No Thanks Necessary

When you’ve done well and another has benefitted by it, why like a fool do you look for a third thing on top – credit for the good deed or a favor in return? Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 7.73

One of the main differences between icons and other paintings: icons are never signed. The person who writes an icon is creating beauty as an expression of prayer and faith – an expression that is designed to foster the prayers and faith of the ones who stand before it. An iconographer is creating something that is meant to be moved through – a beautiful means to a holy encounter with God. Signing it, taking credit for it, might impede that moving through and defeat the purpose of the icon.

If I think of everything I do as creating something beautiful as an expression of prayer and faith, I won’t need to claim credit or expect recognition and thanks. Seeking that third thing just might defeat the purpose of the act – and it certainly won’t help it.

[Quote from The Daily Stoic; Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman; New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2016, July 15th; Icon of Saint Matthew]

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