Friday, 13 July 2012

Icons Illustrating Scripture

Icon, Saints Martha and Mary speaking with Christ Jesus, by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
Today I want to show you some "icons" that are of a somewhat different class than my usual drawings.  While these icons depict an actual Scriptural event as most icons do, they were, for the most part, drawn quickly and for some purpose other than as an outward expression of inner grace.

For example, the drawing above of the scene with Mary, Martha and Jesus, depicts the events found in Luke 10: 38ff.  This drawing was done quickly as I wanted to have this particular illustration to use as part of a poster I had been asked to create.  So, I did not approach the art work as I usually approach the drawing of an icon -- a process which normally includes some reflection and prayer before even beginning.  Still, it is drawn in the style of an icon and is also something I wanted to include among all those completed drawings I file under the heading: "Sallies Art".

I will also be designing a holy card using this image with perhaps the passage from Luke 10 on the reverse side.  This will be given away to the participants in the retreat which will be focusing on this event in the life of Our Lord and His relationship with Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus.

Icon, The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness, by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

This drawing was done as I kept considering how on earth I could depict the events found in the synoptic Gospels of Jesus, after his baptism by John in the Jordan and spending 40 days fasting in the desert, was tempted by Satan.  The Father of Lies offered Our Lord the world with all its wealth and power -- all he asked was that Jesus fall down and worship him.  So what you are seeing here is the result of my attempt to show something of this battle.  The drawing was done simply in an effort to experiment with trying to depict Satan and to show how our Lord was "tempted like us in all things, but without sin".  Consider this drawing to be an experiment in progress!

Icon, Jesus speaking with the woman at the well, by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

This icon started out as one of my regular icons.  The original drawing was done back in 2011, I believe.  The version with the text (shown above) and depicting the events in the the Gospel of St. John, 4th chapter, was created earlier this year.  Once again I was commissioned to do a poster for an event that was focusing on this Bible passage.  I looked up the file for this icon I had done the year previously and incorporated it into the poster.  I was also asked to make a holy card using this design to be handed out to the guests at this event.

Icon, Peter attempts to walk to Jesus on the water, by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

The above icon was drawn (written) as a true icon which includes prayer and reflection.  I actually posted it at the bottom of a recent entry, but I know how often these items added on at the bottom of a posting fail to really be noticed.
Of course, with the bright colours I used in this icon, I think it would be difficult to miss!  This event in the life of our Lord is described in St. Matthew's Gospel, 14:22ff.  It was such a blessing for me to work on this icon as I have always loved this story about St. Peter trying to walk on water.  I am so fond of it because I, too, need to be constantly reminded that when I take my eyes off the Lord, I always start to sink!  There is an old Protestant hymn that speaks to this story in the chorus which goes:  "I was sinking... Then the Master of the Sea, heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me now safe am I.  Love lifted me, Love lifted me, when nothing else could help, Love lifted me."

Icon, Peter being given a second chance after his denial of Jesus,
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010
Finally, there is the drawing I did back in 2010 (I think) depicting the post-Resurrection scene found in St. John 21:15ff.  Here Jesus gives St. Peter the opportunity to fully express his contrition because of the three times he had denied Jesus on the night of His arrest.  Jesus asks St. Peter three times a variation of the question:  "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"  This three-fold question is also one of the bases for recognizing that Christ Jesus publicly made it clear that He has put St. Peter in charge of His Church -- the Church which He came to establish by His life, suffering, death and resurrection so that all people might become healthy, life-giving members of His Body.  Today St. Peter continues in that role in the person of Pope Benedict XVI -- our wonderful Pontiff.



I had an email this week from my friend, Kathy, in Texas.  She attached a new brochure she has developed for their Lectio Divina web site down there -- this is where they sell the booklets using my icons which I have shown you previously.  See:
This leaflet will be very useful for using as a handout in a parish where they want to start having Lectio Divina on a regular basis as our Cardinal has done here in Toronto at the Cathedral.

Kathy sent me a copy not only because it is such a good handout but also because it uses one of my icons which I posted last year -- the post-Resurrection icon of the breaking of bread in Emmaus.  I must say that I am really impressed with Kathy's work.  Here, take a look at the outside of the leaflet and you will see what I mean.

Outside of brochure showing the icon "Road to Emmaus", written by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

Here is the beginning of the text of the brochure -- I did not show the entire thing in order to protect Kathy's copyright -- as you can imagine, the rest of the text gives the beginner a good idea of what Lectio Divina is all about and how it works for the individual.

Now, from the sublime, so to speak, to the ridiculous -- here is a silly cartoon that I received this week and which I thoroughly enjoyed.  As a person who usually eats chicken when I want some meat protein, I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw what the cows are up to.  I also mused over what the chickens might do in response!



 Today I want to talk a bit about Suki's nice qualities.  (yes, she does have some!)
Suki also loves to sleep
this way occasionally!
In the evenings, when I am watching TV for a while and relaxing in my recliner, Suki will suddenly awaken from somewhere in the apartment.  As soon as she is awake, she begins to meow, rather loudly.  This meowing continues non-stop until she finds me.  As soon as she discovers me sitting comfortably, she jumps up onto my lap.

At this point I am supposed to gently pick her up and place her on her back in the crook of my left arm.  The next thing I am supposed to do is gently massage the pads of her front paws.  This seems to make her very drowsy plus she seems to genuinely enjoy the sensation. 

As I continue to massage, Suki snuggles down into the crook of my arm and drifts off to sleep.  As I watch her allowing herself to fall asleep, I, too, start to become very sleepy.  As any of you know who enjoy cats, watching a cat fall asleep is almost hypnotic in that you, the "watcher", also want to fall asleep. 

Usually, within a very short time, I am also asleep (so much for the one show I planned to watch!).  We sleep this way until something disturbs us.  Occasionally the telephone will ring, waking us both up.  At other times, Suki gets restless after a while and decides to move which awakens me, of course. 

When I look at the clock, I normally find that an hour, or even two, have passed.  I can't complain about the missed TV show or the chores that did not get done because this sleep with Suki has got to be some of the most restful sleep I experience these days.  I find myself feeling kind and loving towards her for such a lovely gift -- that is until I hear her attempting to get in the hallway closet again!  Then, we are right back to our usual aggravating friendship!  There is nothing like having a cat who is smart enough to know exactly how to push your buttons!

Other than having my buttons pushed by Suki, I am doing reasonably well.  I have spent a lot of time at home this week due to the hot weather although I did get out with friends on a couple of days.  It is so great to live in a neighbourhood that has all the conveniences I need plus lots of nice places to meet for coffee and for lunch with friends.

I have made it to the gym most days this week and continue to enjoy my workouts and the kind people who work there.  Everyone is so kind to me.  During the past seven days, one of the employees told me all about his marriage plans and I was also shown a baby picture (an ultrasound --3 months in the womb) by a very excited father.  I am also very pleased to almost be back to the top of level 3 on the recumbent bike.  Soon I will move on to level 4 as I work my way back up to level 6 which is where I was when I had that last bad fall in December, 2011 and stopped going to the gym for 6 months.

No new medical problems that I am aware of.  I truly hope and pray that things stay that way.  It would be nice to get through the rest of the summer while feeling not too bad.  The predictions are that it will continue to be really hot, but so long as the power grid holds out ... it is wonderful to have a/c, but we have to watch our power consumption to avoid those unpleasant brown-outs.  Anyway, whatever you do, stay as cool as possible and if you have air conditioning, be very grateful!

Now, I ask for the intercession of all the saints in the icons shown today:  St. Peter, St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Photina (supposedly the name of the woman at the well in John 4), please pray for us.  I especially ask for St. Peter's intercession for our Holy Father, the Pope.

May the grace of God fill our hearts with His love, joy and peace, today and always.  Amen.

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