Meaning of the Jesus’s Divine Mercy Image


The painting, painted according to the visions of Sister Faustina, has many symbolic meanings. Jesus himself repeatedly explained to Faustina the meaning of every detail of this picture. Summing up what the image of the Divine Mercy should be, Mykolas Sopočka wrote: The right hand should be raised to the shoulder to bless, and the left hand to touch the garment in the heart area. Two rays must come from under the folded garment – whitish, pale on the right side of the viewer, and red on the left. Those rays must be transparent but properly illuminate the figure of the Savior and the space before Him. ”The mystery of mercy is deeply connected and extends and further unfolds the mystery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as its iconography. The tradition of depicting the Sacred of Jesus experienced widest popularity in the 20th century. In the first half, the devotion to theSacred Heart of Jesus reached its peak. On July 1, 1934, just as the painting of Jesus’s Divine Mercy was completed in E. Kazimirovskis’ workshop, the whole of Lithuania, was solemnly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At that time, the whole Church widely celebrated the 1900th anniversary of Jesus’ death, the so-called Jubilee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, prompting the image of Jesus’s Divine Mercy to be hung in the Gates of Dawn in 1935. Moreover, the painting itself was painted in the artist’s workshop on Rasų Street., located near the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Monastery of Visions. Maria Margarita Alakok, the founder of the Sacred Heart of Jesus cult in the 17th century was a sister of this monastery in France. In Faustina’s diary, the often mentioned Heart of Jesus is identified as a source of mercy: “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). And of the rays the Savior said, “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 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.”(Dan. 299). For the Blessed Father Mykolas Sopočka, who was deeply struggling to understand the message of Revelation to Faustina and to appreciate the authenticity of the visions, it was very important to find confirmations in both Scripture and the tradition of the Church Fathers. St. John Chrysostom already in the 4th century. connected the springs that sprang from the heart of Jesus with the sacraments: “water and blood symbolize baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the purification of water, giving revival and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Eucharist. ”In similar words, Mykolas Sopočka repeatedly explained the meaning of these rays, adding (…). This blood and this water flow continuously in the Church as graces that cleanse the soul through the sacraments of baptism and repentance and enliven it by the sacrament of the Eucharist, and their author is the Holy Spirit sent by the Savior … ”.

The Lord’s desire for this painting to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter (or the second Sunday of Easter) is very meaningful. The theme of this painting is indeed very closely related to this Sunday’s liturgy. The Church reads the Gospel that day according to St. John about the appearance of the Risen Christ to the apostles and the establishment of the sacrament of Reconciliation. (Jn 20: 19-29) The picture depicts the Risen Savior, who brings peace to people by forgiving sins at the cost of his suffering and the death of the cross. The rays of blood and water emanating from the Heart, pierced with a spear, as well as the wounds left by the crucifixion, are reminiscent of the events of Good Friday. And in the face of Jesus, we can easily see the features of the image in the Shroud of Turin. The picture of the Merciful Jesus presents these two evangelical events, which most clearly speak of God’s love for man. The other details in the picture are also very eloquent. “Jesus must look as if he is walking, as if a man stops to greet …” Jesus comes barefoot and humbles himself as a slave, He first seeks man, He first speaks, addresses. He longs to meet a man. The ubiquitous rays that soften the heart are also reminiscent of the Meeting Tent. “The eyes must be slightly lowered, and the gaze merciful, as if from the cross.” It is not uncommon to see this in the pictures of Jesus. Why did Jesus want to be so portrayed? He does not want to direct his attentive gaze to a suffering, sin-stricken man as a wrathful judge. He acts through love as evident with the captured adulteress (Lk 7: 36-50). He longs for man to be forgiven and changed. The picture shows the hand of Jesus raised to blessing as a deliverance. And then, in His gaze, loving mercy will be seen. The background of this canvas is dark, almost black. The only light comes from Jesus himself. Why? For Jesus is the light that enlightens and leads man in this world of darkness. If we remove Jesus from the picture, and also from human life, only darkness will remain. The Lord says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life ”(Jn 8:12). Father M. Sopočka also asked Sister Faustina about the title and inscription of this painting. He wanted to change the caption “Jesus, I trust in You” (47) to “Christ, the King of Mercy”. Faustina asked about the title and inscription of the picture, the Savior said, “I am the King of Mercy” ( 88), yet he repeated his words in the first vision: 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.’ ”(Dn, 327). Jesus has repeatedly shown Faustina how painful it is that people trust him too little. Trust means man’s attitude toward God, in which God’s favor is waited humbly, sustained by faith, and at the same time His Holy will is carried out. The path to God’s Mercy is paved by this unconditional trust.

Dailininko Eugenijaus Kazimierovskio 1934 m. nutapytas paveikslas