“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
The Passion of Jesus recalls the last days of Jesus’s earthly mission and his death on the Cross. Indeed, some scholars and theologians have surmised that the early Gospel books themselves are introductions, preludes as it were, to the Passion story.
This weekend throughout the Eastern Orthodox world we remember St. Mary of Egypt. She is revered for her great life.
On Gregorian calendar Good Friday this year, our blogger and board member Judith was invited to give a talk at a friend’s church about the second of the “Seven Last Words of Jesus. The icon you see here that she refers to is Ethiopian, from the Alamy collection.
Seven last words: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
I’d like to begin this meditation showing an icon from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Seeing this icon from Ethiopia, we affirm the ancient Christian religion, birthed and shaped in Africa. It gives us time to rest a while with the sacredness and emotions of the Crucifixion.
This is what happens when you let women read the Bible. Because of COVID, I spent this year’s Advent in isolation with my family, which offered me time to read the Infancy Narratives, the Old Testament foretelling of the Messiah, and the Compline and Matin texts for each day. And this time I thought a lot about Mary. This icon from St Catherine’s monastery was a focal point for my prayers and meditations. There she is centered in each panel, her head tilted, looking into the middle distance, with the traditional iconic expression of calmness, a stoic timelessness. She must have been overwhelmed, I thought.
The first post in this two-part blog considered Joachim and Anna's sacrifice of their daughter to the Temple and how it was women's veneration that turned its commemoration into a feast day. Here is the second part of that meditation.
Mother Christophora of the Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, celebrated her 25th anniversary as abbess in 2012. She shared her reflections on influences that drew her to the monastic life, among other thoughts, in a wide-ranging interview with Valerie Zahirsky on the monastery's website. Because I read it so close to Thanksgiving, it struck me how important it was that one of the strongest influences had to do with the giving of time, talent, and treasure in the living out of one's Christianity.