Feast Day: June 27
Keywords: refuge, protection, motherly comfort, icon
Quote: “Why don’t you just ask?”
Symbols: lance, sponge, cross, nails, unfastened sandal
An icon is a visual prayer and this image of Mary comforting her young son in a moment of fear, brings consolation to anyone who meditates on it. On either side of Mary are the two Archangels, Michael holding the lance and spear and Gabriel holding nails and the cross Jesus will be crucified on. The child Jesus has been so frightened at the sight of these instruments of his future torment that he has run to his mother in tremendous haste, loosening his sandal. Though she is well aware that this suffering is in his future, Mary has such faith in his ultimate redemption that she calmly holds and reassures her son. If God himself can go to Mary for refuge, than anyone should be able to approach her. Her ultimate belief and faith extends to every one of us, no matter how harshly we may judge ourselves. Our Lady of Perpetual help is said to never refuse a request for help, great or trivial. Despite their reticence to invoke her aid, many have reported hearing Mary’s calm voice saying, “Why don’t you just ask?”
Copies of this miraculous icon can be found in tens of millions of homes all over the world. Though its age is unknown, it first made its appearance in the fifteenth century when it was brought to Rome by a wealthy merchant from Crete. His family eventually donated it to the Church of Saint Matthew in Rome. When that church was destroyed in the Napoleonic invasion of 1789, it was hidden by a priest. Sixty-four years later, its discovery so moved the Redemptorist Fathers who were building a new church on that site. Because of its great visual power, they made it their mission to disseminate this image all over the world. The original icon can be found today hanging in the Church of Saint Alphonse Liguori in Rome.
Lance and sponge: Held by St. Michael the Archangel instruments of torture in the crucifixion
Crucifix: Held by St. Gabriel the Archangel, cross of crucifixion
Unfastened sandal: Jesus was so frightened his sandal came off
Novena to Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
See at Your feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a poor sinner who has recourse to you
and confides in you.
O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me! I hear you called the refuge and the hope of sinners;
be my refuge and my hope.
Help me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth your hand to a poor fallen creature
recommends myself to you, and I devote myself to your service forever.
I bless and thank Almighty God, who in His mercy had given me this confidence in you,
which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.
Mary, tender Mother, help me. Mother of Perpetual Help, never allow me to lose my God.
Recite the following prayers 3 times each…