Blog

Displaying: 11 - 20 of 93

  |  

Show All

  |

Previous 1

[2]

3 4 5 6 Next

Holy World Evangelist Thomas Merton

April 3rd, 2019

Holy World Evangelist Thomas Merton

Holy World Evangelist Thomas Merton
by John D. Dadosky
Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was perhaps
one of the most charismatic and complex
personalities in American Catholicism during
the past century. Since his unexpected death in
1968, his influence has grown increasingly among
Christians and members of other religions.
Recently the one hundredth anniversary of his
birth was celebrated.
Throughout his life, Merton was starved for
the feminine. His mother died when he was
young, and there were few women directly in his
life, especially after he entered the monastery at
age twenty-seven. Five years before he met the
nurse with whom he would have an illicit affair, a
prose poem titled “Hagia Sophia” all but prophesizes
their relationship.
Reflecting on this icon the theologian Christopher
Pramuk states,
It seems to me that Bill’s icon beautifully
reflects Merton’s witness as a marginal person,
standing at the margins, standing on his own
feet. Yet Merton’s gaze, perfectly at home outside
his hermitage, is not that of a rugged loner,
indifferent to his visitor. His gaze welcomes and
invites me in. It is She, Sophia, who welcomes
and invites me in: the divine Wisdom-child, the
Holy Spirit of Life, in flame dancing playfully
over Merton’s head. She and Merton are one,
and we are three, encircling in time and space
like Rublev’s Trinity. I am at peace.3
My oldest sister, Anne Cahill, is a big fan of
Merton and has always felt a special connection
with him. It is a kinship we share, and so I was
delighted when she commissioned this icon
of Merton from Bill. The icon depicts Merton
standing outside of his hermitage in Gethsemane,
Kentucky. He was a pioneer in many ways but
especially in that he was the first one to convince
the Trappist monks in the United States to allow
hermits. The image was inspired by a photograph.
He wears a hat with a coat over his Trappist’s
habit that depicts how he brought his own
uniqueness and creativity to his vocation. The
flame suggests that he was led by the Holy Spirit
and that we have something to learn from his life,
writings, and example.
There is a tendency of scholars and religious
leaders in the West to become preoccupied with
Merton’s personal “failings” as a monk. However,
it is interesting to contrast this with the attitudes
of the Eastern monks, who often intuitively
sensed the depth of his spiritual insight. One of
those monks of great stature and repute, upon
meeting Merton for the first time, referred to him
as a “naturally risen Buddha.

Mother Of God Light In All Darkness

April 3rd, 2019

Mother Of God Light In All Darkness

World AIDS Day 2018
https://www.cdc.gov/features/worldaidsday/
“Mother of God
Light in All Darkness,
shelter Him our flame of hope
with your tender hands.
And in our times of
dread and nightmares,
let Him be our dream of comfort.
And in our times of
physical pain and suffering,
let Him be our healer.
And in our times of separation
from God and one another,
let Him be our communion.
Amen”
Mother Of God Light In All Darkness
In September 1983, I was asked to be the celebrant for the first Mass for people with HIV-AIDS in New York City. Thus, began a ministry at St. Vincent’s Hospice in Manhattan that would last for seven years. I had painted a large image concerning the suffering of people with HIV-AIDS in 1984, called “The Epiphany: Wisemen Bring Gifts To The Child.” As soon as I began working on icons I was commissioned to do this icon and I wrote the accompanying prayer, which has been used by many people, no matter what it is they are suffering from; they feel held by Mother and Child.
– Fr. Bill McNichols

Hebrew Name Of Yahweh-adam Kadmon

April 3rd, 2019

Hebrew Name Of Yahweh-adam Kadmon

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted: he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
We grieve and mourn with all our Jewish sisters and brothers in Pittsburgh and throughout the world, in these days of the most recent murders and ongoing tragedy. As we approach November 2, the day of the Holy Souls , we beg them from their place near God, to intercede for us and give us the Wisdom to end the increasing daily violence due to the blindness of prejudice and bigotry.
The Name of God, Yahweh
“I am that I am”
“The special Name of God that was given to Moses, in vertical arrangement, as the likeness of Adam Kadmon, the primordial (human) man... This figure of the Kavod or Divine Glory... composed of fire is spoken of in Ezekiel as the appearance of a man... the Divine Name as Adam Kadmon.”
– From the book Kabbalah by Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi
Whenever I do a power point presentation I always begin with this powerful image for us to contemplate. For me, it is the burning presence of God inside us all.
– Fr. Bill McNichols

The Passion of Matthew Shepard. June 14, 2016

April 3rd, 2019

The Passion of Matthew Shepard. June 14, 2016

Today October 12th is the 20th Anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. His ashes will be interred in the National Episcopal Cathedral in Washington DC.
The Passion of Matthew Shepard
The entrapment and murder of the 24-year-old gay man, Matthew Shepard, in Laramie, Wyoming on October 7, 1998 truly shocked the world. The Resurrection part of this boy’s brutal beating and crucifixion on a deer fence, is that it brought about a conversation in the minds and hearts of many people who were unaware of the violence and prejudice that most LGBTQ people live with as a part of daily life. October 7 is a feast of Our Blessed Mother. In Catholic symbolism Mary is the Moon, the reflected light of the Son. I placed Mary in the sky when I heard that Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, hoped he did not die alone. This image is dedicated to the memory of the thousands of LGBTQ youth who commit suicide each year and to the countless others who are injured or murdered. Maryknoll Magazine commissioned this image as part of a Lenten issue on contemporary passions of people all over the world.
– Fr. Bill McNichols

St Francis Flowering Wound

April 3rd, 2019

St Francis Flowering Wound

St Francis Flowering Wound
“I’ll hold out my hand and
my heart will be in it ...”
(From the song “For All We Know”
By J. Coots and Sam M. Lewis 1934)
On August 15, 1224, Francis of Assisi traveled some 90 miles north of Assisi to bemoan his sins, and how much he felt his mission with his young order, the Friars Minor... had dramatically failed. The poor man who would not accept any lavish gifts had accepted a mountain, Mt. La Verna, from Count Orlando Chiusi della Verna. So he and Friar Leo slowly made their way up the great mesa, and he instructed Friar Leo to keep watch, as Francis wanted complete privacy to be with his Most High Lord. Somewhere in the middle of September, (the feast of the Stigmata used to be celebrated on September 17, the same day as St Hildegard’s day) St Francis received a vision no one has ever seen before or since. He had asked two graces of Jesus, so he could experience everything possible of what it meant to follow Jesus...literally. (0ften when I introduce the depth of St Francis’ life, I’ll say he was the only true fundamentalist Christian that ever lived) the two final graces he asked for were :
To know and experience the pain of Jesus Crucified and
To know the love of Jesus , and how He could forgive from the horrifying pain of the Cross ?
The answer to his two petitions was the appearance of the Crucified and Seraphic Christ, who left Francis with the five wounds. And so now Francis felt the pain of the Crucifixion and the seraphic love that was “forgiveness incarnate.”
I refer you all to “The Five Considerations On The Stigmata,” said to be one of the most beautiful writings in all of Italian literature. It is available on the internet. I know when you read it you’ll see why it has kept this reputation for centuries. The image I’m presenting for Francis’ feast was originally a drawing for a flyer advertising a play about the Stigmata around 1984. This play was put together by Roberta Nobleman and I can still see a woman named Dolly, who played the Seraphic Christ, as she gently flew across the stage towards Francis with loving intention in her eyes.
The image is simply Francis’ hand with the wound flowering. The flower signifies how Francis’ blood healed
many sick animals and people during the last two years of his life; he died at sunset on October 3, 1226. Wounds can make us either bitter or compassionate. It takes a long time to grow from bitter to compassionate , but we have so many living examples of women and men who have managed this task. We all have people we admire who have shared with us their lives of continual growth. I wonder, especially today in these tragically divided times if I, if you, if all of us can begin to learn to use our wounds to heal one another?
“Dear Lord Our God,
You renewed the marks of the suffering of your Son in the body of our holy Father Francis in order to inflame our hearts with the fire of your love. Teach us always to glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen “
Sunset: October 3, 2018
Fr Bill McNichols

St. Michael of the Apocalypse

April 3rd, 2019

St. Michael of the Apocalypse

St. Michael of the Apocalypse
For the Feast of the Archangels 29 September
***On 20 September the 100th Anniversary of the Stigmata of St. Padre Pio 1918-2018
“St Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the power of God,
Thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
Who prowl about the world seeking the ruin
of souls.
Amen
After seeing a terrifying vision Pope Leo XXIII wrote this prayer we used to say at the end of every Mass. You can invoke St Michael every day with this powerful prayer.
St John Bosco also had a vision that in the End Times there would be two things left for the survival of Christians; the Eucharist and the Rosary. St Francis would prepare for his favorite saint’s feastday for 40 days, calling it St Michael’s Lent, from August 15-September 29. It was in the middle of that “Lent” in 1224, on Mt La Verna, that he received a vision of the Seraphic Christ and was the first human being to be wounded with the Stigmata. Since that time St Padre Pio received the Wounds on September 20, 1918. It has been mostly women, in the history of Christianity, who have been given the Wounds and have become “another Christ.”
One of the most beautiful pieces of writing ever written in Italian literature is the anonymous work concerning St Francis:
“The Five Considerations On The Stigmata.”
This is a rendition of a Russian icon of St Michael, afire in red and riding his red horse announcing the end of the world, with a cloud for his stirrup. Now begins the final thrusting into hell of Satan with the iron rod (mentioned in Revelation 2:27) of the Cross. He blows his trumpet, and swings his censor full of incense. He holds the Gospel book and a rainbow arches above, going from hand-to-the-hand holding the Holy Gospel.
The Chris Emmanuel sits before an Altar of Preparation,(preparation for what is to come...)with the Gospel book and a Cross. As in the Apocalypse (Revelation) on the right side, the Moon turns blood red.
When I first saw this icon I was dazzled by the masterful beauty of the original, the movement and fierce confidence of the Heavenly Prince, the absolutely gorgeous colors and....... the long awaited message or teaching of the icon, of God’s promise of the defeat of Satan and the arrival of the Kingdom of God.
I can suggest 5 books if you are looking for commentaries on the Book of Revelation, (my personal favorite first...)
*The Revelation of St John the Divine (meaning Theologian)
By G.B. Caird
*The Nightmare of God
By Daniel Berrigan, SJ
* Beside the Sea of Glass
By Daniel Berrigan, SJ
* Revelation: 22 Studies For Individuals And Groups
By N.T. Wright
* Surprised By Scripture
By N.T. Wright
This icon was commissioned by the Church of St Michael in Socorro, New Mexico.
September 2018

The Bride - The Church

September 9th, 2018

The Bride - The Church

“The Bride : The Church”
At the heart of most of the recent Marian apparitions is the prophecy that the Church will undergo death and resurrection to be conformed to the Lamb of God. This past August a staggering new pageant of victims of violent abuse came forward as the Retinue of the Lamb. New Mexico had gone through this same horror in the early 1990’s, before most every other diocese. During that time I had to find an image of the Church that has always existed and will always exist . I turned to Cardinal Henri de Lubac, SJ’s written masterpiece “The Splendor of the Church” ( which he wrote while being silenced by the Church) in which he identifies the image of the Bride as eternal, coming originally from the Letter to the Ephesians by St Paul, as well as the Hebrew Bible’s beautiful marriage symbolism with God.
In my image of the Bride are representations of the Trinity. The Bride is always young moving toward Jesus Christ, her Groom, through two thousand years of the existence of the Church. She is pregnant with the ever-new members of the Church to be born until the return of Christ the King. On all sides she is threatened by violence from within the Church and without. But, the protective Radiance of the Trinity surrounds her, and she cannot be touched or harmed. This is the only image of the Church ( as well as the millions of loving Christians that still love her in their frailty too ) that gives me comfort in our very vulnerable and fragile world. I hope you will find some loving icons of guides in this exhibit , none who are perfect, but still (while they were on this earth) moving forward towards the Groom, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr Bill McNichols
For the Exhibit in Denver 20 September 2018 “Light In All Darkness”

St Tarcisius of Rome

September 9th, 2018

St Tarcisius of Rome

St Tarcisius of Rome

The Invisible Companion
(Patron of Children who are bullied)
“The philosophers and the orators have fallen into oblivion; the masses do not even know the names of the emperors and their generals; but everyone knows the names of the martyrs, better than those of their most intimate friends.”
It is in these terms that Theodoret bishop of Cyrrhus sought to convey the extent of the triumph of Christianity: by the mid-fifth century, the cult of the saints had ringed the populations of the Mediterranean with intimate invisible friends. ‘The invisible friend’ - the ‘intimate friend’ - these are terms on which Theodoret and his contemporaries dwelt lovingly in relation to the saints. What we shall follow in this chapter is the manner in which new invisible companions came to crowd in around the men and women of late antiquity and the early middle ages. In so doing, we shall touch upon the subtle transformation of immemorial beliefs that was involved when Mediterranean men and women, from the late fourth century onwards, turned with increasing explicitness for friendship, inspiration and protection in this life and beyond the grave, to invisible beings who were fellow humans and whom they could invest with precise and palpable features of beloved and powerful figures in their own society.
From The Cult of the Saints : It’s Rise and Function in Latin Christianity
By Peter Brown
The legend of St Tarcisius of Rome is one of the most memorable of the early child martyrs and we would probably know him a lot better if his feast did not fall on the Assumption of the Mother of God, August 15th. Tarcisius was a young boy thought to be anywhere from the age of 10-14 years old, who lived in the third century during the persecutions of Emperor Valerian. Because the early Christians were forced to hide in the Roman catacombs, and have their services beneath the ground, someone, usually a Deacon would be required to take the Eucharist from Mass and carry it to the Christians in prison. One day, for whatever reason, a Deacon was unavailable and so little Tarcisius was asked to carry the Eucharist to the prisoners. While he was on his way a group of Roman boys grew curious about what the child was carrying. They stopped him and demanded to see what he held so close to himself. Tarcisius refused to let the bullies touch the Eucharist and they began to beat him until he fell face down, protecting the Eucharist, and was ultimately beaten to death. A Roman soldier is said to have stopped the boys, who ran off and then he carried Tarcisius away, the child still holding tight to his Lord. For this reason he is a patron of altar servers and children who today, more than ever, experience bullying.
There is a novel called “Fabiola : The Church of the Catacombs” written by Cardinal Wiseman in 1854, which makes use of actual young martyrs as characters, like Sts. Agnes, Emmerentiana, Sebastian and Pancratius. This novel greatly influenced my childhood, and introduced me to these young people who were so extraordinarily courageous. The model for this icon is Calvin Rupoli, my greatnephew who is now 11 years old.
We all have and hold Christ inside our hearts and souls . St Tarcisius help us to hold Him close during these dark times and let His light shine out with great brilliance and courage from us all.
Amen
Fr Bill McNichols
15 August 2018

St Vasily the Holy Fool of Moscow

August 10th, 2018

St Vasily the Holy Fool of Moscow

St Vasily the Holy Fool of Moscow
“If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool.”
1 Corinthians 3:18

St Vasily, the Russian Orthodox saint, is also known as ‘yurodivy’ or holy fool for Christ.
He was born of serfs in a village near Moscow in December 1468. Legends say he was born on the portico of the local church. As a young apprentice shoemaker, he became incensed at the Russian government’s carelessness and disregard, especially towards the poor and sick. He was known for mocking the Tsar, then Ivan the Terrible to provoke change and ran naked through Moscow’s snow filled streets, weighed down with chains.
The Tsar and high-ranking government officials tried to cajole Vasily with gifts, to silence him,but he gave everything away to those in need. He was clairvoyant and often warned people of their future tragedies, to beg them to become humble before God. Upon his death, August 2 1557, the humiliated Ivan the Terrible served as his pall bearer and then commissioned the magnificent church of St Vasily (St Basil) in Red Square, the Church that you see almost every night on the news, with the glorious multi-colored domes of the Holy Spirit’s tongues of flame, that we call “onion domes.”
I suppose that the closest thing we have to Holy Fools in the western church would be St Francis of Assisi and especially his most memorable foolish Friars, Brother Juniper and Brother John the Simple, or St Benedict Joseph Labre.
Troparion for the feast of St Vasily the Holy Fool of Moscow:
“Your life, O Basil (Vasily) was true and your chastity undefiled/ In fasting, vigilance and exposure to heat and frost/You subdued your flesh for the sake of Christ/ Therefore your countenance shone with the brilliance of the sun./Today the faithful glorify your Holy falling-asleep./ Implore Christ to deliver us from all bondage, dissension and war./ And to grant mercy to our souls.
Amen
Fr Bill McNichols
August 2018

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

August 10th, 2018

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

A blessed feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel to all the Carmelites including the Third Order Carmelites. This order according to an ancient tradition was inspired by Holy Prophet Elijah, and has for centuries, given us such great saints as Simon Stock,Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Edith Stein, Titus Brandsma, to name just a few...
Our Lady of Mt Carmel pray for us!

 

Displaying: 11 - 20 of 93

  |  

Show All

  |

Previous 1

[2]

3 4 5 6 Next