In 1931, Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina. 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)
Jesus said.... "I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world"(47).
"I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it." (341)
After the original image had been painted at the request of St. Faustina's confessor, he had it hung in the corridor of the convent instead of the church. Jesus then told St. Faustina, "Tell the confessor that the image is to be on view in the church and not within the enclosure of the convent it is in. By means of this image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it." (570)
At the request of her spiritual director, Saint 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)
Jesus went on to say: "Yes the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy, and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted. 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)
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 Saint 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.
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Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
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