Divine Mercy Image (Vilnius)
"Paint an Image According to the Pattern You See"
Our Lord Speaks:
“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 its 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 grace to the Fountain of Mercy (Confession). That vessel is this Image with the Signature ‘Jesus, I Trust in You.’ ” (Diary 327)
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).
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)
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.
What is the importance of this Image, the original painted (Vilnius) with the direction of Saint Faustina?
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.