Sister Wendy's ongoing "pilgrimage of desire" to view the earliest surviving icons.
"Contemplating the icon, with faith and love, draws us out of our material world and into that divine world to which we will only have full access after death. On this earth, we live in His kingdom, but in hope and faith, not in experience. These early icons with their pure desire to praise God draw us very strongly into this unseen reality."
In Encounters with God Sister Wendy Beckett, a contemplative nun and beloved art commentator, traveled to remote churches and monasteries to view the earliest icons of Mary. In Real Presence she resumes this journey to see additional early icons of Jesus and the saintsicons that are among the few to survive the wholesale destruction of icons in the early eighth century. In contrast with the familiar and magnificent icons of later history, these early icons have a haunting simplicity and unfamiliar spiritual power. They come to us from a time closer to that of Christ, when faith was still alive with wonder and possibilities, and these images, a vehicle for prayer, can truly convey his real presence.