Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of us as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, we must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material world. Because of this truth icons have played a central role in Christian history, for they proclaim Jesus Christ's physical reality as God Incarnate.
Our Lord told his disciples that "he who has seen me, has seen the Father". Icons depicting the Holy Virgin show the Christ Child with bare feet, reminding us that he walked the earth among us. He (the Logos) through Whom all that is was brought into existence, condescended to take on our flesh and walk among us. He joined His divinity to our humanity, that we might become gods.
The Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead in this material world. He broke bread with disciples, ate fish with his friends, and invited His disciple Thomas to feel the wound in his side, after His holy resurrection. Most of the miracles He performed were in the nature of physical healing.
Because of the Incarnation, our use of icons bring our whole nature, body and soul, into the material world. This physical aspect of prayer is what connects us to our true self, composed of body and soul. This is where God reaches down to embrace us.
Icons are wonderful aides in our communion with God because they serve as bridges to Christ and links with the Holy Virgin and the saints. They are by no means the only means , for sitting on the top of a mountain, or walking on the seashore, eyes open, allows us to behold the beauty of God's creation, and His love for us. The icons, like the glory of creation, are windows into eternity, and invite us who live in this material world, into an encounter with God.
Icons are necessary and essential because they protect the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation. While God cannot be represented in His eternal nature ("...no man has seen God", John 1:18), He can be depicted simply because He "became human and took flesh." Of Him who took a material body, material images can be made. In so taking a material body, God proved that matter can be redeemed. He deified matter, making it spirit-bearing, and so if flesh can be a medium for the Spirit, so can wood or paint, although in a different fashion.
- I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation... —St. John of Damascus
With love in Christ,
Tuesday November 19, 2013 / November 6, 2013
22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
St. Paul the Confessor, archbishop of Constantinople (350).
Venerable Barlaam, abbot of Khoutyn (Novgorod) (1192).
New Hieromartyrs Nicitas bishop of Orekhovo-Zuev, Anatoly, Arsenius, Nicholas, Nicholas, Constantine priests, Hieromartyrs Barlaam, Gabriel, Gabriel, Woman Hieromartyrs Nina and Seraphima (1937).
New Martyr Gregory the Cross-bearer (1936).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1938).
St. Elias Fondaminskii of Paris (1942).
Synaxis of the New Martyrs of Sarov: Anatole, Basil, Hierotheus, Isaac, and Rufinus.
Repose of St. Herman, archbishop of Kazan (1567).
Venerable Luke, steward of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerable Barlaam of Keret Lake (16th c.).
Virgin-martyrs Tecusa, Alexandra, Claudia, Matrona, Polactia, Euphrosyne, and Athanasia of Ancyra (303).
Venerable Luke, monk, of Sicily (820).
Venerable Winnocus, abbot (716) (Neth.).
St. Leonard of Noblac (559) (Gaul).
Venerable Illtyd, abbot of Llanilltyd Fawr, disciple of St. Germanus of Auxerre (England) (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Cowey of Portaferry, abbot of Moville (8th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Demetrianus, bishop of Cytheria in Cyprus (915)
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
The Scripture Readings for the Day
Not Carnality but Christ3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
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