The essence of the devotion to the Divine Mercy is the attitude of trust toward God
(fulfilling his will) and practicing works of mercy toward our neighbors. This is also a
condition for the fulfillment of the promises that our Lord Jesus associated with the new
forms of veneration of the Divine Mercy.
The origins of this image are connected to the vision that Sister Faustina had in the Convent at Płock,
Poland. On February 22, 1931, Jesus revealed himself to sister Faustina in a cell of the Plock convent and
ordered her to paint an image, showing the pattern of the image in a vision.
"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...
there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale.
After a while, Jesus said: "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. I promise that the soul that will
venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth,
especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory."
There is a very close link between the meaning of the image and the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter,
the Feast of Divine Mercy. On that day throughout the Church the Gospel reading is from St. John, about
the appearance of the Risen Christ in the Upper Room, and about the institution of the sacrament of
reconciliation (Jn 20:19-23). The rays of blood and water flowing from the Saviour's pierced Heart
(not visible in the image), and the scars on His hands and feet marking the wound of the crucifixion,
recall the events of Good Friday (Jn 19:17-18. 33-37). The Divine Mercy image combines these two scriptural
events that most fully reveal the message of God's merciful love for man.
The characteristic features of this image are the two rays. Our Lord, when asked what they meant said:
"The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is
the life of souls...Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter (Diary, 299) It is the sacrament of
baptism and the sacrament of reconciliation that purify the soul, and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
that most fully nourishes it. Thus the two rays signify the sacraments and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
of which water is a symbol in Scripture.
The image describes God's great mercy, which was fully revealed in Christ's paschal mystery. It also
reminds Christians of their obligation of placing their trust in Him and of loving their neighbor. The words
contained in the signature beneath the image, "Jesus, I trust in You," emphasize the attitude of trust.
The image, as Jesus related, is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest
faith is of no avail without works (Diary, 742).
Our Lord promised the grace of eternal salvation to those who venerate this image with complete trust in
God and charity for their neighbor: The soul that will venerate this image will not perish (Diary, 48) –
it shall live forever! He also promised great progress on the road to Christian perfection, the grace of a
happy death, and many other graces as well as the temporal blessings for which merciful people will ask
Him with trust: By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul
have access to it (Diary, 570).