One of the most amazing things about the devotion to Divine Mercy is that our knowledge of it comes not just from the words of a saint, but from Jesus Himself. Through the Diary of St Faustina, we learn many things about Divine Mercy, including its visual centerpiece: the image of Christ with the words “Jesus I trust in you.”
Jesus instructed St Faustina to have the Divine Mercy image painted, based on a vision He gave to her. But Jesus didn’t only reveal the image—he also explained the imagery. Here are three things Jesus says in the Diary of St Faustina that will help you understand the Divine Mercy image and grow deeper in your devotion. The parentheses in each heading refer to where the quote can be found in the Diary.
When St Fuastina asked Jesus the meaning of the rays of light in the image, He replied: “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.”
With these words Jesus hearkens back to John 19:31-37. These red and white rays in the image come not from the center of Jesus’ body but a little to the side, right where his human heart is. This shows us that Jesus’ words are not spoken from a lofty distance. They come right from the heart, literally.
Jesus also told St Faustina about His face in the image: “My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross.”
What an extraordinary insight into this image! As you gaze upon it, the face of Christ gazes back at you as from the cross. This means you can grow in devotion to Christ and His Divine Mercy by quietly gazing upon your icon and reflecting on His love, because this will draw you deeper into His presence as you pray.
Look closely at your Divine Mercy icon and you’ll notice the nail marks on Jesus’ hands and feet. They too are a part of the message of Divine Mercy. St Faustina writes that Jesus once said to her: “My heart is sorrowful… because even chosen souls do not understand the greatness of My mercy… Oh, how much that wounds My Heart! Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds.”
Jesus does more than tell us about His love and mercy—he shows us. He showed us on the cross, and the Divine Mercy image is His way of showing us today. The rays of light, His gaze, and the wounds on His hands and feet are all signs of the mercy He desires us to trust in. Whenever you struggle with trust, turn to look at these things.
Have a blessed April, and see you next month!