"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, January 03, 2016


The miracle that Moses witnessed
on Sinai in the burning bush
Foretold your virgin childbearing,
O pure Mother.
We the faithful cry to you:
Rejoice, O truly living bush!
Rejoice, O holy mountain!
Rejoice, O sanctified expanse
and most holy Theotokos!” [akatist].

Lord, how I love your law!
It is ever in my mind.

This morning I was thinking of how icons are sometimes embellished with silver and gold, studded with jewels and semi-precious stones.  This passage from the Song of Songs reminded me of why we do that, embellish icons and sacred images ...  It is also in keeping with and not at all unlike the tribute brought by the Magi.

Who is this coming up from the desert,

like columns of smoke

Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,

with all kinds of exotic powders?

See! it is the litter of Solomon ...

Daughters of Jerusalem,
go out

and look upon King Solomon

In the crown with which his mother has crowned him

on the day of his marriage,

on the day of the joy of his heart. - Songs 3

The Song also states: "King Solomon made himself an enclosed litter of wood from Lebanon. He made its columns of silver, its roof of gold, Its seat of purple cloth, its interior lovingly fitted."  Our tabernacles, our sanctuaries are decorated similarly - and every icon, being a kind of little tabernacle and gate of heaven, is likewise lovingly fitted.  

As the temple of Solomon - so is the Torah lovingly fitted today...

Torah case.

Torah crown.

And images of the Theotokos - God Bearing, Mother of God, Ark of the Covenant - are traditionally lovingly fitted:

Sinai-type icon.

Tikhvin Theotokos

Blessed are those called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.  This is in part, the mystery of Epiphany.

It is a marriage feast.

I pray, bring me to your mother's house - and make entirely teachable ...
My lover belongs to me and I to him;
Would that you were a brother to me, 
nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I met you out of doors, I would kiss you ...
and none would despise me.
I would lead you, bring you to my mother’s house,
where you would teach me...
I am the Mother of fair love, of fear, and of holy hope, 
in me is all grace of the way and of the truth
 - in me is all hope of life and of virtue. 

Kazan Theotokos

I was thinking of doing an image of the Theotokos with the Child Jesus - somewhat similar to the Kazan icon.  Since I'm not Orthodox and can't paint a 'real' icon - I would perhaps paint in the icon style with the addition of the Torah - embraced by the Child Jesus.  I'd also like to add elements of Sinai and the Burning Bush, the Ladder of Jacob, and so on.  Embellished to look as if it were jewel encrusted and overlaid with an oklad of gold...

Lord, how I love your law!
It is ever in my mind.

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