Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"There is nothing too small, I can still find its charm
and paint it in gold and quite big,
I hold it up high without even knowing
whose soul will be fed by it..."

Yesterday belonged to Paraskeva, the dark-eyed saint of women and the earth. In her icon she is often dressed in red with a scroll in one hand and a cross in the other. It seems fitting on her feastday, October 28th, to see her this way, guiding us, instructing in holiness, clean and sanctified; but on Paraskeva Griaznikha, Paraskeva the Dirty, I prefer my small icon of her holding a jar. On this day she is the household Paraskeva, working at a large spinning wheel, spinning out blessings, small helps to make daily tasks into blessings.

Paraskeva is still half-pagan in her role - a saint from a time when distinctions were less harsh, when Catholics knew as well as anyone that the world was alive with the magic of God. She silently helps in our unfinished tasks, punishes the indifferent, and guides us to our proper futures. She is the saint of anticipation, of autumn and of Lent; a saint at home in muddy days, fallen leaves, and the haunting rustles of dying trees agains the bright sky.

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