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 Star
On your head, gracious Mother, we see a star. It reminds us of the star that guided the Wise Men of the Orient to Bethlehem to worship the Infant Jesus. You are like that Star of Bethlehem: you guide us to Jesus and point out where we can find Him – in His Word, in the Eucharist, in the silence of prayer, and in our brothers and sisters, and especially, in the poor and abandoned.
After the Resurrection of your Son, you accompanied the first disciples in vigilant prayer. Thus you were among the Apostles at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit began the preaching of the Good News to the whole world. You accompanied the new Church in its first missionary steps.
Holy Mary, Star of Evangelization, help us to fulfill our mission as followers of your Son. Bless the efforts of all who proclaim the Good News.
Contemplating the Colors of the Icon
Your Icon, Holy Mother, is made up of contrasts. The Child’s sandal is falling while His hands are tightly clutching yours. The instruments of the Passion are carried, wrapped in a cloak, as if they were just collected after the Resurrection. The colors that the artist chose accentuate these contrasts: the blue, red and green of the clothing and the gold background.
The tunics you are wearing is read and the cloak that covers it is blue. Did the artist want to remind us that you are a created person (red), but at the same time recalling that the Holy Spirit covered you with His Presence and grace (blue)? On the other hand, the Child wears a green tunic, while His cloak and sash are in shades of red. Is this a sign that He is the Divine Life (green) that has taken on our humility (red)?
The artist distinguishes five levels of depth in the Icon. The first level: the hand that points to the Savior. Then the Child – Jesus Christ. The third level is your own presence. Further back are the angels with the instruments of the Passion. And as a general background, the golden light. Since this icon is about Our Savior, it shows him in Nazareth, on Calvary and in his glory.
Mary, teach me to live the contrasts of life with optimism, the birthing and dying that goes on each day. Help me to understand more of the mystery of our salvation that passes through cross and pain to reach triumph and Resurrection.
Contemplating the Eyes of Mary
We end this wonderful meditation of discovering in your image the reason for your name. It is all present in your eyes. You are our Perpetual Help because of your eyes, those eyes that follow us from left to right, that see us from any point from which we seek you. They watch us as eyes filled with love and a desire to protect us. They follow us perpetually, whatever our situation be; our detours, our absences, our returns.
You are our Perpetual Help because, as the icon shows us; your gesture of sustaining Jesus is eternal, since you now are forever at His side as our faithful intercessor. To be Perpetual Help is your mission, Mediatrix of God’s inexhaustible grace, despite the immensity of our faults.
Grant us the favor of responding to your Perpetual Help by always coming to you in persevering prayer.
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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