Behold the Beauty of Prayer

My focus this Lenten season is the study of prayer. rublev_trinity-1At this halfway mark, I have added another element to my studies: Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons, by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

This small volume presents four icons for contemplation: The Holy Trinity (shown left), the Virgin of Vladimir, the Savior of Zvenigorod and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. I plan to spend 5 days with each of the four icons and their corresponding chapters in Nouwen’s book.

This first icon, says Nouwen, invites us to “dwell in the house of love,” to choose to make it our home while remaining “fully engaged in the struggles of our hate-and-fear-filled world.”

“To live in the world without belonging to the world. . .aware that our true house is not the house of fear, in which the powers of hatred and violence rule, but the house of love, where God resides.” -Nouwen

Easier said than done, of course, but even if we are only able to have that goal (to be in the world and not of the world) and are not able to attain it quite yet, then we are well on our way down the path to the House of Love.

I often find myself in a mindset where I am so worried about whether I am doing something right that I forget to experience what is. There is joy in the journey, as they say.

“How we Christians fear straying from the correct path! In our concern to do it right, we have forgotten how to respond spontaneously to an encounter with the Divine.” -Brother Robert Lenz, O.F.M., Iconographer, from the forward to Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons

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~ by Kimberly Mason on March 18, 2009.

2 Responses to “Behold the Beauty of Prayer”

  1. I love that quotation from the introduction; so true!

    Hugs for a great, prayer-filled day, you icon-creator, you!
    D

  2. Like,merci

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