Praying With

“The profound beauty of an icon is gentle. It does not force its way; it does not intrude. It asks for patience with the uneasiness of early acquaintance. It asks for time spent before it in stillness of gazing. More important, it asks the one praying to allow herself to be gazed upon by it. One must yield space within herself to the icon and its persistent beauty. An icon is prayer and contemplation transformed into art. When exquisite art combines with prayer to become a work of worship and wonder, the art becomes sacramental. It manifests to us the God who breaks through all signs and symbols with truth.”

Our tradition is rich with various methods that help us to place ourselves in God’s presence. Icons, as two-dimensional symbolic paintings, have provided an incarnational way to pray for centuries, drawing people to focus, to see, and to listen attentively. Following are some ways you might pray with the icon of Jeanne Chézard de Matel, The Vessel of God.


  • Take time to “learn the language” of the “writing” of the icon by “reading” each of its symbols. Take time to mine the many layers of their meaning.
  • Place yourself in the presence of the icon with faith. Let yourself be seen…and spoken to…
  • Gaze… Contemplate… Follow the Mystery…
  • Let yourself be taken…
  • Be aware that the ones you are looking at are looking back at you at this moment. What do they see?
  • Sit and LISTEN: What is Jeanne saying to you and to your life right now?
  • With Jeanne, take your place at the Banquet Table of Love. Simply BE there… The place of love becomes the place of communion!

Hear Jeanne saying to you:

  • “Who I am, you must become! What I do, you must do!”
  • “Don’t look at me. Look where I am looking!”
  • “Ask for the wings and the eyes of an eagle. Be like me, a little eagle of God’s heart.”
  • How is God asking you to carry the Bread of Life to others today?

Ask Spirit to enlarge the space within your heart that you may be God’s vessel carrying the Bread of Life to others.

Maybe you can use Jeanne’s quote about being a “book” that others read…What will others see when they meet you today?

Referring to the circle: Be in awe of the movement of God’s love in your life.

Referring to the posture: With Mary and Jeanne, proclaim your Fiat.

With Jeanne walking beside you,
and the Trinity inside you,
may you be an icon of the Incarnate Word.

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