"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Becoming Living Icons

"Christ, be with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me.
Christ is every ear that hears me.

Salvation is of the Lord, Salvation is of the Christ,
May Your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us." Prayer of St Patrikios

It can be difficult today for young people to develop their personhood and understand their self-worth in a world where the rich and famous are given the most attention. This is why for Orthodox Christians, the Saints are our best role models! One creative exercise to boost their confidence or healthy Christian self esteem is to pair them up, and ask them to draw each other's icon.

Each of us is a living icon of Christ, since we bear His image within us. We are becoming saints with a small "s" and strive each day to resemble Christ more and more in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Our tradition of Byzantine iconography is full of rich symbolism and contains within itself a prayerful system of identifying Saints with certain virtues. Do you know the first color layed down in an icon? It is the color of clay or earth, since all are taken from the dust and to the dust we return until the Resurrection. An icon is also written in opposite order than a typical painting, because the darkest layers are put down first, until layer after layer, the light radiates from within the Saint. Lastly, no icon is complete without the name, for God calls each of us by name, as we are written in the Book of Life. So too do we approach the Holy Chalice by name, and are baptised by name.

See the key below, and ask your children to look hard at one another to find the spiritual gifts that they are blessed with. No two icons will come out the same!

Tall Forehead – Wisdom
Cross in Hand – Martyr
Clothed in Armor – Soldier
Holding an Icon – Defender of Icons
Small Lips – Few Words
Bottle of Potion – Medicines
Crown – Royalty
Big Ears – Good Listener
Clothes – Altar Boy, Chanter
Scroll – Writer
With Others– Trial Together
Hand – Resisted Persecutors
Gospel – Teacher of Faith
Animals – Harmony with Nature
White - Purity
Gold – Heaven & Eternity
Blue – Humanity
Red – Divinity
Purple - Royalty

Remember: We're all a work in progress!

If you'd prefer to print and use a prepared hand-out for this activity,click here


Shamassy Monica said...

I LOVE this activity! I found you through susan sophia. I hope you don't mind if I post about you on my site.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and prayers for your growing family.

Anna said...

What a treasure of ideas! I am so glad I found your blog - it is wonderful to see others out there working hard to teach the faith to the next generation.

Anonymous said...

oooh I really like this one! you have such a wonderful blog! thank you

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