Fr. “Bill” McNichols, iconographer and religious artist, explains the need for icons: “What you gaze upon, you become.”
Since reading that, I have become a lot more mindful of where I allow my gaze to rest, the images that truly and fully engage my attention. I have little control over some of this; in my job, I have to spend a lot of time gazing at text on a computer screen. But I also have some pieces—not icons per se, but religious art—in my office, including a small poster, created by a young lady of this parish, that reads, “Keep calm and pray on.” I can also steal a moment occasionally to gaze upon the green, growing things sitting in my office window, or the changing seasons outside my window, images that reflect God’s creative, sustaining action, God’s gift of life.
McNichols puts it this way: “You gaze on the icon, but it gazes on you too. We need to gaze on truly conversational, truly loving images, images that will return our love.”
What will you gaze upon today? What will you become today?