So much of iconpainting is (literally) waiting for paint (or bole or varnish) to dry. Which is what I spent most of last evening doing as I completed the icon of Our Lady Queen of Peace. Just in time to put out for veneration at the Cathedral in Juneau for tomorrow's Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria and the Middle East.
It's impossible to grasp exactly all that is at stake in our President's apparent decision to intervene in the Syrian civil war or to predict what sort of new world we may all be living a week or a month or a year from now. But the necessity to ask the Lord to " convert the hearts of all who have taken up arms" seems more urgent than ever.
The truth is, to quote (inexactly) Pope Francis, there are no violent solutions. Violence, as we have seen at every turn in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and now Syria, begets suspicion, fear, distrust, wrath, hatred, a desire for revenge and more violence.
A mother and a child. Powerless against the powerful and their armies and weapons. So true, yet, their embrace is both a sign and the embodied reality of love. About which another Pope, Blessed John Paul II famously said: ' Only love is creative.'
The love of this Mother and Holy Child is the lifegiving love of the Blessed Trinity that holds humanity, our world and the entire cosmos in being. Jesus, God's love Incarnate, depicted in the icon as a weak and vulnerable child tenderly embracing his loving mother, on the Cross overcame forever the powers of sin and death.
Tomorrow we will unite ourselves in prayer and fasting to the Divine Love, which overthrows the powerful, disarms the violent and raises up the lowly. May God strengthen us to persevere in prayer for the beloved people of Syria.