For some reason, I have been meditating much about death recently. Maybe it is the Lenten season, certainly it is thinking about the 18th anniversary of my father’s passing away on April 9, and the fact that he would have been 90 years old on April 4. My faith sharing group has been reflecting on and discussing the Stations of the Cross, and on death and mortality. Ash Wednesday services. World news of war, tragedy, disaster. My mother’s current ill health. My brother’s fight with cancer.
I look with fresh eyes at an icon I completed about 2 years ago, one of the Dormition of Mary. Dormition means “falling asleep” and the icon depicts the death and assumption into heaven of the Mother of God. I find this icon to be comforting, and filled with hope.
This a “festal icon”, one depicting a feastday of the church. It shows Mary on her funeral bed. Her family and friends surround her, mourning deeply. Wrapped up in their grief, they do not notice the glory all around them, cannot see what is happening.
Jesus comes to meet His mother, surrounded with radiance and light. He takes her soul lovingly in His arms, cradling the small white bundle like a baby, just as Mary once cradled Him. Angels come down from heaven to carry her to Paradise, body and soul.
When the time comes for me, for my loved ones, for each of us, I believe that Our Lord will be waiting with love, to receive us into His kingdom. He will not leave us alone.