On or around Holy Week last year, I stopped in our church office. A beautiful icon was on the table as I entered. In all my years, I did not remember ever seeing it before. It was the icon of Extreme Humility. As I venerated this icon, I wondered about it. I connected with it deeply and wanted to know more about the image.
I found out that, on Holy Friday and Holy Saturday, this icon is displayed. The icon depicts the crucified body of Jesus Christ in the Tomb with the Cross in the background. Jesus’ wounds are visible for us to see, with him showing us His ultimate love by sacrificing Himself for our eternal life. In John 19:30, Christ said, “It is finished.” And his cry was evidence that He was in control of His death. His work of redemption was complete.
In a conversation with my spiritual father, we talked about the sufferings of our Lord. He reminded me to look at this icon as an example of the complete and utter love our God has for us. Through Jesus Christ, God came down and took on our human nature. He did not have to do this, but He did. He took on the nature of His own creation so we would have eternal life.
When we love someone, we are willing to go the distance. This is what God does for us. He loves us unconditionally. It helps me, in times of trouble or sorrow, to remember what St. Anthony said–“I no longer fear God. I love Him.”
The icon of Extreme Humility is representative of the deep love God has for us. As I go through Holy Week, I want to feel Christ’s suffering. But I will also remind myself of the great love that God has for me and for all of us.
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