Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Holy Windows

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. - Colossians 1:15

I pray with icons. Icons are religious images which are "windows to the divine." What exactly is a window to the divine? It is an image which reveals a transcendent reality, an image in which the subject is portrayed as transformed by grace so that it has an other worldly character. In other words, through the icon in a profound and real way, I come in contact with God and his transforming power which is manifested in the subject of the icon as well as the color scheme.

And so it is with Christ. It is through Christ that we have intimate contact with God. Christ reveals the nature of God through his words and actions, the same words and actions expressed through art in the icons I have. So what about icons of the Mother of God, the Angels and the Saints? Well, they bear witness to Christ and are sanctified by him. Their images therefore reflect the glory of the Lord in the same manner that their lives reflect Christ's glory. And we are called to do the same. We are called to be living icons, living windows to the divine life revealed to us by Christ.

So, why use icons in prayer? It boils down to this: Christ, the image of the invisible God, was the first icon, and since all subsequent icons are manifestations of his glory, we can be transformed by his grace which is an inherent quality of these "windows to the divine."


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