CONTEMPLATING AND INVOKING OUR MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP
Prayer for Each Day:
(Looking at her image)
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother of Perpetual Help, I am going to look to you to discover your Icon, the outstanding symbols, the important lessons, the mysterious nuances that Your inspired artist wanted to depict in Your picture. I am not only going to learn about them, but also try to learn, O admirable Teacher, what You want to teach me about Your Son and about our God, father of all love.
Help me to faithfully follow Your Son, Jesus Christ. Awaken in my understanding and in my heart, the faith, hope and love with which You want me to behold you and invoke you so that I will live with unlimited confidence in Your perpetual help. AMEN (pray a Hail Mary)
Contemplating the Archangel Gabriel
Mother of Perpetual Help, the Archangel Gabriel of the Annunciation, appears in your icon carrying a cross and nails. He reminds us of Nazareth; it was he who descended to one of the fifty humble homes in the village. There he met you and announced the Incarnation: that the Son of God, by an act of the Holy Spirit, would make himself our Brother by becoming in your womb one with us in our human nature.
In Nazareth, you raised Jesus in an atmosphere of simplicity and work. You, Mother used to take Jesus’ hands in yours to teach Him to pray; you taught Him the Psalms and the prayers of your people.
Dearest Mother, servant of the Lord and simple housewife, teach us to love our homes and fill them with joy and understanding. Help us to build a society that is both just and fraternal, where there is bread and work for all.
Contemplating the Archangel Michael
On your right, at the level of your shoulders, we see the Archangel Michael, leader of the celestial armies and zealous defender of the Lord’s glory. He reminds us that only God is Lord of the Universe and that His Kingdom is a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
The Archangel holds a sponge and a lance in the folds of the green mantel. With the sponge, the lips of your dying Son were moistened as His mouth and throat burned with thirst. With the lance, His side was pierced and from it flowed water and blood. But your Son did not die a failure; on the third day His heavenly Father raised Him up. From then on, the lance, the sponge and the cross have become the symbols of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. What were signs of disgrace are now symbols of triumph.
O Mother of Perpetual Help, give us faith in the power of Your Son and in the purifying and restoring power of His sacred blood. He gave His life for everyone because His strength was anchored in love.
Contemplating the Letters on the Icon
On both sides of your haloed head, we see some large letters. They are the initials that mean “Mother of God”. And next to the head of your Divine Son, there are some initials the mean “Jesus Christ”.
Because you are the Mother of the Son of God made man, Jesus Christ, you are also our Perpetual Help, our certain, tireless intercessor; you are the powerful means to obtain what we ask of you. You are the Mother of God. That is your unique, incomparable title.
There are many mothers with illustrious sons, even as there are innumerable women of great influence in the areas of power, the arts and the sciences. But you are the one that we praise, we venerate and rejoice in, above all other creatures. As God continues to show us His mercy through you, generation after generation, we call you “Blessed”.
Holy Mary, “blessed among all women”, pray for us.
Final Prayer (composed by St. John Paul II)
O Virgin of Perpetual Help, great sign of our hope, Holy Mother of the Redeemer, we invoke Your name. Help your people who desire to be renewed. Give us joy as we walk towards the future in conscious and active solidarity with the poorest of our brothers and sisters, announcing to them in a new and courageous way, the Gospel of Your Son, the beginning and the end of all human relationships that aspire to live a true, just and lasting peace. As does the Child Jesus, Whom we admire in this venerable icon, so we also want to hold your right hand. You have both the power and the goodness to help us in every need and circumstance of life. This moment is yours. Come then, and help us; be for us our refuge and our hope. (Mention your petitions here, especially for the needs of Cardinal Burke as well as his continued good health.) AMEN.
Source: Noel Londono, C.Ss.R., Liguori Publications (Used with Permission)
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