Showing posts with label icon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label icon. Show all posts

Thursday, May 14, 2015

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST

THEOPHANES the Cretan - The Ascension - 1546
Stavronikita Monastery, Mount Athos

 Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Collect for Ascension Day
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The icon is exquisite. The colors are gorgeous; the figures are graceful and beautifully highlighted; the balance of the arrangement of Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and the angels is wonderful. I don't know how to read icons, but I see inspiration and soul food in the image above.

About the artist:
Theophanis Strelitzas (Θεοφάνης Στρελίτζας), also known as Theophanes the Cretan (Θεοφάνης ο Κρης) or "of Crete" or "Theophanes Bathas", was a leading icon painter of the Cretan school in the first half of the sixteenth century, and in particular the most important figure in Greek wall-painting of the period.
Image from The Web Gallery of Art.

Biographical information from Wikipedia.

Reposted from 2011.

Monday, January 19, 2015

WHAT TO SAY ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Icon of Dr King by Tobias Haller.

Today I'm sad that racism is still such a presence in our society. What would Dr King think if he looked around today? I expect he'd be rather sad, too. Though voters elected President Obama twice, the presence of an African-American in the Oval Office seems to have forced racism from the dark crevices and corners where it always lurked into the light of day in a way that surprised many of us. I don't know what else to say, for the few words I've written came very hard.

Collect for the Feast Day of Martin Luther King
Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last; Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

IT'S STILL CHRISTMAS - DAY 5 - FEAST OF HOLY INNOCENTS

The Holy Innocents icon by Tobias Haller

The King's Apology

King Herod was a man who weighed things in
the scale of his own judgment, in
his selfish-ordered world,
in which his life out-weighed all other lives.


So in his eyes expediency demanded that
this infant rival king be dealt with ere
he came of age to threaten Herod’s throne.
The other children were collateral loss,
indeed somewhat to be regretted
(as the later letter put it) due
to over-zealous overkill
by members of the royal forces.
(Politicians wipe away their crimes
as handily as crimes wipe out their foes.)


What? Never saw that letter?
Search the archives and I’m sure you’ll find
it, signed with Herod’s hand and seal.
“Condolences to all bereaved in Bethlehem
of Judah. Please accept my sorrow for
your loss, occasioned by excesses on
the army’s part. Those found responsible
will face review and discipline. Sincerely,
Herod, King.”


(Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG)
Though it's the same year after year, I am always saddened and somewhat surprised that the feast days following the joyous celebration of the Nativity of Jesus include the feast of St Stephen, the first martyr, and the feast of The Holy Innocents.
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
   wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
   she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’

(Matthew 2:16-18)
Collect for The Holy Innocents and all innocents.
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

JOURNEY TO BETHELEHEM

Icon of the journey to Bethlehem in the Monastery of Chora in Constantinople

The story of the journey of Mary and Joseph as pictured in the icon mosaic:
There is an icon of their trip in the Monastery of Chora in Constantinople (Istanbul).  In it we see Joseph with a slight stoop and a gate of an elderly man.  He was generally thought to be about 80 years of age at this time.  His eyes are turned toward Mary who has her head turned towards him.  One of Joseph's sons is leading with his mantle flowing and carrying a bundle of provisions for the trip.
Apocrypha written after the four canonical Gospels, the earliest of which was the Gospel of James, from about 150 AD, state that Joseph was a widower, who had children by his first wife.

A Christmas poem by the gay poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism and became a Jesuit priest.
Moonless Darkness Stands Between

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ARCHBISHOP ÓSCAR ROMERO - A SAINT FOR TODAY AND ANY DAY


A wonderful icon of Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, written by Tobias Haller, along with San Romero's wise words:
A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
From Journey with Jesus.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FEAST OF THE ST STEPHEN THE MARTYR

St Stephen icon by Tobias Haller
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

(Book of Common Prayer)
If the humble beginnings of Jesus, the Christ, conceived by an unwed mother and born in a cold stable, a shelter for farm animals, is not real enough for us, the feast of St Stephen the Martyr jerks us violently back into reality.

Read Tobias' "Warning For Storytellers".

Acts 7:59-8:8
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.  And Saul approved of their killing him.

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralysed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

EVELYN UNDERHILL - THE PRACTICAL MYSTIC


The lovely icon of Evelyn Underhill pictured above was written by Tobias Haller.
God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament. 

....

God is acting on your soul all the time, whether you have spiritual sensations or not.

Evelyn Underhill
Evelyn was a wise and practical mystic whose words resonate today, with her emphasis on balance between the heights and the earthy and her reminder to celebrate and give thanks for the miracle of the Incarnation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FEAST OF THOMAS MERTON

The splendid and moving icon of Thomas Merton was written by Brother Tobias Haller.

Thomas Merton has been a major influence in my spiritual life for many years, since the 1950s when I read Merton's biography The Seven Storey Mountain. The book had a profound effect on me in deepening my faith. Since the first, I've read a good many of Merton's other writings.

Merton's prayer below sustained me many through many periods in my life when I felt directionless or doubtful about choices I've made.
The Living Spirit

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Collect of the Day: Thomas Merton, Contemplative and Writer, 1968
Gracious God, you called your monk Thomas Merton to proclaim your justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, October 19, 2012

TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST

UNKNOWN ICON PAINTER, Cretan
Transfiguration of Christ - c. 1550
Ikonen-Museum, Recklinghausen
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” – not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
(Luke 9:28-36 - NRSV)

The imagery and story of the Transfiguration are, to me, so very full of power; Each time I read the passage in the Gospels, I feel a quickening which is difficult to describe in words. What happens to me in moments of transcendence is so great a part of my faith, so confirming of my faith, and yet these episodes fall into the category of the ineffable. I wish I could paint the Transfiguration, and perhaps I would express myself better through the venue of the visual.

Image from the Web Gallery of Art.  Though the icon by the unknown artist is lovely, I wanted to use William Blake's version of the Transfiguration, but all the images I could find are under copyright.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

HOLY SATURDAY - HOPE FOR MERCY AND GRACE



Psalm 88:10-18
LORD, I have called upon you daily;
I have stretched out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead? *
will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? *
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
Will your wonders be known in the dark? *
or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?
But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; *
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
LORD, why have you rejected me? *
why have you hidden your face from me?
Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death; *
I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.
Your blazing anger has swept over me; *
your terrors have destroyed me;
They surround me all day long like a flood; *
they encompass me on every side.
My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, *
and darkness is my only companion.
Hebrews 4:14-16
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Collect - Holy Saturday
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

FEAST DAY OF THOMAS MERTON (BROTHER LOUIS)


The splendid and moving icon of Thomas Merton was written by Brother Tobias Haller.

Thomas Merton has been a major influence in my spiritual life for many years, since the 1950s when I read Merton's biography The Seven Storey Mountain. The book had a profound effect on me in deepening my faith. Since the first, I've read a good many of Merton's other writings.

Merton's prayer below sustained me many through many periods in my life when I felt directionless or doubtful about choices I've made.
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Friday, August 12, 2011

FEAST DAY OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will receive me with honour.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Psalm 73:23-26
PRAYER

Life-giving God, who alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tobias Haller, who blogs at In a Godward Direction, wrote the lovely icon pictured above.

James Kiefer writes at the Lectionary:
The commemoration of Florence Nightingale is controversial. On the one hand, she doubted or denied many of the central articles of the Creed. On the other hand, she believed in God and devoted her life to His service as she understood it.
I'd say more than good enough. Thanks be to God for the life and service of Florence Nightingale.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION


THEOPHANES the Cretan - The Ascension - 1546
Stavronikita Monastery, Mount Athos
Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Collect for Ascension Day
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The icon is exquisite. The colors are gorgeous; the figures are graceful and beautifully highlighted; the balance of the arrangement of Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and the angels is wonderful. I don't know how to read icons, but I see inspiration and soul food in the image above.

About the artist:
Theophanis Strelitzas (Θεοφάνης Στρελίτζας), also known as Theophanes the Cretan (Θεοφάνης ο Κρης) or "of Crete" or "Theophanes Bathas", was a leading icon painter of the Cretan school in the first half of the sixteenth century, and in particular the most important figure in Greek wall-painting of the period.
Image from The Web Gallery of Art.

Biographical information from Wikipedia.