NOW IN THE TIME when the forest ferns are spent, the garden and tree leaves are mottled, faded and insect-chewed, we look for the last rose of summer. And security and peace withers and the world feels menacing for many. I'd suggest that only spiritual things are lasting and sure. And then I remembered this lovely icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God) Unfading Flower. Sometimes she is called Unfading Bloom or Unwithering Flower.
She reposes in a living aureol of light, fruit and flowers, inviting us to stop, simply to look, to gaze, to consider. There are little open scrolls on either side of the icon's lower border. Perhaps the artist has printed the icon's story there. But we might also imagine they contain her words of encouragement, her promises, her instruction. And then, out of silence, we can pray:
Having entered the season of decay and fading light,
and learning of my planet's joy-stealing troubles,
I turn to you, Unfading Flower,
in a heavenly egg of
hands overflowing with
and the Child who calls himself, Life.
Father Stephen P. Morris