March 30, 2010

The Humble and Suffering Bridegroom of the Church

The Bridegroom of the Church is a humble and suffering Bridegroom.

He is a Bridegroom who loves and sacrifices to the point of death so that His love may be received.

We see in this icon that He is humiliated by people that did not love Him.

His holy face is bloodied and turned to the right with pain and dignity.

He is crowned with the valuable crown of martyrdom, with each thorn brutally devastating His divine face.

A wonderful peace emanates from this icon, which teaches that ultimate and absolute pain is eliminated when love moves our choices and behavior.

The logic of the world would say He looks pathetic, while the logic of the believer is moved to worship Him, because the believer understands that the pain of the Redeemer is the joy of the redeemed and the body and blood of the Righteous One is our food and the medicine of our immortality, irrigating His creation with His blood.

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be overcome with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. But rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God, through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.

I see Thy bridal chamber, O my Saviour, all adorned, and a garment I have not that I may enter therein. Illumine the garment of my soul, O Giver of Light, and save me.

O Bridegroom, whose grace surpasses all human beauty, Thou invitest us to the spiritual feast in Thy palace. Strip me of the coarse garment of my sin, and make me a partaker of Thy Passion. Clothe me in the glorious adornment of Thy beauty. In Thy mercy, accept me as a luminous guest at the banquet in Thy kingdom.