Christ is Risen! Truly he has risen!
We have arrived at the last day within the octave of Easter. This Sunday was established by St. John Paul II as especially dedicated to Divine Mercy.
The development of this special feast day finds its origin in the mid twentieth century with a 26 year old religious sister—St. Faustina Kowalsk. She belonged to the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and lived in Poland.
Accustomed to mystical experiences throughout her life, it was in the year 1931 that she recounts the following vision: “In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.”
St. Faustina, always obedient to such divine inspirations, sought a means to fulfill this command. Not knowing how to paint, she sought someone who could render the image as she had seen it displayed in her vision. It took her 3 years to succeed in this endeavor. The first rendering of the Divine Mercy was accomplished by Eugene Kazimierowsky in the summer of 1934. In the spring of the following year, St. Faustina had another vision of Our Lord. In it, he asked that the recently made painting be displayed for public veneration.
Her spiritual director supported her in this and arranged for the image to be displayed on the second Sunday of Easter, the very Sunday which would in future years be celebrated as the Feast of Divine Mercy.
Though other elements enter into the special devotion to the Divine Mercy, this image takes a central place. A we look to venerate this image today, its meaning is revealed to us by Christ himself: “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 most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross….Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
Praised be Jesus Christ, our Merciful Lord, now and forever!