1. "Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls" - Palestine / Israel
Graffiti painted along the Separation wall, near the Emmanuel Monastery in Bethlehem, includes an icon of the Mother of God emerging on the 8-meter high concrete wall, revealing within its beauty the failure of communities to love one another.
Written at the request of the local faithful and some internationals, the "Icon of Our Lady who brings down walls" was written on the Separation wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem in 2010.
The purpose of their request was clear; an icon that could bring the hope that the wall would come down some day, and that there might be peace and justice in the Holy Land.
According to Ian Knowles, the iconographer who wrote the icon, the inspiration behind this originated from a speech made by Pope Benedict XVI at a special assembly for the Middle East Synod of Bishops in 2010.
During the assembly, His Holiness referred to chapter 12 of the book of Revelation which talks of a woman who is clothed with the sun who endures the hardest of childbirths. He pointed out how relevant is this chapter; that it foretells the suffering of peoples in the Middle East. “That gave me an image of Mary, who is pregnant, clothed with the sun, chased by the beast”.
Before the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land in 2014, graffiti of a giant serpent was painted along the wall that leads to the icon of the Mother of God.
“It is quite prophetic to see this serpent near the icon of Our Lady. In the book of revelation, the woman is chased by the beast, which wants to consume and destroy her child” Ian said. “Once the image was complete, it was as though it called out the hideousness of the wall”.
We beg you, Our Lady who brings down walls, through your ardent intercession,
may your Son break down this wall, the walls of our hearts,
and all the walls that generate hatred, violence, fear, and indifference
between people and between nations.
May your Son bring to birth in this land called Holy
the Love that sprang from the Cross and Resurrection of your dear Son,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
Upturned world, the bankers humbled,
politicians brought to book,
children show new ways of living,
heads will spin and turn to look.
Mary sang, exultant virgin,
birth would change her life and ours,
generations watch with wonder,
shaken like wealth’s shining towers.
Love incarnate’s gentle thunder
wakes the earth to truth and light,
hypocrites meet naked justice,
find no place in fear for flight.
Mary sings, when will we hear her:
revolution born of love,
heralding new dispensation,
cage the hawk and free the dove?
When the prison gates are broken,
when the poor can feast and dine,
then "Magnificat" is bringing
age of justice and new wine.
Wine of joy and celebration,
end of hunger, God is near,
time of endless new beginnings,
birth of Jesus, end of fear.
Tune: "Bethany" Copyright © Andrew Pratt (2011): a Methodist, an Honorary Research Fellow with the Partnership for Theological Education, Manchester; who has recently edited with Jan Berry
Stainer & Bell’s collection, "Hymns of Hope and Healing".
O God of peace, you have established Jerusalem as the Lord's House
and a place of peace, and you have called on all who live there
to love you and prosper. Instill in her inhabitants - Jews, Christians and Muslims,
a hunger for justice and dignity and a resolve to end
the distrust that culminates in violence.
Grant them the wisdom and patience to build a city
where Israeli and Palestinian reside in safety,
free from oppression and committed to the good of all.
In this endeavour, make every one of us agents of your peace.
Forgive us our indifference and stamp out the prejudices that lead to hatred.
Fill us with the reconciling spirit of your presence, so may we join people of good will in the Middle East and throughout the world,
who raise before Jerusalem's gates their insistent Shalom and Salaam:
"Peace be within your walls. . . .Peace be within you."
Information on the icon "Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls" - grateful thanks to Aleteia Blogsite.
Prayer for peace from JesuitResource .com