An Introduction to Divine Mercy This is the handbook that has introduced millions of souls to the life-changing message that brings hope to a hurting world. Covering every a... Read more
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More than Paint
Understanding the Divine Mercy Image
By Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC (Aug 9, 2007)
The following is taken from The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion booklet. It was written by world-renowned Divine Mercy expert Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, with Vinny Flynn and Robert A. Stackpole. The booklet condenses the main elements of the Diary of St. Faustina into an easy-to-read format. It has become known throughout the world simply as the "Devotion Booklet."
Through St. Faustina, the merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of The Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at the Hour of Great Mercy (3 o'clock in the afternoon).
Although these means of receiving God's mercy are new in form, we shall see that they all proclaim the timeless message of God's merciful love. They also draw us back to the great Sacrament of Mercy, the Holy Eucharist, where the Heart of Jesus overflows with mercy for all. As Jesus told St. Faustina:
My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. ... [I]t is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy (Diary, 367).
The Image of The Divine Mercy
In 1931, Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of the Heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. She gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul filled with awe, but also with great joy. Jesus said to her:
Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory (Diary, 47, 48).
I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: "Jesus, I trust in You" (327).
I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world (47).
At the request of her spiritual director, St. Faustina asked the Lord about the meaning of the rays in the image. She heard these words in reply:
The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. ... Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him (299).
By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works (742).
These words indicate that the Image represents the graces of Divine Mercy poured out upon the world, especially through Baptism and the Eucharist.
Many different versions of this image have been painted, but Our Lord made it clear that the painting itself is not what is important.
When St. Faustina first saw the original image that was being painted under her direction, she wept in disappointment and complained to Jesus: "Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?" (313).
In answer she heard these words:
Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace (313).
So, no matter which version of the Image we prefer, we can be assured that it is a vehicle of God's grace if it is revered with trust in His mercy.