The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Conclusion
It has longstandingly been a bone of contention about whether sacred icons of God the Father could be depicted or otherwise, especially in the Eastern (Orthodox) Church, because a few Councils of the latter had explicitly forbidden such depictions, based on the fact that the Father’s ousia can never be known or circumscribed. However, a critical review of this issue from the context of the last Ecumenical Council of the undivided, universal Church; subsequent Councils of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, key writings of the Church Fathers and saints, writings of notable theologians of the 20th century in both the Eastern Church and the Western Church (e.g., Benedict XVI, Vladimir Lossky), and declarations of the latest Holy Fathers of the universal Church (Benedict XVI and John Paul II), has shown that there exist no true impediments to depicting God the Father on venerable icons, in terms of His energeia and hypostasis, in either the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church; because such icons would be fully in keeping with Scripture, teaching, and Tradition. Moreover, icons of God the Father would result in the Almighty being paid the widespread worship of proskynesis, by both the clergy and the laity alike.
The vital role of the diptych icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father Encompassing All Hearts, in both promoting devotion to the Father’s Divine Heart and fulfilling all of His explicit requests, is tied to the liturgical and mystical function of icons in the universal Church. For icons are sacramental and aesthetic avenues of divine grace, in both overcoming generalized apostasy in the world and foregrounding the tangible reality of the desired mystical union between God and man, by ceaselessly directing all mankind toward the era of the eighth day. Therefore, apart from the Father’s revelations per se, the true role of the icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father is that it is a school of contemplative prayer that draws mankind into greater intimacy with God, in His Beauty; serving to remind each individual – indeed all families, communities, societies, and nations – of the constant Presence of the Almighty Father in the lives of all mankind. The icon of the Divine Heart achieves this sacred function by combining iconology with biblical theology, to intrinsically participate in the heavenly liturgy and aesthetically express the One, true Faith; together with the immutable reality of the divine mysteries and the Eternal Father’s infinite love for all mankind.
- Apostolate of the Divine Heart. (2011). Devotion to the Divine Heart of God the Father (2nd ed.). MA: Author.