Paintings of Jesus – St. Wenceslaus Church, Milligan, NE

In the vestibule of the church are three lovely paintings of Jesus: Jesus knocking at the door; a portrait of Jesus; and Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

The image of Jesus knocking at the door is illustrative of the prophetical passage from the Book of Revelations, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) The artist of the portrait of Jesus painted in 1940 is shown to be Warner Sallman. The lithograph of the image was an extremely popular devotional image reportedly reproduced over a billion times; and was under copyright from 1941 to 1968. The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is familiar to most due to the many Gospel references.

Brass plaques on the images show that two of the paintings were donated in memory of Felix Bedlan, Sr.; and the Good Shepard painting in memory of Anton Suda.

Hanging on the south wall of the nave is an image of the Divine Mercy Jesus. The first image of Divine Mercy was painted in 1934 after Jesus’ appearances to St. Faustina starting in 1931. Jesus communicated many messages to Faustina at Plock, Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania which she recorded in her diary; and then with the guidance of her confessor Blessed Michael Sopocko, directed the first painting of Divine Mercy Jesus by Eugene Kazimierowski. The image in this church is representative of the “Krakow Divine Mercy Image” that was painted about ten years after Kazimierowski by Adolf Hyla in 1943 to express gratitude for the survival of his family in World War II. The message of The Divine Mercy is simple and is reflected in the phrase at the bottom of the painting, “Jesus, I Trust in You!” The communication is that God loves all; and, He wants all to recognize that His mercy is greater than sin, so to call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through to others. Thus, all will come to share in His joy.

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