Our son Ron works in the film industry because he really, really loves film. Only occasionally do I venture into a movie theater. When I do get around to the “Mom, you should watch this” movies, he will ask me if I caught such and such. Usually I have not. Now understand, he has probably watched the film multiple times. I mean, seriously watched it. On the other hand, I sit in front of the TV with my fingers (and eyes!) entangled in the knitting project in my lap, glancing up only when it sounds like something important is happening.
I bring this situation to the table to say some things about “praying” with icons.
Nowadays, colorful images are everywhere and flip past us at a phenomenal rate such that they become mere background “noise.” One of the rare times we scrutenize an image is during the “instant replay” of a hotly contested moment in a sports event.
Old-school icons are considered “The Gospel in Line and Color.” Back in the day, people who could not read text could read the images, recall the stories, contemplate the various symbols, and consider how the message of the image mattered to them. They could burn the image into their brain and have it available for instant replay when needed.
The question: How often have you sat still and simply looked at one static image for an extended period of time? What about gazing long enough to notice little things and allow connections to form between what is in the image with what is out in the world or in your soul?
In my own practice, I might even begin an internal dialogue with the saint before me, letting her words, or silence, instruct me.
Each day when beginning to paint, I just sit with the image in its current state and let it speak to me.
Gold sandals were not in the original plan. John, the Panhandler saw them in an alley, liked them, and put them on. They likely had belonged to a hooker. He thought he would spend the day walking in her shoes. And praying for her.