It had not occurred to me before that in the Icon of the Mother of God, especially in the Icons such as the Vladimir Icon and the Sweet Kissing Icon, Christ is holding on to His Mother. The typology and doctrine of the Church is clear. The Theotokos is the Church, or the Church is type of Mary, the Mother of Jesus; or you might even say that who Mary is, the Church is called to become. We are all called to conceive by the Holy Spirit Christ in our hearts and to bear Him, or bring Him forth in the world.
But this very Christ, who is God, clings to us. God as a man, as a human child, clings to us. It is almost embarrassing. God becomes like a child grasping his mother, clinging, refusing to let go. God loves us that much.
Unlike a merely human child, the God-man as child experiences no separation anxiety, no insecurity, no need for motherly comfort. Rather, He senses our need to be loved, our need to be clung to, our need to be reassured again and again of our Father's love for us. And this is how our Father shows us His love, by becoming our child and clinging to us, wrapping His arms around our necks and not letting go.
What condescension! What humility! What amazing trust in us, who continually demonstrate our unfaithfulness. God submits to the abuse of our neglect. God waits for us to notice Him, to come to Him, to hold Him in our arms.
But will we hold Him in our arms as Mary did? Will we let go of other things to hold Christ? You can't have arms full of burdens and hold Christ. You cant have hands busy with other things and hold Christ. You can't serve two masters.
Of course, we don't hold Christ in our physical arms as Mary did; rather, we hold Christ with the invisible arms of our heart--by our inner attention. What busies the invisible arms and hands of our hearts are fears, fears like balls we must juggle, keeping our mind and heart busy, consuming our attention, but going nowhere, going only around in circles, occasionally falling, but always drawing us back into the same busy circle of anxiety. The arms and hands of our hearts are too busy to hold Jesus--who so firmly clings to us.
In my life I have responsibilities. I have balls I have to keep in the air. That is why the quiet time is so important. I need to set down the balls, the responsibilities, for a little while every day. I have to wrap my arms around Jesus--even if just for a little while. I cannot hold on to Him very long. I know my love is weak, my attention is scattered, my life is busy. But He clings to me. He clings to me waiting for the arms and hands of my heart to be empty, for me to let go internally of the juggling balls which are my responsibilities in this world so that I can hold Him. And holding Him, even for a moment, makes all of the difference. For a brief moment I am somewhat like the Theotokos. For a brief moment, I am moving toward becoming the Icon I see before me.