The Shalom Community carries within its spirituality a particular veneration for the icons. This passage of our statutes reveals the privileged place of the icons in the Shalom Vocation. Through them we are motivated into prayer, contemplation and deep immersion in the mysteries of Christ and in the truth of the Gospel. Whoever contemplates an icon is meant to grow the desire to see the face of God and to be transfigured by Him well up from within.
It is the tradition of the Community, at each Jubilee, to write an icon that corresponds to the mystery of this time of celebration.
This year, the sector dedicated to all the liturgical-sacramental experience of the Community elaborated the icon of the 40 years of the Shalom Community. Eduardo Silva, a consecrated member of the Community of Life and iconographer, was one of those in charge of writing and explaining the work.
Inspiration and challenges
The inspiration for the icon came from what the General Council heard from God at the 2021 “Listening” Retreat, “God went beyond our expectations, because even from the “Listening” we perceived new signs and characteristics of the icon,” adds Eduardo.
According to the consecrated man, writing the “Listening” icon was easier than imagined. “I didn’t need to create many things, I only had to express what I had heard from Moysés, founder of the Shalom Community, for the whole Community, so I was halfway there, now I only had to make it visible to everyone,” he says.
There were problems from the beginning of its creation, especially with regard to the deadlines. For the missionary, the way to materialize the icon was different, even though he was used to short deadlines. There was a difficulty in understanding the way to express so many elements: people walking, the Virgin behind the Eucharistic Spouse, the multitude, and the saints.
“This icon was started in the midst of the “Halleluya Feast”, in the midst of the death of some of my loved ones in my family and some internal challenges. It was a challenge to come up with, understand and express the face of this Christ, of the saints, of the Virgin Mary, “the All Small”, made by our sister Guadalupe (consecrated and specialist in iconography of the Shalom Community).”
Explanation of the elements
According to the iconographer, the founder of the Community asked him to be open to something new, and so he came to understand that Jesus wanted to be expressed in a new way, not with the image already known to the Community in the icon of the Eucharistic Jesus in the Chapel of the Diakonia. “It is the same Eucharistic Bridegroom, but shown in a different way for this time in the Community and in the Church,” he explains.
The icon is one, but to understand it better we will explain it in three parts:
- The upper one, where we see the saints,
- The central one, which in the foreground is the Eucharistic Bridegroom, and
- The lower one where there is a procession with Mary, “The All Small”, on the right.
At the top are the Saints from various continents and from various times. Each one with their authenticity and specific mission that inspire us as a Community and as a Church. Behind them you can see many other haloes, we could say that they are our saint friends of particular devotion who intercede for us. The saints that were captured are the fruit of a prayer of our founder, Moysés Azevedo. Each one has very significant spousal characteristics for the Community at this time.
Above the saints, around them, is the Tree of Life – the cross with the tree, very expressive for the Shalom Community – reinforcing the dimension of eternity. Eduardo explains: “There is one of the foundations of the Charism that cites a life from the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ and thus expresses the sacrifice of the offered flesh of Christ in the Eucharist, the perfect sacrifice of Him on the Cross that also expresses our ultimate goal, eternity, the glory of God and union with the Father.
In the center of the icon is Christ wrapped in a circular form that represents the sun, this image is cited in the Magazine Listening in the Eucharist is the sun and also represents the flesh of Christ. Likewise, the circular shape symbolizes unity, the center unites heaven and earth.
At the bottom of the icon is the crowd in which various types of people were represented: religious, celibates, married couples, priests, wounded people, health professionals. Eduardo also tells us that the icon was born in the context of the pandemic, so there is a very striking mystery of pain and resurrection. “The glory of God is great because Christ is this Risen One who has passed through the Cross,” he adds. The people represent various continents, the procession departs from the four cardinal points, so it has characteristics of all peoples.
Expression of eternity
Eduardo explains: “the upper part is bigger than the lower part, as if the dimension of eternity for us in the Community at this moment is something so strong and so deep that it occupies more space than the earthly dimension.”
In the upper part, where the saints, angels and the Tree of Life are, we can see that heaven occupies a large space, it enters into what we live today as a Community. We feel it real in the Easter of our brothers and sisters and through what the Lord has spoken to us in the “Listening” Magazine. It becomes present when we strive and give our all to achieve the profound conversion to which God has called us in the humility and littleness of the Virgin, in adoration and love of the Eucharist.
Eduardo’s experience in writing this icon is the following: “It has been an experience of eternity in my life, in my family, in the Community. I am experiencing a lot of this heaven, of the presence of Christ among us, who really comes to meet us and leads us to the Father”, and he also said: “I have also had a special experience with the Virgin, who despite being in the background, manages to carry the icon in a way that is all her own, simple, discreet, unpretentious, yet, very strong”, he concluded.
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Shalom convention 40 years
Date: 23 – 28 september
Theme: Shalom – Friends of God, Friends of the Young, Friends of the Poor
More info: http://comshalom.org/40anos