The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Of course, the Roman icon is famous around the world. It’s a deep picture. Little Jesus already knows that He will one day be crucified, because He is divine. St. Michael and St. Gabriel show Him the instruments of His suffering and death. But in His humanity, He has run so fast to His Mother for comfort that He has kicked off one sandal and is barely wearing it. Mary, knowing by Simon and Anna’s prophecy that He will suffer and so will she, holds her Son close while she takes her first look at the instruments of the Passion.

Christianity is not about being spared all troubles. We are not going to be treated better than Our Lord and Teacher, Our God and Brother. If we mean to reign with Him, we must carry His Cross and suffer with Him, and sometimes, we will even have to go on the Cross with Him. If we want a crown of glory, we have to wear the crown of thorns.

That said, we should pray always for our wants and needs, because Jesus told us to. We should also thank God often, both when we are released from trials and when we are put through them.

The title and picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are associated with some really remarkable miracles. In Haiti in 1882, a Candlemas procession in her honor was followed five days later by both the end of a terrible drought and a smallpox epidemic.

There are a ton of different prayers and novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Most of them are products of Italian or Liguorian spirituality, so yeah, lots of flowery poetic language and pleading! (Nothing wrong with that, but I like to warn folks what they’re in for.) The good old “Memorare” is also associated with this title, as is the Rosary.

Here’s part of a new one I didn’t know: “The Praises of Mary,” collected in 19th century Ireland from an oral tradition in the Irish tongue. It’s legendarily attributed to St. Lomman from the 7th century, but it seems likely that most of it is medieval and/or modern. But it’s good stuff anyway.

Here’s a short excerpt from the prayers near the end:

“Stretch forth thy hand to help us; deliver us from our bondage.
We are thy children; thou art our mother.
As little children we come to thee; we know no fear.
O Mary, He changed water into wine for thee,
Even as He said, “My hour has not yet come.”
Now He would not refuse thee, when you plead for us, thy children.
O Mary, come quickly to our aid.
Do not let us stray from the fold;
The wolf is waiting to destroy us.
To your praise, there shall be neither night nor day.

Adoration to the Father who created thee!
Adoration to the Son Who took flesh from thee!
Adoration to the Holy Spirit, thy Divine Spouse!
Three in One, One in Three.
Equal in all things.
To Him be glory
For ever.
For ever.
For ever.
Amen.”

1 Comment

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One response to “The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

  1. Nothing wrong with that, but I like to warn folks what they’re in for.

    I appreciate it. Styles of prayer, like styles of artwork, hit different folks in different ways.
    I really dislike the elaborate free-form style of prayer that’s very common at things like Thanksgiving– prefer either simple and to the point, said and then thought on for a bit, or the verbal version of meditating on the relations between supporting themes. I think it’s because too many people use the free-form style for things other than praying, in the context of praying.

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