“Year of Mercy” Logo Explained

by Steve Ray on December 15, 2015

I have to admit I was first repelled by the “modern-looking” logo for the Year of Mercy. But now that I read this and took the time to understand, I am quite intrigued. This comes from the Gaylord Michigan diocesan website. Their bishop Raica is a friend and a stalwart man of God and a great bishop.

The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. The motto “Merciful Like the Father” (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cfr. Lk 6:37-38).

The logo – the work of Jesuit Father Marko I. Rupnik – presents a small summa theologiae of the theme of mercy. In fact, it represents an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption.

The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life.

One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.

The scene is captured within the so called mandorla (the shape of an almond), a figure quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all. 

Thanks to the Diocese of Gaylord Michigan and their marvelous Year of Mercy website.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kala December 15, 2015 at 5:45 PM

Hi Steve! When I saw it, my first thought was “gadzooks!” I suppose, if for nothing else… it can make for an interesting conversation piece. With your explanation, at least I will know what to say if anyone says that those crazy Catholics have taken “weird” to another level. I’m a revert… dragging my feet a little in an effort to keep some unity in my home. That, and a little… okay a lot apprehensive of what my protestant friends will think, say, and do. I know that God is Who I live to please first… just all of these years as a protestant myself… well, I’ve got much of those beliefs still rolling around in my head and though I’m 95% sure the Catholic Church is the Church… it’s that 5% uncertainty that is stopping me. So much is at stake. Your ministry has been an encouragement to me. You’re so solid and sure. I hope to be that sure of my faith one of these days. Sooner than later.

Angela December 16, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Thank you for this great explanation of this interesting, thought provoking logo, Steve!

And Kala, keep studying, keep learning. God bless you on your journey of faith!

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