Señor de la Misericordia

Tepatitlán, Jalisco

Votive offerings are made to the Señor de la Misericordia in a wide pedestrian gallery adjacent to the church, and older retablos are exhibited separately in a nearby museum. The Señor de la Misericordia’s sacred power, like that of many images of the crucified Christ, is derived in part from representation of suffering and sacrificial bloodshed, together with the belief that the image is in some sense alive. A prayer card distributed at the shrine is headed, “LET US CELEBRATE THE LORD IN HIS HOLY IMAGE AND ASK HIM TO SPILL [derramar] THE POWER OF HIS MERCY OVER US.” The verb used for such outpourings of sacred power, derramar, is the same verb used for the spilling or shedding of blood and tears. The interrelations of power and suffering are also suggested by the rays of grace emitted from the wounds of Christ images.

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