Icon of Love: Mary looks at us


The main theme of refection of the second day of the Triduum for the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was the Icon of Love. It will also accompany us as a theme during the special year dedicated to her.

In his homily Fr. Giovanni Congiu said, “This second day, we want to pause in contemplation before the image and look carefully and with devotion at the figure of Mary. The scene that is represented is that of a mother with her child who is embraced at a particular time; the instruments of the Passion frighten him and so he naturally seeks refuge in his mother who gives him the confidence he needs to overcome that moment. In a situation like this, we should expect that the mother looks at her baby and tells him reassuring words. But even if we look superficially at the Icon, we realize now that Mary does not look at Jesus: her tender and attentive gaze reaches whoever stands before her, reaches us to those who look at this icon.”

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“Mary looks at us and that is the comforting message to those look at the Icon. She is watching us because she is our Mother.”

It is always important for our Christian life to accept seriously the motherhood of Mary, and so we welcome her motherhood in our lives. In 1970,  Blessed Paul VI visited Cagliari, in Sardegna, Italy.  Remember that this was just about 5 years after Vatican II. It was a time when we were living through the challenging time of its implementation,  when there was no lack of confusion, and so there were even voices that said that one could relativize the figure of Mary and that what really counts is the relationship with Christ… Against this background, Paul VI said this: “Christ appears in the arms of Mary; and it is from her, that we have Him, in his very first relationship with us. He is human like us; He is our brother because of the maternal ministry of Mary”. If we are Christians, we have to be Marian, i.e. we must recognize the essential, vital and providential relationship which unites Mary to Jesus and opens for us the way that leads us to Him.

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Mary is our mother and we are called to be her children, to trust in recognizing her as our mother.

We want then to entrust ourselves to our Mother as her children, that Jesus has given us knowing with certainty that if she looks at us it is because Jesus looks at us and cares for us as our brother and Redeemer.

(From the celebration of the Triduum, the church of St. Alphonsus in Rome)

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