Divine Mercy Image will lead us into this spiritual combat
Throughout history, Christians have always had a heavenly sign to lead them.. Five hundred years ago the heavenly sign was the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that converted 9 million Aztec souls from a culture of death to Christianity.
1917 The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared 6 times to 3 shepherd children; Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta; between May 13 and October 13, 1917. She came to the little village of Fatima. In all Her appearances at Fatima, the Blessed Mother repeatedly emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily, of wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice To prevent the terrible chastisement at the hands of Russia and to convert "that poor nation", Our Lady requested the solemn public Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world. She also asked that the Faithful practice a new devotion of reparation on the first Saturday of five consecutive months ("The Five First Saturdays").
On June 24, 1981 our lady appeared in Medjugorje. Young Mirjana Dragicevic and Ivanka Ivankovic reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary in a village in what is now in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following day another vision was reported, this time also by four other young people:, Marija Pavlovic, Jakov Colo, Vicka Ivankovic, and Ivan Dragicevic. In the nearly 33 years that she has purportedly been appearing to the six visionaries, they have been reporting receiving messages from the Virgin Mary asking for people to pray often, fast and do penance.
Many phenomena have been reported at Medjugorje, such as the sun spinning, dancing in the sky, turning colours, or being surrounded by objects such as hearts or crosses. Many have reported that they have been able to look at the sun during those times without any damage to their eyes. The tall cement cross erected on Mount Podbrdo (where many of the apparitions had taken place) has reportedly disappeared and reappeared or else glowed as if lit with lights, although there is no electricity on the mountain. Not everyone reports seeing the same miracles at the same time. Miraculous healing has also been reported.
Just as the Ark of the Covenant was used in battle by the Israelites against its enemy, God who loves us so much, continually provides for what His people need in their present time of battle against Satan and his demons. And today, the heavenly sign that leads us into spiritual combat is none other than the Divine Mercy Image. We can say it is heavenly because Jesus appeared to St. Faustina asking for a special painting of Himself. Saint Faustina calls the image the throne of mercy on earth (Diary #1).
"My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross"
During the time of Moses when everyone was sick and dying because they were bitten by the seraph serpents, God came to their rescue by providing a sign (Num. 21:4-9) for their healing if they would but gaze upon it, the bronze serpent. This sign was also a prefiguration of the cross which would heal and restore all of humanity. In like manner, the Divine Mercy Image provides healing graces for conversion, forgiveness, and to protect us from the poisonous bite of Satan, and it too is draws its power from the Cross as Jesus tells St. Faustina, "My gaze from this Image is like My gaze from the cross." (326)
Rays of Mercy
Why are there two rays blasting fourth from His heart? "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 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) St. Faustina explains further about the origin of the rays from a vision, "Then I saw the Lord Jesus dying on the Cross amidst great suffering, and out of the Heart of Jesus came the same two rays as are in the image." (414) These two rays represent the two great sacraments that Jesus instituted. The red ray is the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the pale ray is the Sacrament of Baptism. We also know from the writings of blessed Father Soposko, Saint Faustina’s spiritual director that the image represents the Sacrament of Confession as well.
St Faustina Holding Divine Mercy Image
Jesus further promises about the rays, "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."(1486)
Divine Mercy Rays from the Host
"Once, the image was being exhibited over the altar during the Corpus Christi procession. When the priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament, and the choir began to sing, the rays from the image pierced the Sacred Host and spread out all over the world. Then I heard these words: These rays of mercy will pass through you, just as they have passed through this Host, and they will go out through all the world." (441) Heaven has given us a great weapon to fight this onslaught of evil, our Lord's Image.
"The soul that venerates this image will not perish"
The Divine Mercy Image provides protection as Jesus assures St. Faustina, "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." (48) The enemies Jesus speaks of are the devil and his minions who attack us spiritually with a bad thought, lustful images, or past memory which leads to the seven deadly sins: Envy, Gluttony, Greed or Avarice, Lust, Pride, Sloth and Wrath.
The devils make their final and strongest attack on our passions at the hour of our death as described in the many examples in St. Faustina’s diary:
"I saw the man dying in the midst of terrible torment and struggle. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was, as it were, powerless against the enormity of the soul’s misery. A multitude of devils was waiting for the soul. But while I was saying the chaplet I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the image. The rays which issued from Jesus’ Heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully breathed his last." (1565)
Vessel of Trust
Having said all this, the one thing we do need in the spiritual battle is total trust in Him so that He can come and defend us as His own as He does so many times for lost souls, "He who trust in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool."” (723)
The words "Jesus I Trust in You" (327) are on the image so that we can repeat them at every moment of the day and night as a way of unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to receive the fiery and comforting grace of trust coming from His Merciful Heart. Jesus tells St. Faustina, "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.'" (327)
p>St. Faustina relates that those who trust in God’s mercy can expect divine help, "When he (Blessed Michael Sopocko) began to speak about the mercy of the Lord, the image came alive and the rays pierced the hearts of the people gathered there, but not all to the same degree." (417) This led to their hearts opening up to the grace of conversion. Why did this happen? Jesus says in another passage about those who trust, "Your great trust in Me forces Me to continuously grant you graces."” (718)
Will those who know the importance of His Image and ignore it, answer for a multitude of souls on Judgment day?
How important is the Divine Mercy Image? Can we ignore Jesus request as something trivial? Do we have a duty and responsibility in helping spread devotion and veneration to this image? Jesus instructs St. Faustina very clearly and I believe for all of us, "I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it," (341) and in another passage He again repeats, "I desire that the image be publicly honored." (414) Jesus even admonishes her if she ignores His requests which will save many souls most especially those in our present age, "Know that if you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of mercy, you will have to answer for a multitude of souls on the Day of Judgment." (154)
The image comes alive
“When the image was displayed, I saw a sudden movement of the hand of Jesus, as He made a large Sign of the Cross. In the evening of the same day, when I had gone to bed, I saw the image going over the town, and the town was covered with what appeared to be a mesh and nets. As Jesus passed, He cut through all the nets and finally made a large Sign of the Cross and disappeared. (416) J "Already there are many souls who have been drawn to My love by this image. My mercy acts in souls through this work." (1379)
IMAGE OF THE ORGINAL TAKEN FROM A NEGATIVE
(Copyright Life Foundation)
RESTORED IMAGE OF THE ORGINAL
(Copyright Marian Fathers)
The importance of the original image
Transcript - Fr. Michael Sopocko, Spiritual advisor to Saint Faustina
Upon my request Mr. Eugene Kazimirowski began the painting of the Image on January 2, 1934. Sister Faustina of blessed memory with permission of the Superior, Mother Irene, came once or twice a week to the painter’s studio (in company of another Sister) and imparted instructions how this image is to look. For several months the painter was unable to satisfy the author, who became sad on that account, and it was at this time that she wrote in her diary: “Once when I was at that painter’s who’s painting this image and saw that it is not as beautiful as Jesus is, I became very sad, but I held that deep in my heart. When we left the painter, Mother Superior remained in the city to settle various matters, but I returned home by myself. Immediately I made my way to the chapel and I had a good cry. I said to the Lord: “Who will paint you as beautiful as you are? All of a sudden I heard the words:
"Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace."
Mr. Kazimirowski finally asked me that I help him discharge this task and for a few days pose dressed in an alb with a cincture around the waist. This made it easier for the painter after six months to paint the Image, with which Sister Faustina was on the whole satisfied, and she no longer complained about its incorrectness. (Written in Bilystock, November 25, 1958)
Why didn’t Saint Faustina give up after Our Lord told her, "Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace." Six months later she was satisfied with the Image. Is there something extraordinary about this original Image?
The matter of the correctness of the Image of the Divine Mercy
The Image represents Christ in a walking pose against a dark background in a white garment, girdled by a band (belt, cincture). With the right hand, raised to the height of the shoulder, He is blessing, and with the left one (with two fingers) He is opening the garment somewhat in the area of the heart (not visible), from which are coming out rays (on the viewer’s right)-a pale colorless one, and on the left a red one-in various directions, but principally toward the viewer. Sister Faustina called attention to this, that the right hand not be raised above the shoulder, not to bend forward, only place the left foot forward to indicate movement, that the garment be long and somewhat fallen into folds at the bottom, and that the Lord Jesus’ gaze be directed a bit toward the bottom as it happens in standing when one looks at a point on the ground a few steps away.
Father Sopocko had much concern about other Images being painted
Father Sopocko made many comments about the different paintings of Divine Mercy which deeply troubled him. His comment was that the Kazimirowski prototype is the correct one and if someone else wanted to paint the Image of Divine Mercy, he should try to duplicate the original one! For the new Image of Slendzinski is likewise not the ideal one, nor is the Lagiewniki one [ideal]. In this first (painting) of Slendzinski there is still a lot of "feminism." The right hand is too far from the body, the right foot catches too much attention and the rays are too faint (indistinct, weak).
Father Sopocko comments on the Hyla Image: blatant feminism - the whole figure is curved, the rays, as though ribbons, hang from the heart toward the ground.
When I came to (Cracow) from Wilo (August, 1947, I brought to the attention for the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, that the Image does not correspond at all to Sister Faustina’s vision. I asked Mr.Hyla to correct it and not to paint such Images anymore. Unfortunately, Mr. Hyla did not come into line with my observation (remarks) and said point-blank that he is going to paint the kind of images that those commissioning him are going to want.
The basic mistake of this Image are as follows: The whole Image reveals a showy feminism - the curved posture, the right hand raised too high, the figure’s gaze skittishly drilling (the viewer), directed too high; the rays as though ropes directed towards the ground; the Savior sometimes standing on the globe (of the earth) sometimes raised up in the clouds, which continues to be jarring discrepancy with the prototype.
The Original Image
The fingers of the right hand be upright (erect) and freely lie close together, and on the left (hand)-(that) the thumb and index fingers hold the open garments; that the rays not be like ribbons (bands) hanging down toward the ground, but that with intermittent (broken) strips (streaks) they be directed toward the viewer and lightly to the sides, coloring to a certain degree the hands and surrounding objects; that these rays be transparent in such a way that through them the band (belt, cincture) and garment be visible; that the saturation of the rays with redness and whiteness, be greatest at the source (in the area of the heart) and then slowly diminish and vanish (dissolve, fade away?) (Father Sopocko)
"Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace."(Diary 313)
This comment by Jesus for the last sixty years has been the comment that has created hundreds of Images around the world, and some beautiful Images which have truly touched the lives of many, and many graces have been granted. But, as we have read from Father Sopocko there is a significant importance to the original Image.
Moses and the Pattern
"They shall make a sanctuary for me that I may dwell in their midst. This dwelling and all its furnishings you shall make exactly according to the pattern that I will show you.” (Exodus 25:8) Moses did what God wanted and made a sanctuary in accordance with the vision he saw. Just think if there would have been hundreds of sanctuaries with all different types of patterns (unthinkable to the Jewish Nation). Moses was obedient and he did exactly what God wanted.
Could we paint Mother Teresa’s love?
If I were to ask you to paint Mother Teresa’s love, how would you do it? In earthly terms she was very homely. Now picture Saint Faustina looking at Jesus and Our Lord asking her to paint an Image according to the pattern you see. How can any artist radiate our Lords love with a brush and paper, impossible? "Once when I was visiting the artist Eugene Kazimierowski, who was painting the Image and saw that it was not as beautiful as Jesus is, I left very sad about it, but I hid this deep in my heart." (Diary 313)
Our Lord Speaks:
"The two rays denote blood and water. The pale ray stands for the water which makes souls righteous… (Baptism, Confession). The red ray stands for the blood which is the life of souls (Eucharist). These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the cross… Happy the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him." (Diary 299)
"Happy the one who dwells in the shelter of the Sacraments and Our Lords’ Church, happy the one who adores our Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, happy the one who frequently visits Our Lord in the Sacrament of Confession".
During this Jubilee of Mercy, Jesus wants to send us abundant graces and blessings even to unbelievers and most especially to the greatest sinners through the Divine Mercy Image in order to create a "Pentecost of Mercy." All souls need to come in contact with this image because, "By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it. (570) This heavenly sign is one of the weapons against His enemies, and St. Faustina explains about the victory via this image, "I saw the glory of God which flows from the image…God is receiving glory because of it; and the efforts of Satan and of evil men are shattered and come to naught." (1789)
Jesus is sending the Divine Mercy Image as the “Fire of Mercy” (Fr. Michael Gaitley) in order to "set the earth on fire" (Lk. 12:49) and to save us from the deadly path we have chosen. Of this powerful sign future generations will exclaim that "Mercy came forth and healed them" (Wisdom 16:10) when we gazed upon it. Therefore we should heed Jesus’ words about worldwide veneration, "I desire that this image be venerated . . . throughout the world." (47)
Divine Mercy Confession
In conclusion, it is the worldwide devotion and veneration of the Divine Mercy Image in every home and parish, the rest of the Divine Mercy message, and the Jubilee of Mercy which will cause the “flames of mercy” spoken of five times in the diary to create a true and lasting “Pentecost of Mercy.” About this "Pentecost of Mercy" Jesus promises, "The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don’t want to believe in My goodness." (177)
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