FEast: Sunday after Easter
Established By: St. Faustina
The devotion to Jesus' Divine Mercy began with St. Faustina Kowalska. She was a poor, uneducated sister who had a special vision of Jesus telling her, "I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful Heart."
This occurred in 1931, and it was very important for the devotion to appear during this time. The world was changing drastically and found itself between the two world wars, creating a pessimistic view for many of the world and even of their faith. During this time, God was often described only as a cruel judge punishing sinners, so Faustina's new devotion brought so much light and hope.
The image came from St. Faustina's vision. Though she could not paint herself, she eventually found an artist to paint it for her, adding the words "Jesus, I Trust in You" to the bottom as her vision of Jesus had asked. The rays coming from his chest symbolize water (for righteousness) and blood (the life of souls). The image is in reference to the description of both blood and water pouring forth from Jesus' side as he was pierced while on the cross.
St. Faustina also created a Divine Mercy Chaplet (prayer) and novena (prayer said for 9 days in a row). Her vision also directed her to pray to this devotion especially in the 3 o'clock hour, which is said to be the time Jesus died on the cross.
The feast day for this devotion is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter each year.
St. Faustina was not widely known by the time she passed away, but we can thank Pope St. John Paul II for spreading her work and then canonizing her as a saint.
Forgiveness, second chances, Mercy - some things we need a little help with in this world. we can so easily miscommunicate, or others may hurt us by disagreement or choices we don’t understand. It is eternally hard to forgive, but may we have just enough of your mercy to do so.
Since this is the first icon I ever painted, it's a little different than the others. it is so important, though, because it is what began this whole project. Keeping Jesus in a simple white t-shirt was the decision that brought about all of this!
FEast: Dec. 27th
Established By: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Though St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is credited with the establishment of the devotion, writers have expounded upon the idea of the Sacred Heart of Jesus almost since the very beginning. St. Justin Martyr and Pope Gregory the Great popularized the idea, with Sts. Gertrude, Mechtilde, Anselm and Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century influencing members of the Franciscans and Dominicans.
St. Margaret Mary was a sister in the Order created by Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal in the 1671, in which the Sacred Heart was already a very important idea. In the rest of the world, however, an extremely pessimistic view of the faith was being spread - one that suggested that human beings were desperately sinful and could not do anything to receive grace from God.
After Margaret had her visions of him telling her that he so dearly loved humanity, she was able to tell her spiritual director about his message, and he, in turn, was able to take it out to the rest of the world.
The flames represent a burning love that Jesus can barely contain in his heart for all of us, as described to Margaret Mary, and the heart is also usually encircled by the crown of thorns and is bleeding. Many Popes and Christian writers have written much on this extremely important devotion to this day.
We can never be too passionate, too in love, too on fire for the people, things, and parts of life we love. Neither can we be too energetic or too devoted, to what we believe in and what we are working to change. Fill us with the grace your sacred heart gives to continue those fires. Be our model for radical love, And let us always feel that fire for you.
Because Jesus is pictured far more often by the average person than any of the saints are, it has proved immensely difficult to try and portray him in ways that both challenge and align with those images. This one differs from the Divine Mercy in that his clothing is more formal, and his expression is more warm and cheerful. His features are more typically Middle Eastern, and he also appears older than in the image of the Divine Mercy.