Last Friday morning, through the kindness of my friend Maura Linnane, I got to Glenstal Abbey. I had wanted to see the Icon Chapel there since I had been made aware of it though prayer and the Abbot Mark Patrick. I wanted to see the Healing Icon there.
In the crypt of the Church is to be found a collection of Russian Orthodox Icons. Icon is the Greek word for image. There is a whole history attached to them. We know more about statues here in Ireland. An icon is usually a representation of Jesus or Mary. It can bring us into an awareness of the Divine. It’s a meeting point. It’s not just a sign post, it can put me in touch with what can awaken and transform inside of me.
The Sacred Space in the crypt in Glenstal is full of symbolism. Brosna man, James Scanlon, did the stained glass overhead showing the four gospel writers.
The words of the psalms struck me as I looked at the icon, let your face shed it’s light on me, I thought. The healing Christ isn’t very attractive when I look on it first but maybe that’s my point of entry. God became one of us in Jesus but not in the ways we imagine or are drawn to often. There is suffering in this face of Jesus but something else is shining through his eyes. There I see compassion, mercy and love. And it is the eyes that bring me into the heart space.
May a ray of uncreated light,
God’s transfigured grace
Shine in the darkness of my heart.