A Sacred Image – The Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ

You are probably thinking, the poor old fellow has made a mistake in his spelling. Shouldn’t the title read “Son” of Justice?

One evening a passage from Evening Prayer in the Divine Office caught my attention. It was the final prayer and it read: “Father, yours is the morning and yours is the evening. Let the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, shine for ever in our hearts and draw us to that light where you live in radiant glory.” That phrase provided this image’s title: Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ.

My intent was to have the image direct the prayerful observer to meditate on the truth that Jesus Christ is the Sun, which as a result of His obedient and willing sacrifice on the holy wood of the Cross, shines in our hearts.

Through his death and resurrection He redeemed us of our sins and guides us back to the Father. He is the Son and the Word of the Father. He is the Light of the World. He is also the Sun of Justice, in that we as individuals will all surely have His light illumine our souls and be judged by His standards.

The face and garments of the sacred image are not  painted in the artistic language of traditional iconography. I made preliminary sketches and based them on the drawings and wood carvings of Brother Martin Erspamer, O.S.B. I attempted to emulate his woodcarving methods.

I am happy to say that when you are praying in its presence it does provide comfort to your soul.

This sacred image of The Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ was a gift for Fr. Joseph R. Upton. He is a wonderful and holy priest who serves as the Chaplain of the Fra Angelico Institute for Sacred Art.

Essay and photo of the above sacred image – Copyright © 2012. Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved

11 thoughts on “A Sacred Image – The Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ

  1. I was thinking about you and wondering how the iconography class went, and voila! there was a post from you about it. It is good to see your prayerful work, to read your reflections on it. Thank you for the update, and I look forward to reading more about the workshop.


    1. Thank you for your kind and supportive comments.
      Everyone who participated was very happy with the process and their results. Final varnish for my icon (which I will have more comments on) will be applied later on today. I like to make sure everything has dried at least a week (it is painted in acrylics).


      1. Acrylics? Wow! I am impressed. I am very interested in the details of how you finish it off, that is for sure. I have yet to truly complete my own acrylic icon, still fussing around with it. I am glad that you intend to comment further.


  2. Beautiful icon and I like the title. Thanks for sharing it.

    At first, my brain thought “Son” of Justice. Then I realized you meant “Sun.” It reminded me of what Ratzinger (now Benedict) said in Spirit of the Liturgy when he wrote about celebrating the Eucharist “ad orientem”. Christ is the Sun. The Eucharist itself is the orientation of our lives.

    Incidentally, Ratzinger continues his reflection suggesting that people and priest are always facing “ad orientem,” whether the priest is facing the people or not.

    Your explanation of “Sun of Justice” brought all that to mind. Thanks!


    1. Thank you very much. Yes, the Holy Father’s book was (is) instrumental in my understanding of sacred art and its role in our liturgical life.
      Best wishes for continued success with your timely essays at your always interesting website.


  3. Thank you, Deacon, for all you incredibly hard work for the icon workshop!! The results were true prayers in paint. So i do believe that is your very own halo in your picture! i am continually amazed at how generous you are with your gifts to everyone! You are a blessed gift to us! And that is not to side step your lovely, hard working, amazing wife, Jackie! Another great blessing to us all!


    1. Mimi,
      Thank you for your very kind and generous words of support! Let us thank you, too, for the excellent sacred music that you direct and bring to the parish at every weekend liturgy. We are very grateful for your gifts, too – especially, your fabulous origami. We’ve got to get you into the next icon writing workshop!


  4. For those who may not know, it is worth pointing out that this title comes ultimately from Malachi 4:2, “But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.” (Douay-Rheims) In the King James Version, this is rendered, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” It is probably most familiar from the lyrics of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

    Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings
    Ris’n with healing in His wings
    Mild He lays His glory by
    Born that man no more may die
    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    “Glory to the newborn King!”


    1. Howard,

      Thank you. I did not remember the connection to “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” hymn that we sing during the Christmas celebration. Well done!
      Also, I viewed some of your essays on your blog and found them very interesting, too.


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