Last post I spoke about Balance in Healing and what it means to have a psychospiritual approach to mental health awareness. I think it is appropriate to follow up with a small meditation since if you read the first post, it was more academic. Rest assured, I will tone down my academic writing. My inner nerd had a field day; I guess graduate school does that!
I have always been fascinated by icons no matter which heritage whether it be Coptic, Greek, Russian or Ethiopian. When our priest renovated my home church back in Connecticut, he decided to fill the church with icons. To this day, there are icons of saints you would have never thought an iconographer would write an icon of. For example, St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus aka Baba Noel! He even had the iconographer do the martyrdom of the infants of Bethlehem! Later on, Abouna (Arabic for our father) decided to have an icon placed in the entrance of the sanctuary; which, has a really nice arch that gives a pleasant aesthetic impression to our church. He had the iconographer write Christ standing with his arms wide open. The icon very much reminds me of the return of the prodigal son.
This icon exemplifies what Dr. Albert Rossi says in his book, Becoming a Healing Presence: “Christ is everything. Christ is our Physician, our complete healer. He wants us to be His humanity on earth, His healing presence to others.” Christ stands, with His arms wide open, awaiting to embrace and heal you. When you think about a hug, a real hug, the people embracing each other fall into each person’s bosom. Bosom is simply defined as the human chest, but it has a deeper connotation. It implies the inner person; which, is the heart. Christ is the healer of the inner being; the inner person! There is so much imagery of God and holding on to people. From the prodigal son to St. John the Beloved who was known to rest his head on Christ’s chest, God is waiting to grasp you in order to heal you. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
It is Coptic tradition to call the round part in the altar the Father’s bosom. Imagine, you walk into the church and at the door you see Christ, arms wide open ready to hold you. Ifyou decide to reciprocate and let yourself be embraced and healed by Him this will lead you to be in the Father’s bosom; because, Who is in the Father’s bosom? The altar; and on the altar is “Emmanuel our God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world, is with us today on this table” (Fraction for the Feasts of the Virgin). Meaning that Christ Himself is in the Father’s bosom as said in the Fraction of Advent, “He who is in the Fatherly bosom at all times has come down and dwelt in the undefiled virginal womb.” If we want this true healing, we need to dissolve our pride to let God encompass us, to be gripped by the Only-Begotten Son so that we may reside in the Father’s bosom. Let yourself be embraced by Him.