Call To Holiness welcomes guest blogger Ann Chapin. Ann is a talented artist who has painted many icon tapestries for my home parish at Church of the Incarnation.
Gazing: Finding an image that speaks to you… (by Ann Chapin)
St. Teresa of Avila and other Contemplatives have commented at various times in their writings how prayer is in some fundamental sense responding to Christ who is looking at us by us standing in the presence of God and looking back. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do, nor immediately obvious what that ‘looking back’ is supposed to involve concretely. However, one thing St. Teresa does say is to find an image of Christ that moves you, that enables you to connect with him, and don’t be influenced by any of the fads of the culture at the moment.
So, what that means in this day is that you can go to the internet to any search engine that supports image searches, and search for things like “Face of Christ” or “Face of Jesus” or something like that and scan through them till you find one that speaks to you, that makes Christ present. I’ve painted several versions of the face of Christ, but you may like none of them and that’s fine. If your tradition doesn’t use icons, but an old Russian or Greek icon speaks to you, use that. And here’s a good use for your smart phone or tablet: use it as a portable icon. Put the image that makes Christ present to you on it, and then you have it with you wherever you are, so that even if all you want to do is recollect yourself in the midst of chaos, there He is. If you want to review the ones I’ve done, they are here at this site.
Note: Ann Chapin’s artwork are copywrite material (reuse with permission only)