Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the patron Saint for this blog. The 500 yr. old Byzantine Catholic icon seen here depicts this title. In it Mary is comforting the child Jesus who has just fled into her arms. He is terrified after seeing a vision of the cross, instrument of His torture and death. In fact He is so terrified that one of His sandals is falling off from the run. Notice He is not burying His head in her bosom. He is holding her hands for comfort as He faces His future.
All the gospels are very clear about our Lord being terrified in the Garden of Gethsemane. As a man He turned to His Father for solace. As a child it is likely He, fully human, ran to His mother’s arms when He was hurt or frightened. What child wouldn’t? Mary, always faithful, would have consistently pointed Jesus toward His Father and His mission. Remember, she was the one who encouraged Him to perform His first miracle, launching His ministry that would end in His torture and death (John 2:1-12). In the icon, Mary is looking at us almost as if to say, “I will comfort you but you must face your cross with my Son in faith.”
Throughout the centuries many have emotionally and spiritually fled to Our Lady of Perpetual Help seeking solace from abuse, neglect, persecution, misfortune, and the hearing of words pronouncing a serious medical or psychological diagnosis. We who are afflicted with psychological ills, mild and severe, can do the same as we try to grow in holiness. As Catholic Christians we may struggle with depression, anxiety, mania, obsessive-compulsive conditions, and other problems but we are healthy when we follow our Lord and seek Him with a sincere heart.
Pray for us Our Lady of Perpetual Help, that we may turn our face to Jesus and stay the course in following Him even during our trials. Amen.