Prayer and the Image of God retreat
(13-15 Feb 2015)
This weekend we are having a retreat titled “Prayer and the Image of God”. A synonym for image is the word ‘icon’. So it could be called ‘Prayer and the Icon of God’. In the Eastern Church icons are used instead of statues that Christians in the West like to use. Though in the West, their use is becoming more common among Roman Catholics. The theology behind the use of icons is profound and if understood properly can be a powerful aid in prayer. Icons are windows, and when gazing upon them we see into the transcendent world, they become alive in a manner of speaking and can lead to deep prayer and contemplation.
As spiritual growth continues and maturity gained; slowly the realization that all of creation are also windows that can show us deeply God’s presence in the world and the closeness of his presence to us all; the world becomes sacramental.
In prayer, as our relationship with God deepens and trust grows as well, fear is let go of and we become living icons of God in the world. We become channels of his love towards all without exception, even to our enemies; our hearts expand in order to be able to truly experience and understand this reality. The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies us and as we grow in self-knowledge, so does our openness, our availability to be used by God in our lives. It is grace, this expansion of our hearts, all we need do is to be open and to respond to the best of our ability….which is itself a grace.
Then there will come the time when it is understood that we are all called to be a window in which God’s love can be seen and experienced. We allow the Holy Spirit to burn away all that keeps us from becoming truly ‘human’ as Christ Jesus was fully human. Until St. Paul’s saying that “it is not I who live but Christ Jesus who lives in me” becomes a conscious reality.