may they ever find the source of hope.
by the Passion and Resurrection of your Son,
have mercy on us and upon the whole world!
The consecration and entrustment of the world to Divine Mercy represented the fulfillment of a mission for Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938). Faustina, a poor, young Polish nun experienced visions of Jesus in which he asked her to make his message of infinite love and mercy known to the world. At the request of her spiritual director, she made a record of the visions in her diary.
In his visitations, Jesus asked her to have a painting made portraying him as he appeared to her. In her diary she recorded the vision:
“Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’ I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.”
In another visitation, he asked the nun that she help establish Divine Mercy Sunday on the first Sunday after Easter, to offer the world salvation.
Faustina recorded Jesus’ words: “This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it.”
It was the mission that Pope John Paul II also felt called to help complete.
If St. Faustina was the initial receptacle for the message of Divine Mercy, her Polish compatriot saw to it that the requests Jesus made of the nun were fulfilled, and the devotion spread throughout the world.
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As a young seminarian in Krakow in 1940, Karol Wojtyla first learned of St. Faustina’s revelations and the message of Divine Mercy. Later as a priest, he was a frequent visitor to the convent where Faustina lived, stopping by to pray, and hold retreats. When he became Archbishop of Krakow, he led the effort to put Faustina’s name before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and defended her when the validity of her claims was questioned in Rome.
As pope, he published his second encyclical, Dives in misericordia (Rich in mercy), on Nov. 30, 1980.
The following year, while recovering from an assassination attempt, Pope John Paul II traveled to The Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy, where he revealed that he felt spreading the message of Divine mercy to be his greatest calling.
”Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter's See in Rome, I considered this message my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church, and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God,” he said.
At the beatification of Saint Faustina on April 18, 1993, the pope spoke of his delight at witnessing the popularity of the devotion to Divine Mercy.
“Her mission continues and is yielding astonishing fruit. It is truly marvelous how her devotion to the merciful Jesus is spreading in our contemporary world and gaining so many human hearts!” said the pope.