Christ Sophia: The Word of God

Artist: 
Fr. Michael Reyes, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
This icon celebrates the profound harmony that can exist between Eastern and Western spiritualities. Asian peoples who encounter the Gospel of Christ bring to it thousands of years of spiritual maturity from their own cultures. This joining of wisdoms, like the confluence of mighty rivers, is the work of Holy Wisdom, who has been at work in creation since the beginning of time.

The radiant face of Christ, who is the incarnated Word and Wisdom of God, hovers above the bloom of a pink lotus. Both arise from a velvet black background that depicts the silence of God. Chinese characters in gold leaf shine from this darkness to name “Jesus Christ.”

Because a lotus is rooted in mud and climbs through murky water toward light at its surface to bloom, it has been an ancient Asian symbol for enlightenment. The Buddha and other ancient Asian saints sit on lotus thrones to symbolize the enlightenment they have achieved in their lives. In this icon the pink blossom of the lotus is a glowing throne for Christ, who is the Wisdom of God.

The lotus, like Christ, is a coincidence of opposites. It ties darkness to light, earth to sky, and decomposing matter to new life. As such it is also a symbol of Christian life. At the heart of Christian life is the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. Every Christian is called to enter into this mystery. To enter the mystery fully is to become like Christ, who is the Wisdom of God. The lotus is a symbol of this process of transfiguration.

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