Icons Show Human Face Of God — In recent months my Sunday reflections have frequently focused on our Christian brothers and sisters of the East. Wishing as it were to embrace their rich tradition of faith in a single glance, today I would refer once again to the sense of mystery which is apparent in their icons
The East and the West vie with each other to put their art at the service of the faith.
But from the East where icons had to be defended with bloodshed in the iconoclast crisis of the eighth and ninth centuries comes a particular call to jealously preserve the religious nature of this art. It is based on the mystery of the Incarnation, in which God chose to assume a human face. Sacred art seeks to transmit something of the mystery of that face.
This is why the East firmly insists on the spiritual qualities which must characterize the artist, to whom Simeon of Thessalonica, the great defender of Tradition, addresses this important exhortation: “Teach with words, write with letters, paint with colors, in conformity with Tradition, the painting is true as is the writing of books and the grace of God is present in them because what is represented there is holy.”
By contemplating icons in the whole contest of liturgical and ecclesial life, the Christian community is called to grow in its experience of God and to become more and more a living icon of communion of life between the Three Divine Persons.
Pope John Paul II
Icons Show Human Face Of God