We live in a world in which addiction is common. It is not just addiction to drugs or alcohol, but it can also be addiction to ther things such as material things or wealth. It is something which destroys families and creates violence. Indeed, our situation is no different than that of the ancient Romans in some ways. We have grown used to seeing things and hearing things that wouldn’t be appropriate for our grandparents or great-grandparents.
Yet God has given us solutions to our problems in more ways than one. In Russia, for example, there is a wonder-working icon that has been known to cure hundreds and thousands of people who suffer from alcoholism and drug addictions. The icon is called Our Lady “The Inexhaustible Cup.”
Our Lady’s hands are raised in the traditional position for prayers. In the West, it is commonly known as the orans position. The Child Jesus is portrayed in front of Our Lady and His hands are also raised in the same position. He is not shown with His full body. Rather His body is enshrined in a little chalice.
To me, the icon means several different things. One of the most important is that Our Lady is here to lead us to her Son. It has always been that way. At the marriage feast at Cana, Our Lady told the stewards to do whatever Jesus told them to do. At Fatima, Our Lady told the children that her Immaculate Heart would triumph over every single adversity we would face in our time. Yet this triumph is not only of the Immaculate Heart! No, the Sacred Heart will triumph, too. The same goes for the icon. Our Lady is leading us to her Son.
Yet why would Jesus be portrayed in a chalice and what on earth does the title mean? It is traditional in some Eastern Catholic churches and Orthodox churches to portray the Child Jesus lying in a cup. This icon is usually right above the altar doors on the iconostasis. Like all icons, this one is a symbol of Christ’s Real Presence. The Body of Christ in the chalice is the same body that we receive in Holy Communion.
It is from Christ Himself that we receive an inexhaustible amount of grace throughout our lifetime. Our Lady leads us to her Son and she asks us to come with her and drink from the waters. Sometimes, we may resist and we may not understand. Yet we must drink from the waters in order to save ourselves and others. If we don’t drink, how can we expect to live?
So it is that those drug addicts and alcoholics in Russia came to this icon and prayed before. Many of them were cured of their addictions and their problems. Perhaps, we do not have the same problems as these people do. Yet we can also pray to Our Lady under this title to be strong in any temptation and to be able to fight whatever the devil throws at us.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!