He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus

Friday, December 23, 2016

Praying with Icons: The Eternal Bloom

In the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
bloomed and bore fruit, taken by Eve at the serpent's soft urging.
"Take and eat," the serpent said, and she gave it to her husband,
both of them eating unto their own deaths against His command.

In the stable in Bethlehem, Mary was in full bloom; she bore a
son, the firstborn of the font of all life, seed of the Holy Spirit.
"Be not afraid," an angel had said to Mary, and later in a dream
to Joseph; they obeyed the Lord's life-giving command to them.

She is the Eternal Bloom which bore the Eternal One, the fruit of
Mary's womb, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who has mercy on us.
Just as the Eternal Son is the unfading firstfruit who lives forever,
His Mother is the unfading bloom who lives forever through Him.

Mother of God, pray for us sinners, that we might take and eat of
the flesh of the Lamb, the Vine from which the fruit of life grows.
O sweet Virgin Mary, we long to see the life-giving Son you bore,
and we seek to obey His commandments because we so love Him.

Note:  The above is a picture I took of a Russian icon depicting Mary the Unfading Bloom (also known as Mary the Eternal Bloom).

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