In 1931, Jesus appeared to St. Faustina in a vision. She saw Him clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in a blessing. His left hand was touching the area of the heart where two rays appear, one red and the other white. She looked upon the Lord intently in silence and her soul filled with awe and joy.
Jesus then spoke to her:
Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You. I promise that he soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I, Myself, will defend it as My own glory (Diary, 47, 48). 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 (327). I desire that this image be venerated first in our chapel, and then throughout the world (47).
Her Spiritual Director asked St. Faustina ask Jesus about the meaning of the rays in the image. St. Faustina heard this reply:
The rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy which My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him (299). By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works (742).
The words indicate that the image represents the special graces of Divine Mercy poured out to us especially through the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.
Many different versions of this image have been painted, but Jesus has made it clear that the painting itself is not what is important. St. Faustina wept in disappointment when she first saw the painting and told Jesus: "Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?" (313).