Divine Mercy Minutes with Jesus is a pocket-sized devotional featuring key passages of Jesus' own words to St. Faustina, following themes such as trust, deeds of mercy, and ... Read more
By Fr. John Larson, MIC (Jun 2, 2009)
When St. Faustina had the vision of the Image of The Divine Mercy on Feb. 22, 1931, her task to get it painted began.
We might expect her to be given support in a short time for such a task. After all, this was the work of God!
Think about it: Jesus had told St. Faustina, "I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world" (Diary of St. Faustina, 47).
Wouldn't He make things easy and put the right people in place quickly so that the painting would be produced and distributed throughout the world?
As a matter of fact, God did not make it easy. Saint Faustina had difficulties right away when the first confessor to hear about this told her to paint the image of Jesus in her heart, rather than on canvas.
It was more than three years later, in June of 1934, when the painting was actually finished, and then three more years (April 4, 1937) until an ecclesiastical commission permitted that the image be blessed and exposed for veneration. The image was shown briefly in 1935, but more as a decoration, and it was hidden afterwards.
Indeed, God's time is not always quick.
It was also in 1937 when St. Faustina's spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko, received an imprimatur for a small booklet with the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, Divine Mercy Novena, litany, and a few words about devotion to The Divine Mercy. The booklet did not reveal the source of these devotions — from revelations of a unknown Polish nun named Sr. Faustina — so it didn't quite impart the sense of urgency of St. Faustina's revelations.
Another roadblock for the spread of the Divine Mercy message and devotion was the 20-year ban of the devotion (1959-1978), due to faulty translations of the Diary.
I repeat: God's time is not always quick.
Jesus gave the work, but also allowed some roadblocks. Why? To show that the work was His. Think about it: If God gives a person an assignment and he is able to accomplish it quickly, then the person may be tempted to think that he did it himself.
Saint Faustina was never allowed to imagine such a thing. She met with much suspicion and persecution. Yet, we can now see how God's hand was guiding things from the beginning. Now the Divine Mercy message and devotion is known throughout the world!
May Christ continue to guide our work in spreading this message and devotion, which is still unknown to many Catholics.
Father John Larson, MIC, serves as the Marians' postulant director in Steubenville, Ohio.