Mary, mother of Emmanuel

The Emmanuel Community commissioned the icon “Mary, Mother of Emmanuel” from the Benedictine Sisters of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Members of the Emmanuel Community may use the reproduction of the icon in the context of the Community’s mission. (Any commercial use is forbidden. Any use outside the Emmanuel Community is subject to authorization).

Copyright to always be mentioned : © Icône « Marie, Mère de l’Emmanuel » : Bénédictines du Mont des Oliviers – Jérusalem.

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The icon “Mary, Mother of Emmanuel” is freely inspired by the “Virgin of the Sign”. The latter depicts Mary with open hands carrying Christ in a medallion about the prophecy of Isaiah:

«Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the young woman is with child,
and she will give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel. » (Is 7,14)

« Our Lady of the Sign », is the promise of the coming of the Messiah. « Mary, Mother of Emmanuel », it is the promise that is fulfilled, the sign that becomes reality.

In this icon, “Mary, Mother of Emmanuel”, Jesus is carried by Mary and given to the world. Both the Mother and the child have their arms open, but they are oriented differently. For Mary, this gesture of raised arms signifies instead surrender and offering of herself. All open and available, she is at the same time in an attitude of prayer and praise. Jesus, on the other hand, has his arms outstretched and wide open as if to embrace the world, a prefiguration of the redemptive cross. With one hand, he gives his blessing, and with the other, he holds the scriptures that he fulfills in his person.
The link with traditional iconography appears in the attributes of the Virgin Mary, which are the three stars on her cloak, evoking her virginity before, during, and after childbirth.
The downward movement of the hand of God and the Holy Spirit seems to surround Mary with the glory that comes from above. Associated with the mission of her Son, she makes visible to us the mystery of the Church, bearing in her heart Christ the Saviour.
The name of the icon is underlined by the general attitude of the Virgin: available to the work of God, she presents to men the source of Salvation and invites them to welcome the Emmanuel today in their lives.
This icon illustrates the vocation of the Emmanuel Community to manifest and announce “God with us” and is centered on the mystery of the incarnation. It reminds us that: “Love for Mary, the mother of Emmanuel, who first brought him into the world, ensures fidelity to the grace of the first call” (Decree approving the Statutes, 8 December 1992).
 Our Lady of the Sign