By: Allison Ramirez
We are now officially in the Easter season, and the first Sunday after every Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Divine Mercy image has become an iconic reminder of the unfathomable mercy that Jesus desires to lavish upon any and all who ask. This image was the result of a vision of Jesus that Sister Maria Faustina experienced in 1931. In her vision, Jesus appeared to her wearing a white robe, his hand raised in blessing. His other hand touched his robe at the level of his heart from which two rays flowed out. The red ray represents his love which is life for souls, and the white ray represents water to cleanse souls. Under his image he asked for the words: Jesus I trust in you, to be placed. He instructed Sister Faustina to have an artist paint the image of him as she had seen it, and that the first Sunday following Easter be dedicated to particular devotion to the mercy of Jesus.
Jesus also instructed Sister Faustina in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which is similar to the Rosary except on each Hail Mary bead, the one praying recites the following prayer: For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. It is especially significance if one is able to pray this prayer at the time of Jesus’ passion and death in the afternoon around 3pm. Sister Faustina prayed especially for the souls of the dying. She often prayed Oh blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for sinners, I trust in you.”
Sister Maria Faustina belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy where she lived a simple life praying and working as a cook and gardener. Sister Faustina also wrote of her spiritual experiences in her Diary, which is available to be read today. She was born into a poor, religious family in Poland, and died at the age of thirty-three –the same age as Jesus— to Tuberculosis. Pope John Paul II canonized her a saint in 2000.
“Oh Savior of the world. I unite myself with your mercy. My Jesus, I join all my sufferings to yours and deposit them in the treasury of the Church for the benefit of souls” (Dairy, 295).
“Suddenly, I saw the Lord Jesus, who said to me, Be at peace, my child. See, you are not alone. My heart watches over you” (Diary, 316).