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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artwork Narrative:

This icon received the title "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" in Western Europe. The pose was first painted in the Balkan countries in the fourteenth century. The Christ Child has run to His mother and jumped into her arms after seeing two angles holding the instruments of His future passion. In His haste, one sandal has come off. The Christ Child continues to look, in fear and astonishment, at the angel holding the cross. The Mother looks out at the world with compassion.

According to Byzantine Christian theology, Christ’s passion and death are not seen as a debt paid to a wrathful Father. Jesus Christ, as person, is God’s answer to the human condition. The Christ embraces all suffering and oppression in solidarity with humanity. "Hades seized a body, and lo! It discovered God. It seized earth, and, behold! It encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and life is freed."
—Saint John Chrysostom

Her feast day is June 27.

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In this novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help we pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary in asking for her assistance. This picture of the Blessed Mother with her Divine Son above has helped her provide strength, comfort and even miracles to the faithful for centuries!

Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying. Purest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, Blessed Lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you. In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you! I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you Mother of Perpetual Help. Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me and grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.

(Then say three Hail Marys).

First placed in the Church of San Matteo in Rome in 1499, the picture was thought to be lost at one point after Napoleon’s armies sacked that church in 1798. Fortunately, however, it was in the care of the Augustinian fathers until Pope Pius IX ordered that the icon be given to the Redemptorist order at the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome in 1866 for public viewing once again. Since then it has been copied and venerated in churches and homes all over the world.