This image came in a moment of inspiration while watching a documentary ironically titled “Happy.” I literally had to pause the movie and dash down to my studio to begin working. I will never know what it was exactly that made me think of our Sorrowful Mother in that moment, but I knew that I needed to create this image. Looking back, I believe I felt the spiritual poverty that most of our brothers and sisters live in every day - all grasping for happiness but never looking to Jesus in whom our true hope, joy and salvation is found.
“Beloved Mother, so stricken with grief, help us to bear our own suffering with courage and love so that we may relieve your sorrowful heart and that of Jesus. In doing so, may we give glory to God Who gave you and Jesus to humanity. As you suffered, teach us to suffer silently and patiently. Grant unto us the grace of loving God in everything. O Mother of Sorrows, most afflicted of all mothers, have mercy on the sinners of the whole world.”
"Mary, who was conceived without sin and
who suffered for us, pray for us.”
- Our Lady of Kibeho, The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows
This painting depicts the moment of encounter with our Lord, Jesus Christ, in his body, blood, soul, and divinity held within the Blessed Sacrament. Each personal encounter with Jesus is an opportunity to experience his love intimately and receive the endless graces from the one who has loved us first.
Encountering the Lord, the place where we meet Christ, awakens the soul and gives life a new horizon. Opening our hearts to the one true God and receiving all he offers is transformative. Like falling in love, there is a new rhythm to our hearts, our eyes now see in the light of Christ, our ears are open to the whisper of the Holy Spirit, and we move forward with renewed zeal and purpose.
“If we but pause for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.”
- St. Angela of Foligno
Over one hundred years ago, our Blessed Mother came to Fatima, Portugal and appeared to three children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. In this painting, I wanted to capture just a moment of this incredible miracle. I read up on the visionaries’ descriptions of what they saw the first time Mary came to them. Sr. Lucia, then only ten years old, said…
“A shaft of light split the air and standing over a small holm oak was the most beautiful lady dressed all in white more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than crystal glass filled with sparkling water.”
The last part of this description really spoke to me, Lucia was very specific. I thought about the way light would look shining through a crystal glass. When this happens, the light gets split up into the different colors of the rainbow and each edge of a crystal is another reflection of this prism. I imagine this heavenly light, which contains all the colors that our eyes cannot yet see, passing through Mary, sparkling and reflecting a multitude of color.
Lucia went on in her description of this light, “… it was like a reflection, it penetrated us to the heart, it allowed us to see ourselves in God.”
Fount of Mercy was commissioned by the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for their annual vocation awareness posters featuring all seminarians in formation as well as those preparing for religious life.
I was inspired by the prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which I have had a great devotion to for many years now. The sacred heart of Jesus is burning with love for each of us and bursting with His healing and sanctifying blood and water. This blood and water is an ever flowing fount, raining down on each of us who come to Him for forgiveness and salvation. I finished this piece back in April of this year, and didn’t know at the time how appropriate and timely this call to mercy would be, especially within the priesthood. My prayer and hope for our Church is to be purified by the precious blood of Jesus and cleansed by the vast ocean of God’s mercy, which brings us new life.
“You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You.”
-The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
This piece is a result of contemplating the act of creation and the relationship between the Creator and His creatures. We are made in the image of God, formed in a particular way by His all-powerful hands and given His very breath of life. This painting has a lot of movement and texture to portray the act of creation before it is complete. We are all saints in the making and each in a different place on this journey towards heaven, so we too are in the midst of “becoming” the person God has created us to be.
As an artist, one of the ways I relate to God is through His creative nature. Each creation is a reflection of the one who formed it and I hope that each piece of art I make reflects my deep love for God and passion to give others a glimpse of His glory.
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.”
–Psalm 139: 13-16
According to Blessed Cardinal Newman, the Blessed Virgin Mary is called Rosa Mystica, the Mystical Rose, because she “is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore she is called the Rose, for the rose is fitly called of all flowers the most beautiful.” That would explain the name “rose” but Newman asks the reason for the adjective “hidden.” His reply is that her tomb was not to be found on earth as that of the saints and martyrs. “Is it conceivable that they who had been so reverent and careful of the bodies of the Saints and Martyrs should neglect her—her who was the Queen of Martyrs and the Queen of Saints, who was the very Mother of our Lord? It is impossible. Why then is she thus the hidden Rose? Plainly because that sacred body is in heaven, not on earth.”
Holy Mary, Mystical Rose, you are the most beautiful flower created by God, in venerating you we praise God for his holiness and beauty.
- Fr. Juan Velez
More examples of past work...