Year of Youth 2018

Paint an Image with the Inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You

Last edited 25th February 2016

Paint an Image with the Inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You

The image of the Merciful Jesus, painted according to the vision of St. Sister Faustina, is venerated all around the world. On February 22, 1931, during the revelations, Jesus asked for the painting of his image. A few years passed before the will of Christ became fulfilled. This happened thanks to the help of Fr. Michal Sopocko. Today the confessor and the spiritual director of St. Sister Faustina is a blessed of the Catholic Church.

Paint the image according to the figure, that you see with the inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You.

In the evening on February 22, 1931, Sr. Faustina was in the monastic cell of the Plock convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. During this time she 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 at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale" and as the entry continues, "After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You" (Diary 47).

Already during the vision in Plock Jesus made a promise of temporal grace and salvation, major steps on the way to holiness, a happy death for people who would take part in the cult of the Image. The cult is understood as an attitude of trust and mercy shown to others.

The confessor of Sr. Faustina from Plock interpreted this revelation as an instruction to paint an image of God in the spirit. The Mother Superior of the monastery made known her doubts about the words of the sister. Jesus still urged St. Faustina, however, to fulfill the task entrusted to her.

She said that I need to be her director and proclaim Divine Mercy to the world.

In May 1933, Sr. Faustina came to the convent in Vilnius. There she met Fr. Michal Sopocko, who became a spiritual director and confessor for her. The cleric recalled his first contact with the penitent sister in this way: "I came to know Sr. Faustina in 1933, who right away said, (...) I was to be her director and proclaim Divine Mercy to the world. I did not attach any meaning to this statement and I did not treat it seriously" (Diary of Blessed Fr. Michal Sopocko, s. 50).

With time, however, the cleric took pains to discern and interpret God’s inspirations that Sr. Faustina shared with him. Commitment to spreading the cult of Divine Mercy makes Fr. Michal Sopocko an apostle of the greatest of the attributes of God. And his realization of the call to holiness, on the path of the priestly vocation, was confirmed in his becoming recognized as a blessed of the Catholic Church.

Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?

Sr. Faustina presented Fr. M. Sopocko with the recommendation of painting the image. The confessor noted in his Diary: "She said that she was to paint the image of Divine Mercy. Since she did not know how to paint and never held a paintbrush in her hand, with the knowledge of her superior I sent her to an artist and painter Mr. [Eugeniusz] Kazimirowski" (Diary of blessed Fr. Michal Sopocko, s. 50).

Sr. Faustina gave the painter instructions from the beginning. Fr. Michal Sopocko posed in a white alb, so as to make the presentation of the gaze, the body posture and robes easier. The work was ready in May 1934, creating disappointment in Sr. Faustina. Crying, she asked Jesus: "Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?" (Diary 313).

The image of the Merciful Jesus was exposed to the public for the first time on April 25, 1935, in the cloister of Vilnius' Gate of Dawn. A few months later Jesus gave a reminder about having the image permanently reside in a Church. Fr. Michal Spocko fulfilled this command and put the image in St. Michal;s Church. A month later, however, the painting was moved to the sacristy. The image once again hung in the church in 1937 and remained there until the early postwar years, when the church was closed by communist authorities. The image was taken from Vilnius to Nowa Ruda in Belarus. After the 80s it returned to Lithuania. It is presently found in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Vilnius.

In February 1931, during the revelations in Plock, Jesus also expressed his will to establish the feast of Divine Mercy. The day of adoration of the greatest of God’s attributes and at the same a time of grace was to be the first Sunday after Easter. The passage of the Gospel according to St. John read on this day recalls the scene of the Resurrection appearances in the Upper Room and the establishment of the sacrament of penance. The scene from the Holy Bible connects to the figure revealed to Sr. Faustina. It shows the Saviour bringing peace, through the forgiveness of sins, for the price of His passion and death. From the wounded heart flow two streams, which, as Jesus explained to Sr. Faustina, "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" (Diary 299). Not only the wounds connect to the events of Good Friday. Jesus drew Sr. Faustina’s attention to the eyes, saying: "Once, Jesus said to me, My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross" (Diary 326) - the merciful gaze, with care seeking the lost person.

The work of Edmund Kazimirowski was one of the presentations of the Merciful Jesus that Sr. Faustina saw in her lifetime. The sister died on October 5, 1938 in her Lagiewniki convent cell.

The Merciful Jesus, presented in the image venerated in the consecrated sanctuary in Krakow, is waiting for you.

The start of the Second World War brought the growth of the devotion to Divine Mercy. For communal prayer in the chapel of the convent in Lagiewniki gathered more and more people. Among them was painter Adolf Hyla, who decided to paint the image of the Merciful Jesus. The artist presented the Saviour with the background of a landscape, but the more important elements of the vision of Sr. Faustina were preserved, that is the arrangement of hands and the beams coming from an opening in his garment. In March 1943 the image was consecrated, but could not be placed in the chapel - the size of the canvas did not match the dimensions of the side altar.

Adolf Hyla decided to paint another image. Finished in April 1944, the work met with the criticism of Fr. Michal Sopocko: "I did not find in it the likeness to the image of Sister Faustina. The beams are like ribbons; the blessing hand is raised too high; the whole figure is leaning as if for dancing; the background of the image ought to be dark, or it should be on a background with closed doors" (Diary of blessed Fr. Michal Sopocko, s. 89). Under the influence of the cleric, the artist made a change - the landscape was replaced by a stone floor and a uniform dark background.

The painting by Adolf Hyla is today the most often copied and reproduced image of the Merciful Jesus in the world. In this way they fulfilled Christ’s words he spoke in Plock on February 22, 1931: "I desire that this image be venerated first in your chapel and in the whole world" (Diary 47).

Holy Father Francis in his Message for WYD asked young people to meet with Christ presented in the image venerated in Lagiewniki. "Come to Him and do not be afraid! Come to him and say from the depths of your hearts: "Jesus, I trust in You!". Let yourselves be touched by his boundless mercy," wrote the Pope.

On the 85th anniversary of the revelation asking to have the image of the Merciful Jesus painted, the sisters from the Sanctuary in Lagiewniki invite you to a monthly meeting "Lagiewnicka 22" (as part of the spiritual preparations for WYD). "The meeting maintains its present course. This will be unique, because precisely this twenty second is a special anniversary. We want to invite as many young people as we can to together with us pray before the image of the Merciful Jesus," said Sr. Emanuela Gemza ZMBM. Dominika Stoszek // Krakow2016 News

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