OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
In this ancient icon, the child Jesus flees to the comforting arms of His mother in such haste that He nearly loses a sandal. He clings to her for reassurance as He looks with apprehension over His shoulder.
The Archangels Gabriel and Michael hover in the background, bearing the instruments of the Passion. On the left, St. Michael holds the jar filled with sour wine, the reed tipped with a sponge and the lance that would later pierce His side. On the right, St. Gabriel brings the Cross.
Jesus is clothed as an adult, not as a child. He wears a rich cloak, called a himation, which is symbolic of His divine royalty. The Virgin Mary wears a maphorion, or cloak and a veil over her dress. Jesus’ halo includes the letters “I AM,” symbolizing His divinity and referring to His words, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The Greek letters “IC XC” are the abbreviation for “Jesus Christ” and “MP ØY” are the abbreviation for “Mother of God.”
The Greek letters above the Archangels are the abbreviations for their names. Mary's face is calm but expresses sadness, as if recalling Simeon’s words, “… and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35). Also known as “Our Mother of Sorrows,” Christians have venerated this icon for centuries.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
Our Lady 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 your 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, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Amen.
June 27th is also the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Cyril defended the Dogma of Mary as Mother of God at the council of Ephesus and against the heresies of Nestorius. The Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours today is this:
the bishop Cyril courageously taught
that Mary was the Mother of God.
May we who cherish this belief receive salvation
through the Incarnation of Christ Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit
One God, forever and ever.