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Icons as Portals for Unlocking the Contemplative Heart via Zoom

December 18, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Led by Mary Atalo, a half-day retreat sponsored by Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington.

Icons, as opposed to paintings, are considered as “writings of the heart” which open the contemplative to “Behold” the Glory of the Lord. Many paintings can aid in our “seeing,” but icons allow us to “behold.” In our contemplative prayer, first through a silent “gazing” at the image in Visio Divina, another realm begins to appear which lures us to step beyond the gaze into the ineffable realm of the Divine, where “Beholding” is the work of silence.” This “Beholding” transfigures the way we see the world, how we act in it, and conveys the great hope of God’s enduring love and wisdom as promised in the Covenant of Peace.

In this mini retreat, we will practice contemplative “Beholding” through Visio Divina of icons from the ancient Orthodox Akathistos Hymn, The O Antiphons, The Litany of Loretto, and the Old Testament Wisdom Books. We shall see that there are really two Christmas stories of Incarnation occurring during this season: one occurring in time and space as the incarnation of Christ; another occurring in eternity, as the incarnation of the Divine. We will follow the Contemplative Outreach guidelines for Visio Divina.

Rev. Dr. Mary Atalo is an Archpriest of the Wisdom tradition in the independent Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, and Associate Dean of Sophia Divinity School, the Church’s distant learning Seminary. She is the rector of a newly formed church, “Our Lady of the Bridge” in Union Bridge, MD, a sacramental and contemplative community in the Christian mystical tradition. She had a former 30-year career as an oceanographer, and seeks to bridge science and religion. In 2020, she led the COMW Advent mini-retreat, and has been an advocate of the contemplative prayer practices of Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. William Meninger in daily life.


December 18, 2021
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington (COMW)
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