THE ICON OF THE DIVINE MERCY
In 1931 our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to a poor nun, Sister Faustina Kolwaska in a vision. From His Sacred Heart, He shines forth two rays of light, one in red, the other in white. His right hand is lifting up on high as in the motion of the High Priest granting a blessing of forgiveness for all our sins; and His left hand is pointing at His Sacred Heart urging us to trust in Him Who is the source of our salvation and sanctification. Gazing at the Divine-Mercy Jesus in silence, Sister Faustina feels a profound joy overflowing in her soul. She hears the Lord commanding her:
“Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: “Jesus, I trust in You.” I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that venerates this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies, who are already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend that soul as My own glory (Diary 47,48).”
At the request of Fr. Michael Sopocko, her spiritual director, Sister Faustina asked Jesus the meaning of the two rays of light. He explains:
“The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes soul righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls… These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Blessed is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him” (Diary 299).
The two rays shining forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Divine Mercy, symbolizes the graces pouring down upon us from the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist.
There is a variety of paintings on the Divine Mercy. Each represents a certain aspect of Jesus’ Mercy. Some even misrepresent the true authentic Divine Mercy which St. Faustina saw in her vision. To resolve this confusion, Jesus clearly explains to us that what is important does not lie in the many representations of the Divine Mercy, but rather it all depends on the graces which Jesus has promised to grant those who place their trust in Him. When Saint Faustina saw the artist’s drawing of the Divine Mercy for the first time, she broke down and wept! The artist did not do justice to what she saw in her vision of the Divine Mercy. Saint Faustina later asked the Lord: “Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?” The Lord answered: “Not in the beauty of the color nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace” (Diary 313).
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