A Divine Mercy Meditation Novena – Day 1

Day 1 – The Hand of Blessing

I’ve been painting my own interpretation of the Divine Mercy image for a full year now.  One of the chief requests that Jesus made to St. Faustina was that a painted image on canvas be made of his Divine Mercy (the image of the merciful Jesus). The whole process of oil painting takes time, and as I am an enthusiastic painter, I wanted to experience that process myself.

Hard at work in Detroit on the painting!

I am finishing my own painting this week and I will post the picture of the entirety of the image on the last day. Before that, I want to briefly mention what the image of Divine Mercy is meant to portray. Chief among the many elements are the following: In the image, Jesus is looking downward, he is stepping forward, and he has one hand at his heart and the other raised in blessing. From his heart are coming forth two rays, one red and one pale.

An important element of the image is that Jesus is raising his right hand in blessing. The original Divine Mercy painting depicts this raised arm but positioned somewhat low and in a way, that on first glance, might not seem to be giving a blessing.


I wished in my own interpretation to have the right hand of Jesus clearly raised high enough and positioned as if giving a blessing. After scouring the internet for images of priests and popes blessing people, nothing satisfied me. So, I just took a picture of my own right hand and used that as my model. That little decision had some profound effects on me. I’ll tell you why.

As I spent the weeks and days painting the foundations of my own hand on the canvas, a transition happened. In my mind, as I had started the process, I was painting “my” hand.  But as I started adding details to the face of Jesus, in my mind I shifted slowly to painting the hand of Jesus. First, it was me, then it became Jesus.

One of the beautiful mysteries of the Divine Mercy devotion is that Jesus chose to work through us poor humans. Even though we are imperfect and fail so often, somehow Jesus still wants to be close to us; he still wants to walk with us and meet us each day. In the novena, Jesus asks us to pray for a unique group people on each day.  Today, the first day, let us remember to pray for all mankind and especially sinners.

In closing today, a simple prayer comes to mind:

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father and all mankind.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.

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