Jesus, I Trust in You
The traditional placement of the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You – on the Original Image of Divine Mercy might not be where you think it is!
With the recent release of the new documentary film, The Original Image of Divine Mercy, currently being screened in parishes and in select theaters world-wide, a new conversation has erupted among devotees and sacred art aficionados about the inscription, “Jesus, I trust in You,” which Jesus asked to be included with the image.
As we know, Jesus asked for the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You – to be included with the image when He initially asked for the painting to be made. In one of her visions, Jesus said this to Saint Faustina.
“I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’” – 328 Diary of St. Faustina
The much-talked about film, The Original Image of Divine Mercy, which has been officially endorsed by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, follows the dramatic history of the original painting by Eugeniusz Kazirowski done under the careful direction of Saint Faustina and in the presence of her spiritual director, Blessed Fr. Michał Sopoćko. In an attempt to artistically and somewhat-academically document the lifeline of the once-lost masterpiece, the film inadvertently uncovers the fact that the inscription was never actually painted or written onto the canvas itself as many have been lead to believe.
Daniel diSilva, who directed and produced the new documentary with an international team of filmmakers, says that Saint Faustina never instructed that the inscription “Jesus, I trust in You” be placed on the canvas. After her death in 1936, just two years after the painting was finished, her confessor and spiritual director, Blessed Fr. Michał Sopoćko, took over her work of spreading the Divine Mercy message and devotion, and it turns out that he didn’t have the inscription painted onto the canvas either.
Did Saint Faustina forget to include the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You – that Jesus requested?
“Historically, in Faustina’s day, the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You – was placed on the frame but not on the painting itself. Having just spent so much time to get every detail right, Saint Faustina didn’t just write it on the bottom of the precious canvas. This image is no less than a masterpiece. Actually, placing the inscription on the frame not only gives the inscription more prominence, this also allows every exquisite detail of this singular painting of Divine Mercy, which we know was detailed by Jesus through St. Faustina and then through the painter, Kazimirowski, to be admired and studied and venerated,” insists diSilva.
A quick search reveals that it is almost impossible to find a digital image online without the inscription. And therein lies a big hint about how it may have become so popular to see the inscription “on the canvas.” It was only with the advent of computer graphics software that the inscription began to appear on the canvas area of the famous image.
“Unfortunately, the Original Image of Divine Mercy has been betrayed in a certain sense by easy-to-use computer graphics software, and not just with the super-imposing of the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You. Besides the ‘floating inscription,’ many other alterations to the Original Image are out there and have become widespread. These changes and additions and bad out-of-focus copies of the Original Image dilute the painting. And if there is a message in the painting for us from Jesus, and indeed there is, then they may dilute that message as well,” says diSilva.
“We have to realize that this is the only painting [of Divine Mercy] that Saint Faustina ever laid eyes on. Every last detail was important to her. And she was a real stickler when it came to how it was being painted! We know this for sure.”
“This placement (on the canvas under the feet of Christ) necessitates a drastic computer manipulation of the painting. Considering that on the Original Image of Divine Mercy, which hangs in the Shrine in Vilnius, there isn’t actually room for the inscription under the feet of Jesus, the canvas itself seems to insist that the inscription – Jesus, I trust in You – be placed on the frame below. And traditionally, that is where it had always been.”
“Both are very important for the practice of the devotion: the painting and the inscription. Following the tireless instance of Blessed Fr. Michał Sopoćko, we encouraging a return to the Original Image of Divine Mercy as it was originally painted,” says diSilva.
DiSilva explains that “whenever we see this inscription printed on the canvas under the feet of the Merciful Jesus we know that the canvas has been changed to accommodate the words. The words are good. They are very good since they come from Jesus Himself. But so is the painting – even the smallest details of the painting are important. At least they were to Saint Faustina.”
So if this is not the proper, or at least not the traditional place for the inscription, then where should it be placed?
Filmmaker Daniel diSilva says, “If the print is framed, then the inscription should be placed on the part of the frame under the image. If not, then somewhere under the image itself. But it probably shouldn’t cover any part of this important image.”
The image solicits a response –
Jesus, I trust in You
DiSilva insists that the inscription was ultimately intended to become a prayer in the heart of the faithful. “Jesus, I trust in You,” goes from the person venerating the painting to Jesus, not from the painting, or from Jesus, to the observer.
“Like the Our Father, it is a prayer that Jesus taught us. The most important place for this prayer is on our lips,” says diSilva.
“The image solicits a response. And that response is, especially for those devoted to Divine Mercy, ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’ The painting itself is an inanimate object. Although art can move one’s heart, persons alone can give voice to that heart, to our prayers, to our desires,” explains diSilva. “The act of painting a work of art is itself to give voice to these emotions and ideas, but with regard to these words, it is me who must say them, and mean them, and repeat them, over and over again.”
Fine art prints of The Original Image of Divine Mercy without the inscription and with the inscription placed on a beautiful frame are available.
Making all things new
We asked director Daniel diSilva for his thoughts about the practical placement of the inscription, “Jesus, I trust in You,” and how people might add it to an image that doesn’t have it? Here is what he told us.
Well, there are an endless number of ways, but here are a few suggestions I can come up with on the spot. But first, it may be important to mention that it is not some sort of sin to not have the inscription with the painting. This work of art can stand alone on its own artistic merit. However, for those devoted to Divine Mercy, here are my suggestions.
Have a beautiful ceremony in your home (or parish) – it doesn’t have to be elaborate, just beautiful – during which each member of the family (or, congregation) writes in their own handwriting, “Jesus, I trust in You,” on a piece of paper. Then, one by one, each person places this piece of paper at the foot of the image as a symbolic placing of themselves at the foot of the Cross. This can happen anytime, but it would be really special to do it on Divine Mercy Sunday.
If your image is framed without the inscription, add a small “plaque” with “Jesus, I trust in You” to the bottom part of the frame. This can be made by one of the young creative members of the family. It can also be made with stuff from Hobby Lobby, or written on paper and even mounted on artboard to make it stiff. This might be a fun project!
Stand below the image and “become” the inscription yourself. This obviously takes a little imagination and imagination is a useful tool in prayer. We can imagine ourselves with Jesus, although He is real and is indeed with us. We can imagine our guardian angels, although they are always by our side. We can imagine the historical Jesus or what it must have been like in those times to walk and talk with Him. The use of one’s imagination, which is a gift from God, doesn’t cancel out facts. We imagine space, or the other side of the world, or an soon-to-be-born child in his mother’s womb, but we also know concretely that they are really there. So, we can imagine ourselves at the foot of the Cross, looking up to Jesus and saying, “Jesus, I trust in You!.” The implications are huge.
Become a “living inscription”
“One thing is for sure regardless how it is done,” adds diSilva. “It should be meaningfully and intentionally placed there by you, both through prayer and literally placed there – physically placed there. Even if the image was purchased with the inscription already on the frame, one should spiritually “participate” in its placement since it represents something of that person. And the prayer of a person cannot be substituted by the physical/visible inscription. No deal! Nor can the inscription be made visible through prayer. It’s all quite a lesson in sacramentality, isn’t it?”
Returning to the Original Image of Divine Mercy
According to diSilva and to the documentary, which is still playing worldwide, Fr. Sopoćko considered it very important that people venerate this particular image because it most conforms to the mystical visions of Saint Faustina and her description of the Merciful Jesus.
“And as you can see in the documentary, Fr. Sopoćko was present for the entire painting process of the image. He witnessed and recorded every detail given to the artist Eugeniusz Kazimirowski,” says diSilva.
“This is the entire purpose of our film,” claims diSilva. “To return the Original Image of Divine Mercy to its proper place of primacy in the devotion of Divine Mercy, as Saint Faustina and Blessed Fr. Michał Sopoćko always intended.”
Where to buy an Original Image of Divine Mercy
Authorized Fine Art Prints of the Original Image of Divine Mercy can be purchased at Springtime Productions online store OriginalDivineMercy.com
From the website: “This is not a photo! This is a professionally-made digital scan of the Original Image of Divine Mercy which is over 2 meters tall. There has never before been a finer image produced that so accurately replicates this masterpiece by Kazimirowski. These prints are being made available for a limited time on this site.”
Springtime Productions was authorized by the Archdiocese of Vilnius, home of the Shrine of the Original Image of Divine Mercy, to sell the Original Image (in any size) in commemoration of the Holy Year of Mercy and each print from them is numbered. Contact email@example.com for more info.
Proceeds from sales at the site go to foster the development of pilgrimage facilities for the Divine Mercy Shrine in Vilnius, the permanent home of the Original Image of Divine Mercy.