Another art piece that I wanted to bring to your guys attention is a piece that was commissioned by Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. She was a nun who joined the Our Lady of Mercy convent in Warsaw in 1925. She was extremely gifted with the power to see and talk to Christ.
In 1930, when she was in Płock, Poland, she saw the Divine Mercy image of Christ (this painting). In her vision, Faustina was instructed to have this image be painted and spread throughout the world. In her diary, which is currently published, in her first Notebook she wrote that during her vision Jesus said:
Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory (47, 48)… 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)… I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world (47).
In time, and with the help of others, she found Eugeniuz Kazimiriwski whom she instructed to paint this image in 1934 based on her vision.
Christ has a halo and is wearing a white garment which emphasizes his purity and holiness. Jesus has his right hand up, blessing everyone. His left hand is on his chest and two rays of light are coming from his heart. One is pale and the other is red. The pale ray shows water; with it souls will have righteousness. The red ray shows blood, which is to be the life of souls. This is meant to show a depiction of when Christ was pierced with a lance when he was dying on the cross. Instead of blood coming out, water and blood came out.
Having grown up in a Polish family, this is one of the paintings that I grew up simply knowing about and understanding, just like Our Lady of Częstochowa.
There’s also a fun fact about this painting: In 1959, the Vatican banned this image and devotion to it (which may have included the Novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy). It was believed that the colors, red and white, were being interpreted as the Polish flag colors rather then their actual meaning. In 1978, Pope John Paul II took off this ban. Then he established the second Sunday of Easter as the feast of Divine Mercy (being April 8th this year). He also made Faustina a Saint in 2000, and called her an “Apostle of Mercy.”