Today we commemorate Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have had a long-time devotion to Our Blessed Mother under many titles, but began praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Help early in my childhood and continue to pray for her intercession today. She is such a sweet mother who always asks Jesus to grant me that which will draw me closest to Him.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a Byzantine icon from the middle ages that has resided in Rome since the late 1400s. It was brought to Rome near the end of the fifteenth century by a holy merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Eastern Catholics refer to the icon as the "Holy Theotokos of the Passion."
The Message of the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The child Jesus has just seen the angels who have shown him the instruments of his Passion. St. Michael the Archangel holds the lance and gall-sop. St. Gabriel the Archangel holds the Cross and the nails. Frightened by the sight, Jesus has run to his mother’s arms so quickly that he almost lost one of His tiny sandals. It dangles from his foot. Mary holds Him lovingly but her eyes look at us - pleading with us to avoid sin and love Her Son.
His hands are in hers to show that, as a child, Jesus placed Himself in Mary’s hands for protection and to remind us that He now has placed into Her hands all graces, to be given to those who turn to His mother and ask.
The star on Mary’s veil shows her to be the one who brought the light of Christ to the darkened world - the beacon that leads the way to Heaven.
The falling sandal symbolizes a soul clinging to Christ by one last thread--devotion to Mary.
The golden background is symbolic of Heaven and shines to show the heavenly joy Jesus and His mother can bring to tired human hearts.
Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer, but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as you loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and his mercy is from age to age on those who love him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help. Amen.
Prayer To Our Lady of Perpetual Help for Financial Aid
Realizing, dearest Mother of Perpetual Help, that thou art our perpetual help not only in spiritual but also in temporal necessities, we approach thee with submissive and humble hearts because we have a child-like and affectionate trust in thy power and goodness, beseeching thee to assist us in our present financial worry (the needs of all those mentioned and our own personal needs.) Owing to untoward circumstances which have arisen in our lives, we are in dire want and pecuniary embarrassment, being unable to meet our honest debts.
We are not asking, dearest Mother, for wealth, if the possession of it is not in accordance with the holy will of God. We merely beg of thee that assistance which will enable us to satisfy our most pressing obligations. We believe, dear Mother of God, that thou art the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and as such, the instrument and special dispenser of thy divine Son's graces; that thou hast acquired by virtue of thy wonderful dignity, a sweet jurisdiction over all creation. We believe that thou art not only rich and bountiful, but extremely kind and generous to all thy loving and devoted children. We plead with thee, therefore, dear Mother, to obtain for us the help we so urgently need in our present financial difficulty. We thank thee, glories of thy miraculous picture. Amen.