I would like to share the blessing that I received as the result of visiting a Great Vespers service at St John of Damascus Orthodox Church. Please bear with me while I give a little history.
In childhood, I experienced both a reading disability and a medical handicap. There were deep emotional wounds, which remained in adulthood. Healing is an ongoing process. I was given the gift of faith from as early as I can remember. My life is a running dialogue with the God, which has both blessed me and sustained my life.
Last year our Spirituality class studied icons and then painted one. The icon that I felt led to paint was copying one I found on Skete.com entitled “Christ” Russian of the 16th Century. The words describing the icon are:
“Christ is shown here in a close-up detail from a 16th c. Russian icon. His robe is brilliant white with the brightness and glory of the Holy Resurrection which has just broken over the horizon of the world as He pulls Adam and Eve out of the nether world and into Heaven, as can be seen in the complete icon F53 on the Skete web sight. This detail shows the intent mercy and love of God for us, for the Lord’s Death and Resurrection are not just the cosmic fix of humanity’s existential problems, but the very conscious culmination of the saving work of Christ--to deify and glorify the innate image and likeness of Mankind into the fullness of the Heavenly Man that he was created for, now remade as he was always intended to be.
We can now in truth become far more than Adam’s condition before the Fall, for the Second Adam, Christ our God, has come to refashion the potential godliness of Adam into actual godliness. St. Athanasios the Great says in reference to the purpose of the Incarnation that “God became man so that man could become God”, not by nature, but by adoption. Let us live up to our inheritance with intent Faith and Love, and so be transfigured like Him.”
After the service at St John’s, I remembered the significance of the icon that I painted. I have walked with the holy light of Christ and the meaning of grace and mercy. I knew in my head that God loved me, but looking into the face of Christ in my hand painted icon, I saw Him smile at me. It was as real and tangible as being in St. John’s was. The depth of this encounter has no words. The icon also depicts Christ reaching out to Adam to bring him out of hell and into the kingdom.
All of the above history to say that as I was remembering the icon experience, I saw the young acolyte offering me the blessing of the bread as he reached upward toward me with the communion plate. He is about the same age as when all of my educational and medical problems surfaced. I experienced the little girl within myself offering mercy and unconditional love back to me. I cannot find words to describe the gift of healing that happened. I was overcome with love and awe because of the presence of the Lord.
I have spent most of my adult life working to unite with the wounded child within. This experience is the opposite. The child within was reaching out to the adult and offering mercy. This child was apparently healed, full of forgiveness and acceptance.
The weeks following I would experience the presence of the Lord pass by my soul and bless me with love and awe. These emotions are deeper than words are able to express.
More stories like this one can be read about in my book ”Dream Symbols In Waking Life" which can be viewed and ordered through the website... blurb.com/books/783979. Enjoy.