Throughout history, Christians have always had a heavenly sign to lead them. Seventeen hundred years ago, the Emperor Constantine’s insignia was the Sign of the Cross from a heavenly sign in the sky, which put a stop to the persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Five hundred years ago the heavenly sign was the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that converted 9 million Aztec souls from a culture of death to Christianity.
These heavenly signs are needed even more so today. God who loves us so much, continually provides for what His people need in their present time of crisis, suffering, and despair. And today, the heavenly sign that leads us into spiritual combat is none other than the Divine Mercy Image. We can say it is heavenly because Jesus appeared to St. Faustina asking for a special painting of Himself.
During the time of Moses when everyone was sick and dying because they were bitten by the seraph serpents, God came to their rescue by providing a sign (Num. 21:4-9) for their healing if they would but gaze upon it, “Mercy came forth and healed them,” (16:10) explains the Book of Wisdom. This sign was also a prefiguration of the cross which would heal and restore all of humanity. In like manner, the Divine Mercy Image provides healing graces for conversion, forgiveness, and protection to counter the poisonous bite and sting of sin coming via the seraph serpents of our time, and it too is draws its power from the Cross as Jesus tells St. Faustina, “My gaze from this Image is like My gaze from the cross.” (326)
Rays of Mercy:
One of the first things you see about the Divine Mercy Image is the rays coming from His heart. So what is the meaning of the rays? “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 very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.” (299) St. Faustina explains further about the origin of the rays from a vision, “Then I saw the Lord Jesus dying on the Cross amidst great suffering, and out of the Heart of Jesus came the same two rays as are in the image.” (414)
The Divine Mercy Image has spread like fire worldwide from homes to parishes to entire countries like the Philippines where everyone prays the chaplet at 3 P.M. before the image. Jesus further promises about the rays, “These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.” (299) What else can the healing rays of mercy do for us? Jesus says to a despairing soul steeped in darkness and sin about His healing rays, “Let the rays of grace enter your soul; they bring with them light, warmth, and life.” (1486)
On occasions the rays from the image come alive and go through the Sacred Host and then the people present and finally to the entire world as St. Faustina describes, “Once, the image was being exhibited over the altar during the Corpus Christi procession. When the priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament, and the choir began to sing, the rays from the image pierced the Sacred Host and spread out all over the world. Then I heard these words: These rays of mercy will pass through you, just as they have passed through this Host, and they will go out through all the world.” (441) Indeed, we are living in the midst of a great heavenly sign like the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe which will bring about the transformation of the entire world!
Image of Protection:
The Divine Mercy Image provides protection as Jesus assures St. Faustina, “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) The enemies Jesus speaks of are the devil and his minions who attack us spiritually with a bad thought, image, or past memory which leads to our passions which are “love, hatred, desire, fear, joy, sadness, and anger” (CCC 1772) to react and create an emotional response and maybe even a physically response if we are not aware, alert, or vigilant.
The enemies make their final and strongest attack via our passions at the hour of our death as described in the many examples in St. Faustina’s diary, “I saw the man dying in the midst of terrible torment and struggle. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was, as it were, powerless against the enormity of the soul’s misery. A multitude of devils was waiting for the soul. But while I was saying the chaplet I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the image. The rays which issued from Jesus’ Heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully breathed his last.” (1565)
Vessel of Trust:
Having said all this, the one thing we do need in the spiritual battle is total trust in Him so that He can come and defend us as His own as He does so many times for lost souls, “He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool.” (723)
The words “Jesus I Trust in You” (327) are on the image so that we can repeat them at every moment of the day and night as a way of unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to receive the fiery and comforting grace of trust coming from His Merciful Heart. Jesus tells St. Faustina, “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)
St. Faustina relates that those who trust in God’s mercy can expect divine help, “When he (Blessed Michael Sopocko) began to speak about the mercy of the Lord, the image came alive and the rays pierced the hearts of the people gathered there, but not all to the same degree.” (417) This led to their hearts opening up to the grace of conversion. Why did this happen? Jesus says in another passage about those who trust, “Your great trust in Me forces Me to continuously grant you graces.” (718)
Importance of the Image:
How important is the Divine Mercy Image? Can we ignore Jesus’ request as something trivial? Do we have a duty and responsibility in helping spread devotion and veneration to this image? Jesus instructs St. Faustina very clearly, “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) and in another passage He again repeats, “I desire that the image be publicly honored.” (414) Jesus even admonishes her if she ignores His requests which will save many souls most especially those in our present age, “Know that if you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of mercy, you will have to answer for a multitude of souls on the Day of Judgment.” (154)
An example of the importance of this image is the many occasions in the diary where the Divine Mercy Image comes alive and blesses individuals, people, and even entire cities as St. Faustina describes, “When the image was displayed, I saw a sudden movement of the hand of Jesus, as He made a large Sign of the Cross. In the evening of the same day, when I had gone to bed, I saw the image going over the town, and the town was covered with what appeared to be a mesh and nets. As Jesus passed, He cut through all the nets and finally made a large Sign of the Cross and disappeared. (416) Jesus has a heavenly plan for this sign and none of this a coincidence as when He tells St. Faustina, “’Already there are many souls who have been drawn to My love by this image. My mercy acts in souls through this work.’ (1379)
Types of Images:
There are many images and icons of the Divine Mercy Image that have been painted and have spread throughout the world. The images have spread like a firestorm with great intensity and illumination, but which is the true one or best one? After ten tries at trying to paint the image, St. Faustina cries because the painted image lacked the splendor, majesty, and glory that she saw, but no worries, for all the images provide the graces promised by Jesus, “Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.” (313) One can say that it is like the many types of miraculous crucifixes or images of Our Lady that we have in the Church.
The most common image is the original Vilnius image painted under St. Faustina’s direction; however, the Hyla image, the Skemp, and other images on icons have also provided miracles and graces because Jesus says, “I am making Myself dependent upon your trust: if your trust is great, then My generosity will be without limit.” (548)
Pentecost of Mercy:
During this Jubilee of Mercy, Jesus wants to send us abundant graces and blessings even to unbelievers and most especially to the greatest sinners via the Divine Mercy Image in order to create a “Pentecost of Mercy.” All souls need to come in contact with this image because, “By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it. (570) This heavenly sign is one of the weapons against His enemies, and St. Faustina explains about the victory via this image, “I saw the glory of God which flows from the image…God is receiving glory because of it; and the efforts of Satan and of evil men are shattered and come to naught.” (1789)
Jesus is sending the Divine Mercy Image as the “Fire of Mercy” (Fr. Michael Gaitley) in order to “set the earth on fire” (Lk. 12:49) and to save us from the deadly path we have chosen. Of this powerful sign future generations will exclaim that “Mercy came forth and healed them” (Wisdom 16:10) when we gazed upon it. Therefore we should heed Jesus’ words about worldwide veneration, “I desire that this image be venerated…throughout the world.” (47)
In conclusion, it is the worldwide devotion and veneration of the Divine Mercy Image in every home and parish, the rest of the Divine Mercy message, and the Jubilee of Mercy which will cause the “flames of mercy” spoken of five times in the diary to create a true and lasting “Pentecost of Mercy.” About this “Pentecost of Mercy” Jesus promises, “The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don’t want to believe in My goodness.” (177) THE END.
The Original Image of Divine Mercy – Movie Trailer:
Where can I buy an inexpensive Divine Mercy Image? DivineMercyArt.org
Lecture on St. Faustina and the Image of Divine Mercy: