BY MARY SAYAD  

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    Holy Mandylion of Jesus
    February 2010

     

    Seems like we just finished celebrating Christmas with all of its festivities, especially the indulgence of wine, food, and desserts.  We’re now mentally preparing to switch gears and start the season of Lent starting with the ashes, fasting, sacrifices and additional prayers including the Way of the Cross.

    Our Holy Mother the Church has a way of keeping us in check. and reminding us that we’re mere human beings. This should not be regarded as an unreasonable burden, but rather, the opportunity to grow in holiness through prayer, charity, and mortifications.   

    I would like to bring your attention to an unfamiliar event during Christ’s ministry.  Those of the Eastern rite or Byzantine rite recognize this story, however, it is rarely known in the Western rite. 

    King Abgar V of Edessa was suffering from a form of skin disease, probably leprosy, learned of Christ’s healing powers.  Edessa was to the north of 12th century Mesopotamia.  It is presently known as Urfa located in Turkey.  King Abgar requested that he (Jesus) pay him a visit in order to receive a healing. Jesus, however, wouldn’t leave his ministry.  Instead, Jesus took a small cloth, put it to his face and miraculously transferred the image of his face onto the cloth, which later became known as the Holy Mandylion Mandil is an Arabic word meaning small cloth. 

    It is believed that St. Jude Thaddeus personally brought the cloth to King Abgar.  Upon receiving the clothe or Holy Mandylion, King Abgar venerated it and he was immediately healed of his disease.

    By this miraculous clothe or icon, God is made visible to us through His Son, Jesus.  In conclusion, God is the First and Foremost Iconographer!! 

    Genesis 1-27 “God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them.”

    John 14 - 9:10 “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still not know me, Phillip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?   “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I speak I do not speak on my own.  The Father who dwells in me is doing His works.”

    Afterwards, to protect the original Holy Mandylion from destruction, it was hidden within a wall.  Many years later, when the wall or passage was opened, it was discovered that the image of Christ miraculously replicated itself as a mirrored image on the opposite ceramic wall.  Later, the holy clothe was taken to Constantinople and shortly after sold to the French. Unfortunately, it is believed that it was lost during the French Revolution. 

    There have been futile attempts to identify the Holy Mandylion with the Holy Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin copied the image of Christ’s entire body after his Crucifixion.  Christ transferred his facial image to the cloth during his ministry and before his Crucifixion, therefore, there can be no correlation with the two cloths.

    Today, icons of the Holy Mandylion are venerated in Byzantine and Orthodox Churches throughout the world.  Iconography is a sacred craft which originated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Holy icons are known as “windows to heaven“.  They are an integral tradition of the Byzantine or Eastern Rite.  When you enter the Eastern Catholic, Orthodox or Russian Churches, you will be greeted by beautiful and colorful icons of the prophets, saints and angels.  These icons also make visible, stories of Holy Scripture. They are the mysterious presence of the depicted individual.  Icons are not worshipped; rather, because they are Sacramentals, they are venerated and respected.

    Beloved Friends,

    The above scriptural quotes serve to emphasize that we are stamped in God’s image! 

    It is critically important to understand the dynamics between God and man, and man’s responsibility toward family and society.  We are living in an era when innocence and wholesome living is almost totally obliterated by secularism and a neo-pagan liberal society.  Our children are bombarded by precocious T. V. characters, who portray lack of honesty, greed, and self-seeking pleasures.  And this does not touch on the influence that television, movies and advertisements have on adults.  In the public realm, in schools and government agencies, lofty spiritual ideals and Christian based morals have become nonexistent. 

    The foundation of any culture and society is the family.   Today, the fierce attacks on the family are unprecedented.  Children are being raised without proper discipline.  From generation to generation, the breakdown of discipline is eventually the downfall of a country. 

    Hitler’s holocaust may be compared to today’s massive legalized killings via the abortion clinics.  Stalin dismantled churches because he was fearful of religion and he promoted Communism.

    Planned Parenthood, has at its roots, the dismantling of families with the glorification of same sex marriage, sexual permissiveness, abortion and euthanasia.  They intentionally misguide our youth with their radical efforts with the intention of weakening society as a whole.

    At the recent National Prayer Breakfast of February 4, 2010, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton boldly attacked organized religion as the root of all wars.  She is seething with contempt for spirituality and anything belonging to God and she cuts to the heart of Christians and our faith.  Does this sound familiar?

    My dear friends, brace yourselves.  If we continue on this path, we’re in for a roller coaster ride of instability of epic proportions.  The Obama administration twists, conceals and denies the truth of its incompetence.  Every half truth is a lie and lies are a form of camouflage. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by this unholy, faithless administration that has a mandate of weakening our country in order to enslave its citizens to higher taxes and dependence thereby eliminating our basic God given freedoms.  Are you aware that our government funds foreign countries‘ abortions?  Should our taxes pay for this abominable funding?

    Yet, I reiterate that as Christians, we are stamped in God’s image and by His graces, we are empowered to overcome today’s daunting challenges and vicious restrictions in the name of political correctness.  How do we maintain our faith and how do we overcome unhealthy mandates?

    *** First of all, pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of America.  Ask your friends to join you during your Rosary recital. Attend Mass and receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Penance frequently.

    *** Second, keep yourselves abreast with all the news that undermines our freedoms and religious freedoms.

    ***Third, bombard your Senators and Congressmen with your disapproval.  You may email them from their websites.  Polite, short letters are sufficient to express your thoughts against an oppressive government.  This is peaceful empowerment!

    As for me, I choose to remain positive through Jesus and Mary in an unknown future and I will follow my own advice as mentioned above.

    Remember, that the United States of America was founded on Christian-Judeo laws with respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness .

    Our vantage is through our unceasing offerings of prayers and faith.  Pray for the conversion of America, world peace, the safety of our military, and for their families.  Thank you for your love and awareness.

    Your companion in prayer, 
    Mary

     


    A DAILY PRAYER FOR LENT

    Lord Jesus, though You were sinless,
    You suffered willingly for me.
    You accepted death on the Cross,
    for my salvation.

    Look upon me with mercy.
    Forgive my sins and give me
    The grace I need to forgive