Sunday, January 22, 2006


I use Icons as part of my personal prayer life. My home altar has several on it. Some of my Non-Catholic Christian friends are wary of the whole images and statues thing. I try and tell them to think of statues and images of saints as pictures of friends or family. They serve to keep them in your mind, to help you remember why you live a good life. It is veneration and remembrance, not praise. Praise and worship belong to God alone.

Icons of Christ, of course have a deeper meaning. Through Christ, God has made the human form holy. Images of Christ are acceptable because the incarnation itself is such an image. God became man, and we should remember and praise Christ in His incarnation. God became a human being and He wants us to remember that, since it was by that act our redemption became possible.

For modern Roman Catholic, Icons are a lost part of our heritage. I am particularly fond of the Icon above. The Dormition of the Virgin (The falling asleep of Mary, her death) shows Christ holding his mothers' soul, which is seen as an infant. There is a circle there of mother holding child and the child, who is the Lord of all, holding his mother. It shows how we all, no matter how important, will be held as a child by God. It reminds me of Calvary, where the Sorrowful Mother has to hold her lifeless child. It reminds me of the nativity. It reminds me to be as a child at heart and look upon God with eyes filled with wonder. It reminds me of the whole Holy Family, and how we all are a family.

This image enriches my Faith in ways that would be more difficult to grasp had I never seen it. It instructs and inspires me. Icons, like Scripture and tradition are the heritage of all Christians. We should make an effort during the Week of Christian Unity and beyond to be instructed and inspired by all three.

A Link to a brief history of Icons.

No comments: