Friday, 1 October 2010
Our Lady of Consolation
I did not know anything about the origins of this icon when I first came across a picture of it. After some searching, I discovered the following information in an Orthodox book of saints.
"The Vatopedi "Comfort" or "Consolation" Icon of the Mother of God is in the old Vatopedi monastery on Athos, in the church of the Annunciation. It was called "Vatopedi" because near this monastery Arcadius, the young son of Empreor Theodosius the Great, fell off a ship into the sea, and by the miraculous intercession of the Mother of God he was carried to shore safe and unharmed. He was found sleeping by a bush, not far from the monastery. From this event the name "Vatopedi" ("batos paidion," the bush of the child") is derived. The holy Emperor Theodosius the Great, in gratitude for the miraculous deliverance of his son, embellished and generously endowed the Vatopedi monastery.
On the Vatopedi Icon, the Mother of God is depicted with Her face turned towards Her right shoulder. This is because on January 21, 807 She turned Her face towards the igumen (igumen or hegumen is the title for the head of a monastery, similar to abbot) of the monastery, who was standing near the holy icon, about to hand the keys of the monastery to the porter. A voice came from the icon and warned him not to open the monastery gates, because pirates intended to pillage the monastery. Then the Holy Child placed His hand over His Mother's lips, saying, "Do not watch over this sinful flock, Mother, but let them fall under the sword of the pirates." The Holy Virgin took the hand of Her Son and said again, "Do not open the gates today, but go to the walls and drive off the pirates." The igumen took precautionary measures, and the monastery was saved.
In memory of this miraculous event a perpetual lamp burns in front of the wonderworking icon. Every day a Canon of Supplication is chanted in honor of the icon, and on Fridays the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. On Mt. Athos this icon is called "Paramythia," "Consolation" ("Otrada"), or "Comfort" ("Uteshenie")."
This next icon is another representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is one of several icons I worked on in an effort to create one that pleased me enough to be included in my latest book NOVENA ICONS. This was not the one I finally chose to use; however, if you want to see which one I did use, then you will need to purchase a copy of my book through www.blurb.com/bookstore
Of course, you can also take a look at the preview of the book and you will see the one I chose there!
Recently a high school friend emailed me some photos she had either scanned from the yearbook or had scanned from actual photographs. The first one below is scanned from the yearbook which accounts for its poor reproduction. While the second one was scanned from a photograph.
Seeing this caused me to contemplate on the obvious question: "do I feel like my life has been a success?" My answer would have to be "yes" because of all the wonderful things God has shown me over these past 70 years. I cannot give you Doug's answer as he passed away a few years ago -- I suspect he, too, would have said that his life was successful. As many of us get older, our whole idea of what constitutes success changes radically. It has nothing to do with wealth or possessions, but everything to do with how much wisdom we have gained. As the same time, we realize that we have only begun to learn, to understand, to comprehend -- this is one reason why eternity makes so much sense to me!
This second photo is surprisingly racy for the time in which it was published -- I mean, all that skin showing and the sexy poses -- I am surprised it passed the inspection of the teachers vetting the yearbook process. Anyway, I am not going to tell you which one of these lovelies is Sallie Cosby -- I will let you find me yourself!
Finally tonight I want to show you this funny series of photos showing how cats just move in and take over -- getting what they want. In the first section, the cat spies a spot that looks interesting; in section no. 2, the cat moves in without any resistance; in the third segment, we see the cat has simply positioned himself in such a way that he is comfortable and the poor dog is totally unable to return to her nap. She will either have to sit in this position while the cat takes a nap or else risk listening to the cat complaining mightly should she try to reposition herself before the cat is ready to move on!
I continue to struggle with my various physical ailments, but, thankfully, I am able to get to the gym most days and to daily Mass fairly frequently. As you can see, I continue to do my art work. God is so good to me.
May peace be with you all.