I was chrismated on the Vigil of Ss Peter and Paul on June 28. It was the culmination of a long Christian journey that would be too long to tell here, but suffice it to say that the last leg of the road from the Anglican Communion to Eastern Catholicism took about eight years. Maybe one day I will talk about my entire story of coming into full communion with the Bishop of Rome through an Eastern Catholic Church, but this day, as Aragorn tells his troops in the Peter Jackson version of the Return of the King, is not that day. But what I am excited to say is that some of the icons that I received as chrismation gifts are finally getting blessed, which means that this culmination is just the beginning. What happened, of course, is that I got them all as gifts at the (food) reception after my (ecclesial) reception, took them home, and never got around to having them blessed by my priest. I know there’s lots of Byzantine debate about whether you should get your icons blessed and how it’s actually done, but the idea of the icons that I professed at my chrismation ‘are worthy to be owned and honoured’ will be lying on the holy table soaking up the grace during the Divine Liturgy was romantic enough to convince me to give it a go (Hapgood, p. 459). I feel like I’ve come a long way on icons, from thinking that they were nice works of art that some Protestant thought were radical to show in their churches (betraying some of my forays into hipster evangelicalism and Anglicanism) to them becoming quite central to my falling in love with the saints. The fact that it was these three icons that my friends got for me shows me that they both know me more than I thought and that the Holy Spirit indeed works in the church to help us to pray together even when we didn’t know it. In this way, I feel like I’ve come to associate being fully part of the Church as coming to know Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints more fully as persons through the holy icons – or perhaps more precisely, having them gaze at me with the Light that can only be G-d.
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