Divine Mercy Image Explained

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The Image's Scriptural Foundation? Here It Is.

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The following is an excerpt from the new booklet published by Marian Press, The Divine Mercy Image Explained, by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC:

On February 22, 1931, one of the most famous apparitions in the history of the Catholic Church happened in the city of Plock, Poland. There, Jesus appeared to the great saint and mystic, Maria Faustina Kowalska, an experience that the young nun describes in her diary:

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 breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence, I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy.

After Sr. Faustina had remained for some time in this contemplative state of joyful wonder, Jesus spoke to her in the following words:

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.

Faustina obeyed the Lord's command with the blessing and help of her spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko. Using his own money, this holy priest commissioned an artist, Eugene Kazimirowski, to paint the image.

Closely working with Sr. Faustina, Kazimirowski completed the painting after no less than 12 tries. Of course, since no painting can fully capture the glory of the Lord as he appears to his saints, it's not surprising that after Faustina first saw the painting, she went to the chapel and wept with sorrow. At one point, in the midst of her tears, she cried to Jesus, "Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?" The Lord consoled her, saying, "Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace."

"My grace." What is this "grace" that Jesus speaks of, this grace that makes the Divine Mercy Image so great? That's what we'll explore in the next section. Then, in subsequent sections, we'll look at the meaning behind certain aspects of the image and how you can enthrone it in your home. So, by the end of this booklet, you'll have everything you need to know about a most important image for our time, an image of great grace and blessing, an image that brings Christ to your home — the amazing Image of Divine Mercy.

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The great grace of the image of Divine Mercy is rooted in a passage from the Gospel of John, a passage that's read every
year at Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday (the Second Sunday of Easter), a passage that describes the very first Divine Mercy Sunday. Reflecting on this passage will help introduce us to the special grace of the Divine Mercy image. Let's prayerfully read the passage now:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (20:19-23).

In a certain sense, this scene is the image of Divine Mercy. For just as Jesus suddenly appears here to the apostles who were filled with fear, shame, and sin, so also, in the Divine Mercy image, He suddenly appears to each one of us in the midst of our own darkness. Just as Jesus here brings the apostles His peace, joy, and forgiveness, so also, in the Divine Mercy image, Jesus brings us His saving grace. Finally, just as Jesus here breathes on the apostles and says to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit," so also, through the rays of the Divine Mercy image, Jesus sends us the same gift of the Spirit when we respond with the prayer, "Jesus, I trust in you."

In a beautiful address to the women of St. Faustina's own community, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Blessed John Paul II offers a commentary on the image of Divine Mercy that reiterates some of the themes from the above Gospel passage. He says:

Anyone can come [and] look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what [St.] Faustina heard: "Fear nothing. I am with you always" (Diary of St. Faustina, 412). And if this person responds with a sincere heart: "Jesus, I trust in you!", he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears. In this dialogue of abandonment, there is established between man and Christ a special bond that sets love free. And "there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn 4:18).

This is actually kind of interesting. Here, the Pope weaves together Scripture (see 1 Jn 4:18), the image of Divine Mercy, and words from St. Faustina's Diary. But why does he bother to bring in the latter two? Why doesn't he just stick with Scripture? Why bring up the image and Faustina? It's because the Pope well knew that one of the great treasures of Catholicism is that we not only have the gift of the Bible but also that of Sacred Tradition, and through such Tradition, the Holy Spirit continues to bless and enrich the Church with the truth of Christ.

To read more about the image, we invite you to order The Divine Mercy Image Explained. The price is $3.99 plus S&H.

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divine mercy is in your soul - Jun 2, 2013

This article/photo reminds me of:
Section 1: Man's Vocation - Life in the Spirit - Ch. 1: The Dignity of the Human Person - Article 1: Man: The Image of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1699-1715). Particularly the quotes about the "divine image": "The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God" (CCC 1700); "Christ, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation. It is in Christ, the image of the invisible God, that man has been created in the image and likeness of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled by the grace of God" (CCC 1701); "The divine image is present in every man. It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves" (CCC 1702); "By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an outstanding manifestation of the divine image" (CCC 1705)...etc. Furthermore, the mission of the M.I.C. can be summed up by the CCC: Part 1 The Profession of Faith - Ch.2 God Comes to Meet Man - Article 1: The Revelation of God - I. God Reveals His Plan of Loving Goodness ...(paraphrasing here): it pleases God for his disciples to become sharers in the divine nature (51); God becomes approachable and enables us to get to know him through his Son (52); the divine plan of Revelation is communicated through a divine pedagogy of the eternal Incarnate Word (53). The perfect acronym for this divine pedagogy, of course, is FINCH! (Feast, Image, Novena, Chaplet, Hour - of Divine Mercy). I've been spreading the news of this acronym whenever I can write it where it'll be received well. The Divine Mercy image is a beautiful treasure of the faith.
God reward you Marians for sharing the Message of Divine Mercy! Will be praying for y'all as you likewise pray for us. Thank you!

diary investigator - Jun 2, 2013

I was rereading the indented paragraph which mentioned the Diary of Sr. Faustina, paragraph 412, and I looked it up ... I didn't see the quote there "Fear nothing. I am with you always"; it's the paragraph about the broken flower pot...which kinda reminds me of the scene from the Therese movie in which Therese picks up the broken vase/pottery pieces - Faustina imitates Therese in her good deeds alot it seems to me. Then I did an online search for that Fear nothing quote from her Diary, and the results made me look up also paragraph 586, which does include that entire quote - (although maybe it's also in other paragraphs too) - and par. 586 does talk about God's grace manifest in her. The next paragraph, 587, is cool - Sr. Faustina tells Jesus she just wants Him, she doesn't want him to create a new more beautiful world for her to live in - she just asks him to make her heart capable of loving Him - which reminds me of the other parts of the CCC section: "1704 The human person participates in the light and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection "in seeking and loving what is true and good" (1704); "By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil. Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor" (1706); "He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ. It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness. Having matured in grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the glory of heaven" (1709). Like Sr. Faustina, this is what good Catholics want - to be granted the grace to be capable of loving God more - God has the grace to give us if we want those graces - and of course Our Lady mediates the grace to us, she's on our side. We don't have to hear Jesus audibly like Faustina did, or see visions of Mary like Faustina did - that was extraordinary mystical blessings - through which God blessed her readers through her religious experiences - it's enough for us to realize that the law of God IS in our hearts, and we ARE capable of loving God and being loved by Him. For people who persistently don't believe in God's Love for them, they don't "know what great happiness it is to love God" (from the novena). The Scriptures are live with divine mercy from the O.T. to the N.T. Just the other day I learned from a sister speaker that the Wedding at Cana is another example of divine mercy - how Jesus changes the water into wine at the wedding feast - this is like a foreshadowing of how Jesus' water & blood flow out from his Divine Heart on the Cross - isn't it a miracle of God both times through Our Lady's presence being there for her Son letting Him fulfill the Holy Will of the Heavenly Father.

Scriptural Foundation in John 19 - Jun 3, 2013

"[34] But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. [35] And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe.

[36] For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. [37] And again another scripture (Zach. 12:10) saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced."