Holy Father Marks Anniversary of Divine Mercy Image

It’s been exactly 90 years since Jesus revealed the Divine Mercy Image to St. Faustina. To mark the anniversary, Pope Francis sent a letter to Bishop Piotr Libera of Płock, Poland, on Feb. 15, addressing the significance of Christ's Feb. 22, 1931 appearance to St. Faustina.

The Holy Father said, "Let us ask Christ for the gift of mercy. Let it engulf us and penetrate us. Let us have the courage to come back to Jesus to meet His love and mercy in the sacraments."

In her Diary on Feb. 22, 1931, St. Faustina recorded how Christ appeared to her at her convent in Płock:

In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the chest. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the chest, there were emanating two large rays, one red and the other pale. … After a while Jesus said to me, "Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You." (47)

On this 90th anniversary of this appearance of Jesus to St. Faustina, Pope Francis encourages all Catholics to ask Jesus for the “gift of mercy.”

“Let us feel His closeness and tenderness, and then we will also be more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness, and love,” he said. 

Jesus promised many graces for those who venerate the Divine Mercy Image. He said:

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. (48)

Jesus told St. Faustina that He intended this Image to be venerated in her chapel first and then throughout the world. 

At first, St. Faustina’s confessor told her that Jesus must have meant that she was to “paint God’s image in [her] soul.” Jesus, however, spoke to her again, insisting, “I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (49).

Having no talent for painting herself, St. Faustina sought the help of her spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko. He arranged for a Polish artist, Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, to paint the Image. This artist completed the Image under the direct instructions of St. Faustina. At first, St. Faustina was not pleased with the painting. After she saw it, she said that it didn’t accurately reflect Christ’s beauty. She wrote:

Who will paint You as beautiful as You are? Then I 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)

A solemn celebration of the 90th anniversary of Christ’s revelation of the Divine Mercy Image to St. Faustina is taking place at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki. Pope Francis said that he is uniting himself in prayer with those who are there. He said, “I would like to recall the words of the Lord Jesus recorded by the saint in her Diary: ‘[Humanity] will not know peace until it turns to the source of my mercy’” (300).

Quoting an address that Pope St. John Paul II gave in Łagiewniki in 2002, Pope Francis said: “This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God, the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness!”

On Sunday, the Pope talked about the 90th anniversary of the Divine Mercy Image again. He said, “Today my thoughts go to the Shrine of Płock in Poland, where 90 years ago the Lord Jesus manifested Himself to St. Faustina Kowalska, entrusting a special message of divine mercy to her.” 

“Through St. John Paul II this message reached the entire world, and it is none other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, and who gives us His Father’s mercy. Let us open our heart, saying with faith, ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’”

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