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For the Feast of the Epiphany Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

April 3rd, 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany  Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

For the Feast of the Epiphany
Christ Emmanuel : Cordero de Dios
(After the Russian Master, Simon Fyodororvich Ushakov : 1626-1686)
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...”
Mark 4:11
Transformation
I’ve taken long walks
craving one thing only:
lightening,
transformation,
you.
Adam Zagajewski
“O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes are open.
O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes can see...”
John Lennon
“The image of the master: one glimpse and we are in love “
Zen Poet Ikkyu 1394-1481
“God does not know how to be absent. That is to say, it would go against God’s nature to come and go. But we can be ignorant of this intimate presence and build a life-style that maintains this ignorance. St Augustine provides a hint as to why we experience as absent what is actually intimately present. As we have often heard this monk-bishop put it, ‘You are closer to me than I am to myself. ‘ God is too close to us for our eyes to notice. The problem is not that God is absent but that God is so intimately present...”
Martin Laird, OSA from the book
An Ocean of Light
“In you we live and move and have our being.
Everyday we experience the effects of your love...”
Sunday Preface #6

For the Feast of the Epiphany Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

April 3rd, 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany  Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

For the Feast of the Epiphany
Christ Emmanuel : Cordero de Dios
(After the Russian Master, Simon Fyodororvich Ushakov : 1626-1686)
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...”
Mark 4:11
Transformation
I’ve taken long walks
craving one thing only:
lightening,
transformation,
you.
Adam Zagajewski
“O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes are open.
O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes can see...”
John Lennon
“The image of the master: one glimpse and we are in love “
Zen Poet Ikkyu 1394-1481
“God does not know how to be absent. That is to say, it would go against God’s nature to come and go. But we can be ignorant of this intimate presence and build a life-style that maintains this ignorance. St Augustine provides a hint as to why we experience as absent what is actually intimately present. As we have often heard this monk-bishop put it, ‘You are closer to me than I am to myself. ‘ God is too close to us for our eyes to notice. The problem is not that God is absent but that God is so intimately present...”
Martin Laird, OSA from the book
An Ocean of Light
“In you we live and move and have our being.
Everyday we experience the effects of your love...”
Sunday Preface #6

The Holy Family

April 3rd, 2019

The Holy Family

The Holy Family
from "Image to Insight" book
by John D. Dadosky
This icon was commissioned by the Holy
Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation
(Washington, D.C.) for the hospital by the
same name in Bethlehem, Israel, funded by the
Knights of Malta. As of this writing, their website
purports to have delivered sixty thousand
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian babies since 1990.
The hospital does not refuse patients and particularly
serves the Palestinian refugee community.
Patients pay only what they can afford. Located
near the place where Christians believe that Jesus
was born, the hospital embodies a sign of hope,
commemorating not only hope for new life in the
birth of a child but for the peace that is the fruit
of Christ’s reign—a peace for all peoples, especially
between the three religions that share the
same sacred geography.
Much of the inspiration concerning this icon
surrounds the figure of St. Joseph. Leading up
to its creation, Bill had been reading the eighteenth-
century mystic Maria Baij’s Life of St.
Joseph as well as a spiritual reflection titled Joseph:
The Shadow of the Father by the former chaplain of
Lourdes, Fr. Andrew Doze.
Private revelations in the Church do not have
an official status; any authority they have is mystical
and personal rather than doctrinal. However,
in Baij’s account, Bill found a welcome humanization
of Joseph, a saint we know relatively little
about. Her mystical account of his life makes it
easy to identify with him, as when she states, “It
was permitted by God that Joseph have this anxious
feeling constantly present within his heart.
Joseph accepted it with resignation and never
appeared outwardly to be restless or disturbed.”1
This passage reflects St. Joseph’s sense of responsibility
and his human insecurities at the responsibilities
that he was given.
Bill became further enthralled with the spirituality
of St. Joseph when he read the spiritual
theology Joseph: Shadow of the Father. Therein
Doze describes his unique vocation as follows:
Joseph disappears at the same time as Mary
and Jesus or, rather, Jesus and Mary disappear
thanks to him. He keeps in the background
and conceals at the same time. He is hidden
and he hides. His name is the present participle
of the Hebrew verb meaning “to increase”
and “to cut off.” Jesus will “increase” in
Joseph’s safe keeping, he will increase astonishingly
. . . meaning “to increase,” “to cause
to grow.” But truly, what first strikes us about
Joseph is a certain way of “cutting back,” of
taking away. He takes away the Incarnation
from our view. Bossuet expressed this magnificently:
“The apostles are lights to show Jesus
Christ to the world; Joseph is a veil to cover
him and, behind this veil, are hidden Mary’s
virginity and the greatness of the Saviour of
souls.”
To hide, to cover, to take away, by removing
this child entrusted to him by the Father
from a hostile or immature world; that is the
first strong impression the gospel makes on us
when we are searching for Joseph there.
Image to Insight book available at Tattered Cover in Denver and Amazon online.

Christmas card illustration 1987

April 3rd, 2019

Christmas card illustration 1987

Down in Yon Forrest ( An ancient Carol as sung by Joan Baez)
Christmas card illustration 1987
Down in yon forest there's stands a hall
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
It's covered all over with purple and pall
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
In that hall there stands a bed
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
It's covered all over with scarlet so red
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
At the bed side there lies a stone
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
The sweet virgin Mary knelt upon
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
Under that bed there runs a flood
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
The one half runs water
An other runs blood
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
At the bed's foot there grows a thorn
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
Whichever blows blossoms since He was born
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
Over that bed the moon shines bright
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
Denoting our Saviour was born this night
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven

April 3rd, 2019

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven
from "Image to Insight book" by John D. Dadosky
In the winter of 1991, Bill’s work on an icon
titled Christ Emmanuel was interrupted by his
first and perhaps most important commission
by Cardinal Stafford of Denver. Stafford wanted
to honor the theme of John Paul II’s papacy of
the New Advent, which the pope pronounced in
his first encyclical Redemptoris Hominis (1979) in
advance of the new millennium. The pontiff concludes
the encyclical with the following words:
Only prayer can prevent all these great succeeding
tasks and difficulties from becoming
a source of crisis and make them instead the
occasion and, as it were, the foundation for
ever more mature achievements on the People
of God’s march towards the Promised Land
in this stage of history approaching the end of
the second millennium. Accordingly, as I end
this meditation with a warm and humble call
to prayer, I wish the Church to devote herself
to this prayer, together with Mary the Mother
of Jesus, as the Apostles and disciples of the
Lord did in the Upper Room in Jerusalem
after his Ascension. Above all, I implore Mary,
the heavenly Mother of the Church, to be so good
as to devote herself to this prayer of humanity’s
new Advent, together with us who make up the
Church, that is to say the Mystical Body of her
Only Son. [Emphasis added.]
Bill presented three images of Our Lady of
the Sign to Stafford to consider as copies for
the Lady of the New Advent. Stafford chose the
nineteenth-century icon of Our Lady of the Sign
to be the model. Bill chose the face of Virgin
Orans, based on a thirteenth-century icon, Virgin
Blachermittissa, currently in the Tretyakov gallery
in Moscow. He placed the boy Jesus in the oval
mandorla. Jesus holds the Colorado state flower,
the columbine. Behind the two figures are the
Rocky Mountains. The dark hair and skin on the
Jesus figure provides a more inculturated image,
reflective of many residents and immigrants in
the western United States.
The theology of the New Advent is encapsulated
in the following prayer, which makes up an
additional verse for the advent hymn “I Wonder
as I Wander”:
When the Angel appeared to the Virgin in
wait,
Her “Yes” was the opening of Heaven’s gate.
Blessed among women her child would save,
The children of Adam from sin and the grave.3
In the nineteenth-century icon, from which
this icon takes some of its inspiration, Mary’s
cuffs are gold. These reflect the liturgical vestments
of the Orthodox church when celebrating
the Eucharist. The color of her robe is purple,
which is the ecclesiastical color for the season of
Advent.
This image is part of an exhibit in Denver at The McNichols Civic Center Building through Jan 6
to buy catalog from exhibit go to:
http://www.lulu.com/…/light…/paperback/product-23861739.html
to purchase Image to Insight book got to:
https://www.amazon.com/Image-Insight-William-H…/…/0826359132

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

 

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