Perhaps there has never been a more beautiful icon of Pentecost.  This one could also be titled 'Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit' because of the way Momma Mary is central in the scene. In much of Christian Iconography, the women are not even included in the painting!  This one however shows it more true to the bible which recounts that the women were very much present and as my pastor has often quipped, Mary was most likely instructing “the boys” on true faith.

The legend of Mary's faith is extraordinary.  In fact it said that they had to gently remove her from Jesus’ grave because she alone was certain in her heart that he would rise again and she wanted to wait for it… from that same trust and deep understanding of her son’s words she was able to teach the apostles with and without words, especially the nine days after the ascension in that upper room, waiting for the Spirit to descend.

Many women played an "equal to the apostles" role in the early Church and in my understanding that hasn't changed today!  Different roles perhaps, but not less important.  See the icon of St. Photini here as she is an example of a woman called by the Church "Equal to the Apostles".

With all that being said, the prayers to the Holy Spirit that are on the back of the card and on some versions inscribed around the icon, are repeated many times per day on the farm.  It has been emphasized repeatedly from the pulpit that God is gentle and humble of heart and will not barge His way into our hearts.  Again and again pastors have made it clear that opening one's heart in surrender to the Holy Spirit is the key to living a truly Christian life.  We are told that such prayers, repeated from the heart often, remind us to stay in that attitude of surrender.  That's why the farm takes that pastoral advice to heart.

Click here to download or listen to this prayer being intoned.

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