The Icon of the Encounter (The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple)
Work of Claudio Pastro. Monastery of Encontro, Brazil.
The Icon of the Encounter
Martin Buber affirms that every true life is an encounter. From an encounter is born a relationship. God himself is a relationship, being Love. An encounter achieves a transformation, a conversion. It is a reality from which we emerge different from what we were. Confronted with the other, we become what we are, we enter into ourselves, we get to know ourselves. No one emerges from an encounter unscathed. The ‘I’ becomes a ‘Thou’.
Led by the Spirit, Simeon comes to the Temple. The old man meets a child, takes the child in his arms and lays him on the altar. The child brings a new life into being. The old man is caught up in the newness of the youth of Jesus. He sees the light of the nations, ‘My eyes have seen your salvation’. The parents are lost in wonder. Mary listens to the prophecy of Simeon. The sword pierces her heart. She accepts what he announced by placing a hand on the altar. Joseph communicates in a silence greater than speech. Perhaps he is absorbed in the mystery of the two turtledoves which he is about to offer in sacrifice. The prophetess Anne, bent under the weight of her eighty-four years, never leaves the Temple but sets about praising God and speaking of the Child as a gift of grace. Truly the ‘I’ has become a ‘Thou’.