What is the Best Way to Choose an Icon?

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Good Shepherd - J91
Good Shepherd – J91

Icons are not just pictures or art, but have a living spiritual dimension beyond just the material form by which they are seen.  When we look at an icon we are entering in some mysterious way into a relationship with the person or event depicted, and this is a two-way relationship. (F137)  This is a mystery that cannot be fully explained but can be directly felt.



Holy Trinity (Rublev) – F24
Holy Trinity (Rublev) – F24

The world of God and the revelation of Heavenly things is always present since God is always present.  It is not God that is absent, but us.  Through the Church this spiritual world can become open to us when we enter and live in the Church ardently and with love.  It is our cooperation and active participation that can begin to open Heaven to us, even if we have been sinful before like the Good Thief dying next to Christ for his sins (S365), but it is still by God’s grace and love that any good thing can happen.  He is the doer, but we must learn to move with Him and in Him, for in Him we have our being as St. Paul (CS1484) says.  This takes practice and the Church wisely guides those who wish to live a Divine life here through humility and love. Simple words, but hard to lose our false ego to do them.

Most Holy Mother of God - Virgin Mary
Most Holy Mother of God – T61

After coming to a particular holy person or subject of an icon then, the best way to choose one is to notice if you are feeling drawn to any particular image. (S65)  That means that at this time we can have a dynamic interaction with that icon and person or event over a longer period of time.  It is not an intellectual exercise, but deeper than just the rational mind, just like love is more, or respect, or admiration.  Let us choose by being quiet and open to “see” an image, an icon that appeals directly to us.  Blessed picking!