“Already, there are many souls who have been drawn to My love by this Image.
My mercy acts in souls through this work.” (Diary, #1379)
Toward the start of her spiritual journey, the Merciful Jesus gave Sr Faustina the Image of Divine Mercy, commanding that it be painted according to the pattern presented to her; this vision of the Merciful Jesus was repeated to her on many occasions. The Image was central to the entire work of Mercy. Her instinct was to complain that it did not represent the beauty of the Lord as she had seen Him. In response, the Lord reminded her of something very important –
“Not in the beauty of the colour, nor of the brush, lies the greatness of this Image, but in My grace.” (Diary, #313).
He also made a binding promise in respect of the Image of Divine Mercy –
“I promise that the soul that will venerate this Image will not perish.” (Diary, #48)
Several years later, Faustina had completed much of the work given to her by the Lord and in so doing, she had successfully cast off her own self-will, seeking only His own will. And it was only by this point that she was able to write –
“Today I saw the glory of God which flows from this Image. Many souls are receiving graces, although they do not speak of it openly” (Diary, #1789).
She had learned value of reliance on the Lord by means of her failures as well as her successes –
“There are moments when I mistrust myself, when I feel my own weakness and wretchedness in the most profound depths of my own being, and I have noticed that I can endure such moments only by trusting in the infinite mercy of God. Patience, prayer and silence – these are what give strength to the soul.” (Diary #944)
Shortly afterwards, the Lord would crown her efforts –
“My Heart is pleased with you, and for your sake I am blessing the earth.” (Diary #980)
Sr Faustina died in October 1938. Since then, the work of Mercy has continued – driven forward and overcoming every obstacle, whether practical, material or spiritual, by means of the Image of the Merciful Jesus.
This apparently simple Image has wielded enormous power and force in innumerable hearts and souls ever since, constantly drawing souls to the Lord and to His Divine Mercy, then reflecting off them like sunlight upon a mirror, the beams of Mercy shimmering throughout the world and illuminating even the darkest corners of it.
All of this is the result of the grace of the Merciful Jesus, whose mercy is like an ocean without shore or seabed, which cannot be contained and which increases the more it is given away.
Sr Faustina once saw a vision of the rays of Divine Mercy pouring out of her own convent Chapel and then spreading throughout the entire world. The reality and prophetic nature of this vision has since been borne out fully.
All of this work of Mercy now falls to us. All of us are called to follow in the footsteps of Sr Faustina, the first Saint of the third Millennium. As individuals, and as a Church, we must now fearlessly and tirelessly proclaim the Message of Divine Mercy.
Pope Francis tells us that “Jesus has this message for us: Mercy. I think — and I say it with humility — that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: Mercy”. And he went on to pray – “may the balm of Mercy reach everyone”. Since then, he has repeatedly shown us in very practical ways what it means to show mercy, to be merciful, to live the Message of Mercy.
Pope Benedict, too, has spoken clearly on the Message of Mercy, recalling to us how pivotal it is to the Faith we profess –
“Indeed, mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message. From Divine Mercy, which brings peace to hearts, genuine peace flows into the world, peace between different peoples, cultures and religions.” (Angelus message on September 16, 2007)
He also reminded us that the decision of St John Paul II to institute the Feast of Divine Mercy expressed his insight and realisation that a new ‘age of mercy’ was needed in the Church and in the world. He explicitly commented on this in 2007, when he said –
“In our time, humanity needs a strong proclamation and witness of God’s mercy. Beloved John Paul II, a great apostle of Divine Mercy, prophetically intuited this urgent pastoral need.” (Regina Caeli message on Divine Mercy Sunday, March 30, 2008)
The Message of Divine Mercy is nothing less than the call of the Gospel itself, as all of the recent Popes remind us very clearly indeed. And God knows, the world today so needs to hear this message of merciful love, for it alone can supply the Divine Light needed to scatter the darkness of the world in which we find ourselves today. Now, every single one of us are called to be foot soldiers in this army proclaiming the Message of Divine Mercy. And the Image of the Merciful Jesus is our banner.