Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, us vs them and mythology
“The Orthodox don’t do body parts”, said one priest. Yet, if you’ve ever seen icons of Mary with three hands or icons of various saints with a Blessing Hand floating in from the corner, you know we do “do parts”, albeit in a different way (most of the time).

Our body parts are there to represent some symbolic idea: the presence of God in the icon of a saint or the power of the Theotokos to protect Christians. We do not, really, have devotions to Mary’s Third Hand, or the Hand of God in the clouds.

In popular usage, the Roman Catholic devotion to the sacred heart really does sound like prayers to the actual, physical heart of Jesus. But the teaching of the Roman Church makes it clear: the physical heart is only an icon for the love of Christ. Love doesn’t “live” in the heart – we know that. But we can use a heart to focus our minds on the love of God for us. Images of the Sacred Heart are, really, exactly like icons of the Theotokos with a third hand, focusing our devotion, reminding our faith of Mary’s strength to save us.
The jerk converts tracked in their Protestantism including their American anti-Romanism.

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