Saturday, November 21, 2015

Platytera (More Spacious Than the Heavens) Underdrawing

One of my first experiences with Eastern Christianity was being greeted by the Platytera, staring through the royal doors. I found out later that this icon is supposed to be behind the tabernacle in every Eastern Church in the world. There's a good reason for that: this is the icon par excellance of what every Christian is supposed to be like.

Mary's arms are extended into the orans, the default stance of prayer in all Christianity. Christ's  arms are open in welcome and blessing. The attitude of a Christian should perfectly reflect this icon: we should all be in a state of constant prayer and welcoming love to all who come across us, giving them Christ, the only One Who can take away their burdens.

The orans stance communicates openess and vulnerablity. It's a stance I have a hard time understanding with God, Whom I often find myself confusing with the world and chance, which is so often cruel. How can one be open and accepting when life can feel so meaningless at times? At the end of the day what inside of us can drive back the darkness? Mary's solution is to let God fill the emptiness until all that's left is light. Our hearts are dark and empty unless God fills them with Himself, giving us meaning that many of us don't even know we needed until we found it.

This icon is that of a Christian fully in theosis, in synch with God. When others look at us they should see Christ first, living and shining within us. Anything less than Christ will not fix our broken hearts. Nothing less will do. Become this icon and the whole world will be changed.

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