Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Life: The Living Icon

"Every day is a special day, every place is a special place as it is."
-Bernie Glassman

We have this notion that certain things, relics, people, places - are holy. Notre Dame, most would probably agree, is more sacred than the ladies' room of an interstate gas station.


If God is truly omnipresent, then isn't every place, as part of Creation, sacred in some way?

Wasn't God birthed into the world surrounded by dirty, smelly animals in a barn? Isn't that basically the biblical equivalent of a truck stop bathroom? To compare the two seems like borderline sacrilege. But scripture is full of God working in filthy, lowly, unworthy places, and through filthy, lowly, unworthy people. Even a toilet seat bears beneath its white, porcelain exterior the stamp of divine craftsmanship.

Contemplate that.

On the other hand, there exists a paradox. Some places are, in fact, more holy than others, because we, as communities, have channeled divine communion - the loving connection between two or more people - into them, consecrating them as sacred, as special.

When two people fall in love beneath a certain cherry tree, that tree becomes sacred for them. It absorbs and holds and protects the memory of that moment. In turn, it too gives something of itself to that memory.

A long time ago, there was a certain man condemned to die. At his final meal, he told his friends to hold and protect the memory of that moment. And so they did. And it was holy.

So, accept that there are moments of particular holiness, although everything is and has the potential to be holy. It'll drive you nuts.

We place icons of holy moments in our scared spaces, along with images of Jesus and the Saints and martyrs and angels...But when we're out in the world, who are the Saints and martyrs? Who is Jesus? Anyone. Everyone.

What would the world look like if we saw all moments as icons? All people as divine creations?

Every now and then, stop.
Look at your surroundings, the
people around you, and admire the work
of the artist.


eric said...

Just an aside note...the Greek doesn't actually mean anything. It's just there for effect.

Kate said...

Oh, good. I didn't think it had been THAT long since I was an undergrad.