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Below the Waterline

The title of this blog that's linked to my website is "My Work Day-By-Day", which is an invitation to those who might be interested to follow the work I'm doing each day as an iconographer.

But it could just as easily be entitled, Ora et Labora (the motto of the Benedicines) a because a significant part of my day-to-day work is actually the Opus Dei of prayer.

To use the familiar metaphor of an iceberg floating in the ocean, if the icon is the small part of the iceberg that is visible above the water, prayer is the part of the iceberg that lies below the waterline.

Lest the centrality of prayer to the work of icon painting appear to be an advertisement for the righteousness of this icon painter, the words of the Jesus Prayer (the traditional prayer of iconographers in Christian East) "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" are a sobering and repeated reminder to the contrary.

Rather, prayer is simply foundational to the work. Its always about an attentive, open listening, the longing to draw closer to the One whose presence is made visible in the icon and willingness to let go whatever stands in the way of receiving the love and mercy that is compassionately on offer.

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