Sunday, January 24, 2010

Prayer and Art ~ Again

My last post was on the Baby Jesus icon and one man's prayer through this painting. Mr. Fowler allowed me to take the icon to my home for awhile. He's done this with other people from time to time, and he asks each person or family to sign the back before returning the icon to him. Since that time, I've looked and looked for a Baby Jesus icon to no avail.

During the time the icon was in my home, I think I just enjoyed reflecting on the Christ Child. How amazing it is that the God of Eternity, came to live and be with us. He humbled Himself, so that by His example we could all have eternal life. I often think of the many ways He revealed Himself to mankind before the Nativity. A humorous thought pops into my mind. I picture Him saying, "well they still don't get it. I'm going to have to go and show them myself."

One thing I found for sure, is when praying through art each individual sees something different. Take the cord around the scroll Jesus is holding. There are seven cords wrapped around the scroll. Mr. Fowler said, "The scroll in his left hand is wrapped seven times with a string. This I feel is the need to read and follow the Scriptures daily in our lives." How interesting. Seven days make a week and he saw daily studying and following of Scripture. I also thought of the seven, but I thought of seven as the number of the Old Testament covenant. The creation story of seven days, the seven Sacraments of the Church. (Sacrament is Latin for covenant or oath). Jesus pours out grace on us through these Sacraments. The Sacraments are not something we do for or to God, but powerful avenues of His grace. These physical signs point us toward the spiritual, infusing us with the love and guidance of Our Heavenly Family.

As of lately, I am realizing, my existence is not what I can do for God. My reason for being is what can God do through me? He can do all things, if I lay aside self and become the channel of His desire.

Blessed Trinity, through the precious heart of the Christ Child, help us to remember to be still and recognize when you are working through us. Help us to lay aside the obstacles we place in your way, and help us to be loving examples of you! Amen

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prayer and Art ~ One Man's View of the Baby Jesus Icon

As I gaze upon the original icon of the Child Jesus, I am drawn to several reflections. The first is from Sister M. Helen Weiser, OSC. She states, “The profound beauty of an icon is gentle. It does not force its way, it does not intrude. It asks for patience without the uneasiness of early acquaintance. It asks for times spent before it in stillness of gazing. More important, it asks the one praying to allow himself to gaze on it. One must yield space within himself to admire the icon and its persistent beauty. An icon is a prayer transferred to art. When exquisite art combines with prayer, it becomes a work of worship and wonder. The art becomes a sacramental. It manifests to us God who came through all signs and symbols with truth.”

The second reflection is from Brother Claude, the artist of this particular icon. When I asked what the icon meant he stated the following, “The view we have of Christ in the icon is that of the Father, God looking down from heaven. It is also the view of St. Joseph as the Child Jesus lies in the manger atop his swaddling clothes. He is about to be tied up in them (a symbol of taking on human flesh). He is God’s “word” in the world…and that is underlined by the scroll in His hand (again tied up parchment ~ flesh). Jesus gazes lovingly on His mother as He mourns the loss of God the Father’s direct presence. Soon He will look to Joseph and be consoled. Will He find the same love and consolation if He looks upon us?”

As I have gazed and prayed for the past 14 years I have been given much in terms of the will of God, love, obedience, humility, poverty, labor, kindness, suffering and charity. The icon lettering reads, JESUS CHRIST – HE WHO IS. Each color in the icon has significance to me. The brown hay has its earth tone color. The blanket which Jesus is about to be wrapped in has red stripes, representing the blood He will give for us, and the white background signifies His purity. The blue ribbon will be used to hold the blanket secure to Jesus. This I feel is for the Blessed Mother Mary who will always help us remain close to Her Son Jesus. The nakedness of Jesus shows us His openness and willingness to love us unconditionally. The clutched right hand on his shoulder reminds us to take up our cross daily and follow Him with peace, trust and love. The scroll in his left hand is wrapped seven times with a string. This I feel is the need to read and follow the Scriptures daily in our lives. The legs are crossed under the child Jesus, reminding us that the steps we take in our “road of life” will always be with Christ if we remain close to the wood of the crib and the wood of the cross.

I have left the head of Christ for the last. The eyes are not looking directly at you. I feel this is important so that we will look to God the Father’s will first. We then look in love and service to our fellow man as Jesus did, before we look at self.

Finally the icon gives us the simple gift of Him, asking us only to know, love and serve Him in this life so that we may have eternal happiness when He calls us to our eternal home. Are you ready for the next step in love and service through surrender, trust and joy in your heart with the support of the cross? ~ Bill Fowler

Blessed is he who possesses Bethlehem in his heart and in whose heart Christ is born daily ~ St. Jerome

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Rosary and the Miracle of Surviving Hiroshima

Today Tsutomu Yamaguchi died at age 93. He is Japan's only known survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts. I pray he rests in peace.

There were also some survivors of the Hiroshima blast, a group of Jesuit Priests. These men give credit for their miracle to the rosary. Click here to read their fascinating story!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year So Far?

I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year! Blessings and peace are my wishes for your journey this year. :)