Feastday of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

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.] 

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13 thoughts on “Feastday of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

  1. Thanks, Mme B. I’ll try to have some details up within a couple of days.

    Owen, that does sound like an excellent focus for a retreat. I don’t know that book by Nouwen, but I’m glad you discovered it and found it so helpful. I feel the same way about this book of which I’m speaking, because it has helped me discover things I was not aware of about the icon, even though this particular one has been a part of my life since I was a child.

  2. Great suggestions all.
    I do have a few icons in my prayer area, but have not really taken the “study” of icons as an aid to contemplation very seriously.
    I take this as an invitation to explore this way of prayer more seriously.
    Thanks Gab, Owen, and “hi” to Madame B.
    teresa_anawim

  3. Yes, I believe we’re all invited to understand that so many things have been given to us in order to draw us into contemplation – icons, the rosary, Lectio Divina. But we need to slow down the pace of our lives so that we can have time to do so. That’s the hard part, I have found.

  4. Last night I pulled out my copy of ‘Praying With Icons’ by Jim Forest and had a spiritual feast , Gab. Your post here has instired my to think about icons and use them more for inspiration in prayer.
    A while back I did have an interest in them, but never really ‘contemplated’ them as seriously as they are meant to be.
    The author speaks of the silence of the icons. That part spoke to me last evening. I am going to try to understand this silence in these icons as I read and pray them. My focus is to look for this silence and experience it.
    Thanks for this post, Gabriel.

  5. Prayer is such a power tool. 🙂 It’s always interesting and rewarding to hear about new prayers and other methods to pray.

    Thanks for sharing!

    //Joakim

  6. teresa, now both you and Owen have introduced us to two books some of us may not have been familiar with. Thank you!

    Looking for the silence in the icons and experiencing it – this is giving me something else to reflect on, teresa, as I study what the Redemptorists have written in the little book I have.

    Joakim, from reading over at your site, I have found out that, as a new Catholic, you have just recently begun to say the Rosary. This is one of the most powerful forms of prayer a person can have in his/her life. May the Holy Spirit guide you as you learn more and more about the Rosary.

  7. Way back when I used to Catholic-chat, I spoke often with a dear soul who wanted with all his soul to become a holy icon.

  8. Actually, C, it’s interesting that you should say that, because the book I’m referring to mentions that very thing. Maybe a short post is in order, after I put up the one with more details about the meditations.

  9. God ,Our Father, I turn to you seeking your divine help and guidance as I look for employment in congress. Please give me wisdom to know the right path and lead me to find the proper things to say or do. Please give me strength to weather the trials of life and keep moving moving forwards in all ways. I believe in You and all things are possible with You. I trust in You my Lord Jesus. Amen

  10. Dear Joy, I join with you in prayer for your employment and for whatever difficult circumstances you may find yourself in during this time; I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you and inspire you as well.

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