Online Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help from 18th June

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Welcome to the Online Novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help 2023
June 18th to June 26th, 2023

As we begin the Novena of the Mother of Perpetual Help, we request you to mark yourself a appropriate time to spend in prayer as you follow the video. The link to each video will be sent to you everyday which lasts for about 10 to 14 minutes with a song to Mary, Reflection on the theme of the day, Novena prayer and Thanksgiving prayer, and ends with a hymn to Mary.  Whether you are a devoted follower of the Mother of Perpetual Help or seeking spiritual rejuvenation, we invite you to join us for this profound journey of faith. Participate and experience the profound joy and peace that emanate from the loving presence of our Blessed Mother. It is a time when we come together as a family to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, in our lives. Through her loving presence and maternal care and intercessions, we find solace, hope, and guidance amidst the challenges of our daily lives.

DAY ONE – Reflection on the theme of “The History of the Icon”

History: https://www.cssr.news/perpetual-help/history-of-the-icon/

What is the meaning and message of the icon?

As we look at the icon of OMPH, it is important to remember that it is an ICON, painted on wood by an anonymous artist, in the style of the Virgin of the Passion that represents the Christian mystery of Redemption.

I have been using the word icon. Yes, that is what it is. What is an icon?. Icon comes from the Greek word meaning ‘image’. Christians first used the word icon to describe Jesus who was the image of the invisible God. Then they used the word for all Christians who through baptism were formed in the image of Christ as icons of God and temples of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, when we come to the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we come with this awareness, that the icon leads us to the mystery of redemption, of salvation, of God saving us. That is the mystery being represented in our icon. God saves us, redeems us.

Day One: https://youtu.be/gjc_ufxqzTo

DAY TWO – Reflection on the theme of “The Golden Space and the Greek Letters”

The Golden Space

The Icon is bathed in the color of gold. The figures in the Icon too have gold all over them. The golden background is a synonym of heaven, of endless joy, of paradise, resurrection, the state of glorification. Therefore, the color is a reminder to us that this is the plan of God our salvation. The figures in the Icon: Mary, Jesus and the angels enter through the doors of the icon from the eternity of glory into our earthly world to bring solace and hope, to usher the believer who comes to pray before the icon into the new dimension of resurrection and glory. In and through the Icon, the believer experiences a bit of heaven and a taste of the resurrection.

The inscriptions placed on the Icon.

*On top of the picture to its left and right the title is indicated by the Greek letters MR and Th U   which abbreviate the words MētērTheou meaning, Mother of God. These Greek letters proclaim loudly that the picture is that of the Mother of God.

*The Greek letters that we see close to the head of Jesus are an abbreviation of the name of Jesus: IC XC = Jesus Christ.

Day Two: https://youtu.be/WUMQkjKdy7I

DAY THREE – Reflection on the theme of  “Mary’s Face”

Mary’s face is veiled, as it were, with sweet sadness: deep down in her heart, she is meditating on the bitterness of her Son’s passion. She is shown as the Mother of the Crucified, suffering for the sake of humanity, which has rejected him.

Mary’s gaze is towards the viewer, yet, it reaches much deeper into the very heart of the person of faith who comes to pray before the Icon. Her gaze invites the believer to partake of the love of her Son.

Mary’s gaze and her whole posture give and impression of order, clam and dignity. There is a gentleness and kindness awakening in us the love of Christ and offers assurance of her motherly support for all the children entrusted to her under the cross.

Video Link: Day Three: https://youtu.be/5tVQ3oeruYc

DAY FOUR – Reflection on the theme of  “The Robes of Mary”

In the Icon, Mary is clad in a dark blue (ultramarine) mantle, with a green lining, which, covering her head, falls in elaborate folds onto her shoulders and ends in a kind of cape with ornamental golden tassels. Under the mantle, we can see a red tunic. On the Virgin’s head, under the veil, we can see a sea-green bonnet covering her hair.

The Virgin’s ultramarine mantle emphasizes her universal motherhood with which she covers and protects all her children, as if with a mantle. It also signifies the heavenly power that redeems the world, the salvation of the world that comes from God: “For nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37).

Mary’s red tunic points to her great love and sacrifice. It is a reminder of the Holy Virgin’s participation in the life, passion, and death of Jesus. It is also a symbol of her openness to the Spirit through whom she conceived the Son of God and so became Mother.

Day Four: https://youtu.be/IrdwOZjN8Oo

DAY FIVE – Reflection on the theme of  “The Robes of Jesus”

In the Icon, Christ is wearing a green tunic girded with a red girdle across the hips and a golden brown outer garment.

The Green color of Christ’s tunic signifies the life of which God is the source. Green signifies life and therefore Christ is the Everlasting Word that brought new life to all.

The color brown of the earth underlines the extraordinary gesture of humility and poverty, of humanness that the Son of God embraced in becoming human, a young child, the Son of Mary.

The red girdle on Christ’s tunic emphasizes the shedding of the blood on the cross out of love for the salvation of all. It is a symbol of martyrdom out of love.

The combination of green and brown and red becomes a sign of Christ’s divinity and humanity. God became human out of love, the greatest love, one that took him to the cross.

Day Five: https://youtu.be/3eLRXhSJsu0

DAY SIX – Reflection on the theme of  “The Hands of Mary and Jesus”

The Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a type of icon called an Hodegetria Icon: She who shows the way. The Virgin holds the child in her arms presenting him to the world for adoration. In this Icon Mary’s right hand not only upholds the hands of Jesus, but also points to Him: The Mother’s hand does not embrace the Son’s hand, but rather, it is straightened in a gesture pointing to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The gesture of the connected hands of Jesus and Mary actually forms the geometric center of the icon, it is there that our gaze falls in the first place. It is from this gesture that the crucial message of the Icon emerges: Mary points to her Son Jesus Christ as our Way, Truth, and Life.

Day Six: https://youtu.be/v960muapz2Q

DAY SEVEN – Reflection on the theme of  “The Angels and the Stars”

The Icon of Perpetual Help, features two archangels, as is evident from the abbreviated inscriptions: Michael, on the left-hand side of the viewer, and Gabriel on the right-hand side. Their presence defines the icon’s Divine sphere, the dimension in which they represent the presence of the invisible God and His message. Both the angels are depicted in the position of adoration: turned towards Jesus and His Mother, they are represented in a solemn bow. They appear as a guard of honor to the Saviour and His Mother Mary, the Queen of the Angels.

Gabriel holds a cross and four nails: The archangel who announced the incarnation of the Lord to Mary now announces the passion and death of the Lord on the cross.

Michael holds a vase of vinegar, a spear, and a lance with a sponge. These are instruments precisely corresponding to the description of the passion in the Gospel.

The instruments of passion presented by the angels in the icon are not so much symbols of execution as trophies of victory, i.e. salvation, as the Saviour’s passion ended in the triumph of the resurrection.

In the Icon, the eight-pointed star on the veil above Mary’s forehead is a reference to the star of Bethlehem, guiding the Magi to Jesus, and thus announcing Mary to be a guide towards Christ. The Star is also a sign of Divine presence that permeates her person.

There is also a cross-shaped star on the Virgin’s veil, emphasizing the participation of the Mother of God in the mission of her Son to Redeem the world.

Day Seven: https://youtu.be/wO-FlhXsWLg

DAY EIGHT – Reflection on the theme of “Jesus Divine and Human”

Amidst the background of Divine light and grace, Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life is also a human being. His humanity was so very necessary for the salvation of human beings. The humanity of Jesus is portrayed therefore through the falling slipper and the underside of his foot. While Western art displays the humanity of Jesus in his bare body, the barefoot in Oriental art and in Icons points to the humanity of the Lord.

Jesus the Man clothed with Divinity aware of the mission to save the world through his life-giving death on the cross has his eyes turned and fixed on the one who sent him on this mission, his Father. The Father cannot be portrayed in an Icon and so the serene eyes of Jesus fixed on his Father finds strength and grace from the Spirit of his Father to carry out the mission entrusted to him.

Mary points us to Jesus who is the Way to the Father. The Way is the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love.

Day Eight: https://youtu.be/YTSpwqSsNa0

DAY NINE – Reflection on the theme of “The Perpetual Help, Mary leads us to Jesus”

The Perpetual Help The Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help testifies to the fact that God was the first to love us, to choose us and to reveal himself to us, so as to invite us, in his immeasurable mercy, to enter into eternal friendship with him. It is He who comes forward to meet us in this Icon; it is His infinite Help (salvation) that is real in this Icon, in the arms of Mary, Jesus the Christ. Jesus is Our Perpetual Help. Mary is beautiful because she reflects in herself the perpetual, eternal help of God Almighty, Jesus, whom she brought forth and presents to the believer.

The Holy Image Mary is indeed perpetual help for the faithful contemplating her, most importantly through her transforming presence in the icon. She is constantly accessible to the faithful praying before her holy image, watches over them, and covers them with her mantle of understanding and comfort. She is also the exemplar of what we become by contemplating her icon, and of what we will be in glory thanks to her intercession. She is a luminous example of the acceptance of the Word of God, of becoming transparent to the Word, so that it may reside within us and radiate to all of creation.

Mary is always a help to us, for she guides us towards her Son, points Him out to us and teaches us how to be true to him, for HE is our Perpetual Help. Only he has life in Himself; indeed, He is life itself, only He is the Way to the Father, and so only in this way will we find our true happiness. He, who is most truly Our Perpetual Help and His Mother assists us by leading us to Him.

Day Nine: https://youtu.be/la6d0DAgn9Q

FEAST DAY – Reflection on the theme of “Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer”

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help On her feast day this year we reflect on the theme embraced by the Redemptorists for the next Six Years, “Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer.” Mary is Mother of the Redeemer who is the first Missionary of Hope sent by the Father to bring us Hope. Jesus the Missionary of Help brought the gift and message of hope to a people in darkness and pain. He did this in the following ways: He accompanied them, especially the poor and most abandoned so that they could feel that they belonged to the Father. He gathered them together so that they could be one people, children of the Father on journey towards the Kingdom of the Father, a Kingdom of love, forgiveness, and mercy. He struggled with those struggling for justice and peace and for a better world even to the point of dying for them. He finally Prayed for them that they all be one in the love of the Father. The Mother of Jesus united herself with the Mission of her Son Jesus Our Hope and Our Redeemer. She was a Missionary of Hope like her son to the disciples as she accompanied them in those moments after the passion and Resurrection, gathered them in the room at the first Pentecost, she struggled with them and will all her children in suffering for justice and peace and she prays constantly for all her children before her Son. Redemptorists today are Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer accompanying the poor and abandoned today, gathering all people as one family of the Lord towards the Kingdom of God, struggling with all those who are victims of injustice and violence proclaiming justice and peace, and finally praying for all daily that we might be true children of the Father. On the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we all commit to be Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of her Son Jesus Our Redeemer in accompanying, gathering, struggling with and above all praying with and for each other. Feast day greetings and blessings from the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus and the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Rome!

Link to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyNJbAK28-c

Fr. Ivel, a Professor of Sacred Theology, will guide us through this nine-day journey of prayer and contemplation on the Icon of the Mother of Perpetua Help. With his wisdom and profound understanding of our faith, he will illuminate the messages of the Novena, helping us to deepen our connection with Mary and grow closer to God.

During this Novena, we will explore various aspects of our faith, including the importance of trust, humility, and perseverance. Through inspiring homilies, heartfelt prayers, and uplifting hymns to Mary, we will be inspired to surrender ourselves to the loving embrace of the Mother of Perpetual Help and experience the transformative power of her intercession.

One can avail of the recorded videos uploaded each day on Social media platforms:

Website: www.cssr.news

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@scalanews8920 (Scala News)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CSsR.en/ (C.Ss.R. – Redemptorists English)

Each day a video will be uploaded (starting from the 17th evening) which lasts for about 10 to 12 minutes with a song to Mary, a short Reflection on the theme of the day, a Novena prayer, and a Thanksgiving prayer, and ends with a hymn to Mary.  Whether you are a devoted follower of the Mother of Perpetual Help or seeking spiritual rejuvenation, we invite you to join us for this profound journey of faith. Participate and experience the profound joy and peace that emanate from the loving presence of our Blessed Mother.

Scala News