Tag Archives: Way of Life

On Miracles That God Performs Through Icons

Icons are windows to heaven. We have them in our churches, we have them in our homes, and perhaps in our car/locker/workspace/elsewhere as well. They are in these places as visual reminders of Truth. Icons remind us of the power of God at work, either through the written images of Christ Himself or of those gone before us who have followed Him completely and became saints. They help us to better understand the scriptures and to better connect with the person/people written on them. Icons draw us to God by virtue of their beauty, the stories of faithfulness they represent, the Scriptures they unveil. It is a miracle that something so simple as a prayerfully-written icon can do so much to help us on our journey toward Him.

Occasionally, God chooses to move beyond that sense of “being drawn,” and to work other miracles through them. The purpose of this blog post is to help each of us to learn about some of the icons He is using in this way (or has recently used in this way), and to read the stories of miracles wrought through them. It is our hope that this post will be encouraging and help each of us to be aware of how God is at work through icons. (These stories will also encourage our children when we share the stories with them. Children are naturally full of wonder, and will benefit from knowing these amazing ways in which God is at work through holy icons. So, please share the stories that your children will benefit from hearing so they can be encouraged, as well!)

Here are a few examples of miracle-working icons and their stories, as well as information related to miracle-working icons:

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What would you do if some of the icons in your prayer corner miraculously began streaming myrrh? Read this account by Subdeacon Nectarios himself, of what happened in his home. In the account, you’ll read about two streaming icons (each with different-smelling myrrh), a cat, a “doubting Thomas” who ends up with a mouthful of “proof,” and a few of the miracles that the miraculous myrrh have wrought. Glory to God! http://www.orthodoxhawaii.org/icons.html

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The Kardiotissa Icon of the Mother of God, at St. George Orthodox Church in Taylor, Pennsylvania, has been exuding myrrh ever since it was anointed with the myrrh of the Hawaiian Iveron icon in October of 2011. Many, many lives have been changed as a result. Read some of the miracles that have happened, as accounted in this homily: http://www.schwebster.org/sermons/2014-sermons/the-miracles-and-wonders-of-god-the-crying-icon-of-taylor-pa

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“Over the past ten years there have been many miracles; some I’ve heard about and some I haven’t. There have been many physical healings, external, and there have also been many spiritual, inner healings. Through this Icon many of the faithful have experienced radical transformations in their lives. It’s as if people become liberated from the ‘old man’ and ardently strive towards God.  When the Icon is present in various churches, monasteries and homes, one senses a renewal of love for the Mother of God; almost immediately many people approach for confession, spiritually reborn through a feeling of repentance.  I’d like to say that the Mother of God helps our believers sense their sinfulness before Her Son, Jesus Christ.”

Read this and more of the story and miracles of the copy of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God (the same one whose copy was sent to Hawaii and began myrrh streaming there, and when that one in turn visited the Kardiotissa icon in Pennsylvania it began exuding myrrh as well), which was brought to Canada from Mt. Athos by a Chilean convert to Orthodoxy here:  http://www.roca.org/OA/120/120k.htm

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“One can go on for a very long time listing the different holy Icons of the Ever-Virgin Mary and Theotokos and all the wonderful countless miracles of our Panagia. It is, however, important for all Orthodox Christian believers to always seek the holy intercessions of the Mother of God and to turn to Her for aid, healing, comfort and salvation.” Read some of the miracles in this article: http://saintandrewgoc.org/home/2014/8/25/the-miraculous-icon-of-panagia-portraitissa-the-keeper-of-th.html. Then, spend some time praying and asking the Theotokos to pray for you and your loved ones – and the whole world!

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Watch this 8-minute video that shows miracle after miracle, mostly related to icons, which God has granted through His Holy Orthodox Church. Set to parts of the Vespers service chanted by Eikona, this video could be a wonder-filled way to end a day! (We recommend that you watch it before showing it to your children, so you know what they will see and can be prepared to answer related questions.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-AOO903CZA

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Throughout history, icons of the Mother of God have worked miracles. This article shares the commemoration days of many icons of the Theotokos, along with some of the stories of miracles attributed to those icons, set throughout history. These stories are not as recent as some of the above, but they are still miracles and well worth learning about! To read about an icon of the Theotokos and/or a miracle attributed to the icon, click on the month, then which of the days of that month you’d like to read about: https://oca.org/saints/icons-mother-of-god

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“Venerating a miracle is also a way of acknowledging the importance of its context. A weeping icon is amazing, but it’s obviously not meant to distract attention away from the liturgical, sacramental, and doctrinal life of the Church. If anything, a miracle should amplify the importance of Church practices and teaching, for the God who causes the miracle is also the God who established these as markers of his ‘new and everlasting covenant’ with mankind.” Read more about responding to miracles wrought through icons in this article:  http://myocn.net/miracle-greece-weeping-icon-mean/

Savoring Summer: Time With Our Children

Many of us are rapidly approaching the end of the school year, and preparing to have additional time with our precious children. Some of us are eagerly anticipating that time, while others of us are wondering how to fill all of it, to keep the children occupied. Regardless of our attitude regarding the forthcoming summer, it is coming very soon (and perhaps has started already for some of us), and it would behoove us to take some time to prepare ourselves! Both this note and the subsequent week’s daily posts will offer suggestions to both the “anticipaters” and the “wonderers.”

Pray! First and foremost, let us remember to pray. We can start by thanking God for this opportunity with our children. He has blessed us by putting them into our lives, and entrusted us with their care and education. He will certainly give us what we need to spend this summer loving and learning with them! So, let us also ask Him for wisdom to know what to do with our children, as well as grace to love them every moment of the summer, as we gently point them to His kingdom each day. “Pray and then speak. That’s what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and when they grow up they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts.” – Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

Celebrate! When school is finished, celebrate the hard work and learning that the children have accomplished, this year! Go out for ice cream or a meal. Maybe welcome the children home with a banner or another idea such as one of these: http://creativepartyideasbycheryl.blogspot.com/2013/05/last-day-of-school-ideas.html

Have a plan! Everything runs more smoothly if there’s a plan behind it. For the families who have children who function best with a schedule, consider making one like this http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2014/05/printable-summer-schedule/ to keep posted on the fridge or in another family space, changing it as needed for each day’s schedule. Find ideas of things to do in the “down” or “free” time here:  http://www.digitalreflections.typepad.com/digital_reflections/2009/06/100-free-things-to-do-with-your-kids-this-summer.html.

Learn together! Extend the children’s math and science learning into the summer time by together doing fun activities such as these: http://www.science-sparks.com/2013/05/19/summer-science/http://www.babble.com/crafts-activities/25-at-home-science-experiments/http://www.dreambox.com/blog/outdoor-math-games; or http://zenomath.org/play-math/fun-math-games/.

Read! You can’t go wrong with reading. The local library can hook you up with all sorts of information and adventures! If you need ideas, here are 20 books to read with a five-year-old: http://godlyrose.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-we-read-for-fun-august.html. Or check out these books, and then go on related field trips as suggested at: http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/category/book-list. See http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com/10-books-for-boys-to-read-this-summer/ for book ideas for boys and http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Books-for-Girls-Kids-Reading-Listfor ideas for girls. If you want to take advantage of free summer reading incentive programs, check out these: http://myfrugaladventures.com/2014/04/free-summer-reading-programs-for-kids-2014/!

Teach basic skills! Take advantage of the “extra” time summer offers to help the children learn skills they’ll need to know later in life. Cook with them. Help them to garden. Take them shopping for groceries. Teach them to do a chore they haven’t yet tackled. Teach them to sew. (See http://spoonful.com/crafts/12-easy-sewing-projects-for-kids for kid-friendly sewing projects.)

Get crafty! Plan to do crafts that your children enjoy, or provide supplies for something they’ve never tried before. Invest in art supplies that are new to them, so they can explore and/or you can learn together how to use the supplies! If you prefer to have a plan for the craft, find 46 simple craft ideas using basic supplies here:http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2014/05/17/45-quick-easy-kids-crafts-anyone-can-make/.

Keep rainy day plans in your back pocket! Rainy days happen during summer. Not to worry, if you’ve got a plan “in your back pocket” for such a time as this! Check out the fantastically fun ideas at http://innerchildfun.com/2011/08/10-rainy-day-activities-for-kids.htmlhttp://innerchildfun.com/2011/03/what-we-do-on-rainy-days.html; and http://rainydaymum.co.uk/101-ideas-for-a-rainy-summers-day.

Be still! It goes against the grain of our culture to be still and quiet. Teach your children the beauty of this by taking them on a hike, or to a stream/lake, or even to a city park; and take a few moments to be still in that space. Start with just a few minutes of stillness. After the still time, talk about what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, etc. during that stillness. How much of that would you have missed, if you had been talking/moving, instead of being still? Thank God for helping you to notice His beautiful world, and work throughout the summer to find more times/ways to be still. “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10

Take time to chat! Savor the extra time by finding out new things about your children. Not sure what to ask? Check out these sweet ideas for bedtime chats: http://www.imom.com/espresso-minute/20-pillow-talk-questions-for-you-and-your-child/. Or, print and use these questions: http://www.imom.com/tools/conversation-starters/kid-talk-1.0/ or http://www.imom.com/tools/conversation-starters/kid-talk-2.0/.

The summer is nearly upon us. Let us take advantage of our this extra time with our children, by teaching them important skills, having fun together, and learning more about who they are and what they like. Most of all, let us take them by the hand and lead them in the way of Life; both by our words and our deeds. May the Lord bless and guide us as we choose to savor our children’s presence, this summer!