Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mother of God Intercessor ~ and the Sunday Prayers



This gold and blue mosaic, created in the year 1000, is titled Virgin Orans and is found in the Church of Saint Sophia, Kiev. Orans means ~ interceding in prayer.

Mary's arms are stretched up and out, as if in her prayer she is uniting heaven and earth. Indeed, her gesture forms a kind of cup or vessel. Mixtures take place in vessels, here: visible and invisible, earthly and spiritual, seen and unseen. Sometimes the icon is called: Mother of God ~ Broader than the Heavens - that the prayers of the Mother of God know no limit, are as vast as the longings that fill human hearts.

And this is the method of the Intercessions that are posted here each Thursday in anticipation of Sunday. Those intercessions seek to pray about everything that's truly needful, including the things some people would say are just impossible. So the question is not, Do these prayers work but rather, In my own prayer does my vessel-like-heart hold the life of this planet?

Notice that while Mary interfaces with us in the great mosaic, her eyes don't meet ours. Perhaps she is looking over the great crowd of humanity all the way to the back where the most forsaken people are found, like the little Publican in the gospel who keeps his eyes to the ground, praying from the back of the temple (Luke 18:9-14). Mary sees humanity burdened and degraded - all the living things of the planet greedily exploited. She models the disposition of our own prayer.

Have we read it mindfully? Mary's Magnificat prayer is bold (Luke 1:46-55) and so the Sunday intercessions are bold - like any mother's heart-requests on behalf of her child, especially when that child is sick, leftout, ridiculed, fearful, falling behind, lost, threatened or abused. 

9 comments:

  1. When I read this and reflect on this image of Mary, I think I can feel her embrace around myself and my family. It is very comforting to think that she has us all held close to her.

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    1. Yes! And Meghan McKenna writes that when we stop to kiss an icon we should be mindful that we have stopped also to BE KISSED. In the Incarnation - God become one of us in Christ - God kisses the world.

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  2. Doesn't the priest hold his arms out like this at mass? Does it have a similar meaning?

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    1. Exactly! And if we don't hold our hands like that during Mass in the pews, we ought to at least have that same inner disposition.

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    2. Should we hold our hands like that at Mass Father? I see some people do that but no one ever taught us to.

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    3. Holding the hands and arms in that rather dramatic way is a liturgical priest-gesture. But some people simply open the palms of their hands in a small and close gesture of empty-ing and receptivity.

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  3. Every time I read the Magnificat, I feel that perfect love Mary has for God. It is such an inspiring prayer. I see all the beauty in Mary.

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  4. That we have also stopped... That surely is not preached enough. Thank you.

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  5. I like the idea that Mary hold out her arms and connects the things of heaven with the things of our earthly world.

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