcs of water that reach the center but not many. There is one especially strong stream that pours into the dust and cracked earth. It is falling from the highest position above all of the platforms. It is the stream that all the water that flows originates from. I look high above into the very summit of all of the platforms. I see Christ. It is the blood and water that flows from His side. Through this flow of grace and mercy all are watered and all are made whole. It is through the mercy of Christ that our souls are softened and our cracks healed. It is through His mercy we can share His grace with those in our life.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This post was originally written in 2018. Published with permission.
Originally from Michigan, Mark Morath is a civil engineer and proud University of Michigan alumnus. Since moving to Minnesota, Mark has become involved with the Cathedral, Catholic Beer Club, and many other groups supporting the life of the Church. This is Mark’s first post on the MSPCatholic Blog.