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An Icon for Our Time: “Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls”

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/23/16

Something beautiful and new, via the Latin Patriarchate website:

Graffiti painted along the Separation wall, charged with political and social messages, have always been a form of protest against Israel’s unjust measures. Near the Emmanuel Monastery in Bethlehem, an icon of the Mother of God emerges on the 8-meter high concrete wall, revealing with its beauty the failure of communities to love one another. Made at the request of the local faithful and some internationals, the icon of Our Lady who brings down walls was written on the Separation wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem in 2010. The purpose of their request was clear; an icon that could bring along hope that the wall would come down some day. According to Ian Knowles, the iconographer who wrote the icon, the inspiration behind Our Lady originated from a speech that Pope Benedict XVI had given at a special assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops in 2010. During the assembly, His Holiness referred to chapter 12 of the book of Revelation and talked about a woman who is clothed with the sun and gives birth with a cry of pain. He linked how this chapter in the Bible is a prophecy about the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. “That gave me an image of Mary, who is pregnant, clothed with the sun chased by the beast that wants to devour her child”, Ian pointed out. Read more about Ian Knowles and his “prayers in paint”  Before the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land in 2014, graffiti of a giant serpent, that is eating babies, was painted along the wall that leads to the icon of Mother of God. “It is quite prophetic to see this serpent near the icon of Our Lady. In the book of revelation, the woman is chased by the beast, which wants to eat her child” Ian said. “Once the image was complete, it was as though it called out the hideousness of the wall”.

Read on. And note this prayer:

Prayer to Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls

Most Holy Mother of God,

We pray to you as mother of the Church, mother of all Christians who suffer.

We beg you, through your ardent intercession, to bring down this wall, the walls of our hearts, and all the walls that generate hatred, violence, fear, and indifference between people and between nations.

You who crushed the ancient Serpent by your Fiat, gather and unite us under your virginal cloak, protect us from all evil and open forever in our lives the gate of Hope.

Bring to birth in us and in our world the civilization of Love that sprang forth from the Cross and Resurrection of your divine Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

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