A Sacred Space for the Holy Spirit
The power of intercession we experience from Mary’s prayers for us is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that lives in Mary because of the Incarnation.
In Luke 1:26-36, we read Mary’s dialogue with the angel Gabriel in which Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. At that moment, she was filled with the Holy Spirit, which never left her. We can see this effect on her everywhere in the New Testament that speaks of events in which she was involved.
Her courage to speak to Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana is the most striking occurrence, confirming that the life of the Holy Spirit is reflected in her. It was through Mary’s bidding that the Lord’s public ministry began.
We see it reflected again in the experience of Pentecost. The Gospels speak of the special space where the Last Supper was celebrated. This room is often called the cenacle or upper room, a holy place or a sacred environment. Mary was among the apostles during their prayers in the cenacle as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit.
When we come before the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we are entering into this same sacred “cenacle space.”
Mary becomes this sacred space for us because of her relationship with the power of the Holy Spirit present within her. Where we find Mary, we also find the presence of the Holy Spirit, which is evident in the miraculous power often experienced by people who pray before this icon.
The sainted Pope Paul VI preached that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary should be connected to devotion to the Holy Spirit. In an address in the Holy Year 1975 he asked: “May we not expect that a deeper understanding of the pure and holy interior bonds which linked and still link the Virgin Mary to the Holy Spirit in the work of man’s redemption will have very fruitful results not only for the development of Catholic dogma and theology, but also for increased devotion both to the Holy Spirit and to her who is Mother of God and Mother of the Church?” (L’Osservatore Romano, May 19-20, 1975).
Similar to Mary, we are called to let the Holy Spirit “overshadow” us (Luke 1:35) in our devotion and veneration of this holy icon. Come, Holy Spirit, through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary your well-beloved Bride. The Spirit and the Bride say: Come. Come, Lord Jesus!
Where we find Mary, we also find the presence of the Holy Spirit.