Icons are sacred symbols of faith which reveal God’s presence to us, just as God continues to reveal Himself to us in all of creation. Creation itself is saturated with His presence. It is by this revelation that we become open to His grace and are then able to communicate His grace to others. In the reflection of these sacred symbols our hearts are challenged to become living icons bringing others into the presence of God.
(You can click on any of the icons to see a larger version.)
Our Lady of the Liturgical Life
In this icon of Our Lady of the Liturgical Life, Mary our Queen Mother stands before us with gracious authority, gesturing with a broad sweep of her arm over the vast expanse of the incarnational mystery contained in her maternal heart. Speaking to the hearts of her children, she says: “This is the fruit of my womb. This is the victim Lamb wounded for the sins of the world; look on Him whom you have pierced. See also unveiled before your eyes through the circle of the Sacred Host and around the chalice filled with the Blood of the Lamb, the entire pageant of the liturgy. Here is the Passover of Jesus, the Word made flesh – conception, birth, life, death and resurrection. Even his glorious ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit can be seen. In your communion with my Son at every sacrifice of the Mass, He brings you forth into the new creation.”
Our Sorrowful Mother
From the moment Simeon prophesied that Jesus would be “a sign of contradiction” and that her heart would be “pierced with a sword” (Lk. 2:33-35), Mary pondered the meaning of his words in her heart. In this icon, Mary holds the Child Jesus close to her heart while she looks with deep sorrow toward the cross. Her sorrow was that many of her children would reject this unfathomable gift of his divine mercy. And so, when Jesus was “lifted up,” she united her heart with his in co-redemptive love.
This icon portrays St. Joseph as protector of the Holy Family. We, the Anawim poor, call on him to be our protector as well. The presence of the dark clouds and the angel calls to mind Joseph’s struggle when he learned that Mary was pregnant, and the light he received through the message of an angel (cf. Mt. 1:18-21). In the midst of the darkness that so often clouds our vision on our pilgrimage through life, Joseph shows us the way of obedient faith. He is for us a model of simplicity, humility, and unwavering commitment to God’s holy will, even in the most contradictory circumstances.
St. Joseph holds in his heart a tender concern for our salvation. He watches over us day and night, preserving us from occasions of sin, and obtaining for us purity of soul and body, that we may be united with the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Through his intercession, he shares with us his own burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and his tender love for Mary our mother. Joseph puts us in the care of the angels, especially our own guardian angels. He inspires in us a total trust in God, so that we will not be overcome by any of our doubts, fears, or human limitations. Joseph helps us stand secure in the hope that, in living and in dying, we will attain the fullness of life he enjoys with Jesus and Mary.