Pope Francis urged Catholics to ask Christ for the “gift of mercy” in a letter marking the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska on Monday.
In a letter to Bishop Piotr Libera of Płock, the pope noted that the first apparition took place on Feb. 22, 1931.
“Let us ask Christ for the gift of mercy. Let it engulf us and penetrate us. Let us have the courage to come back to Jesus to meet His love and mercy in the sacraments,” he said in the letter, dated Feb. 15.
“Let us feel His closeness and tenderness, and then we will also be more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness, and love.”
St. Faustina recorded the apparition, which took place in Płock, in her diary. The Polish nun said that Jesus appeared to her dressed in white, with two rays emerging from his chest, one red and the other pale. She reported that Christ asked her to create an image of him bearing the words “Jesus, I trust in you.”
She wrote that Jesus said: “I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.”
The image was first painted by the Polish artist Eugeniusz Kazimirowski. After the nun’s death in 1938, other artists created images inspired by her description of the apparition. The best-known version was painted by the Polish painter Adolf Hyła for the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in 1943.
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