On this feastday of my Patroness, I would like to begin to share with you a method of meditating upon Our Lady’s icon, as outlined by the Redemptorists.
In, “Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Icon, Favors and Shrines“, the Redemptorist fathers write: “An icon is an object of meditation. When we come before an icon with an attitude of prayer, we can deepen our understanding of the mysterious reality that it represents and better appreciate the value of liturgical prayer. Icons were created to foster contemplation.”
If we were using this method to say a novena, we would focus on the following points one-by-one each day for nine days, but we can approach the icon in meditation and prayer in this way at any time, spending some quiet moments reflecting on each of the points in one sitting.
- The First Day: Contemplating the Archangel Gabriel
- The Second Day: Contemplating the Archangel Michael
- The Third Day: Contemplating the Letters on the Icon
- The Fourth Day: Contemplating the Left Hand of Mary
- The Fifth Day: Contemplating “Hand in Hand”
- The Sixth Day: Contemplating the Child in Your Arms
- The Seventh Day: Contemplating the Star
- The Eighth Day: Contemplating the Colours of the Icon
- The Ninth Day: Contemplating the Eyes of Mary
In the next post, we will take a closer look at each point, in order to help us understand how this icon of Our Mother actually directs us to Jesus (doesn’t she always?), and we will see why this icon, as the Redemptorist fathers write, “is a synthesis of the mysteries of Salvation”. I would like to end for today with a prayer composed by Pope John Paul II, which the Redemptorists have included in their book:
“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. Amen.”
[The beautiful little book which I am using for this post can be found online here, at Liguori Publications. The description doesn’t do it justice, and the price is hard to believe, considering the quality of the content and the beauty of the publication itself.]