The Spiritual and Mystical Experience
Veneration of the icon means focusing our attention on a specific element, such as Mary’s face or her right hand, which points to the image of the Child—any aspect that communicates an exchange of energy, a divine presence. The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help presents no written words to be read but rather speaks to us through signs and symbols to be noticed.
Icons are described as “windows” into the mystery of God. Marian icons represent the mystery of the Incarnation. Mary is poised holding the Infant Jesus in her arms offering the Word made flesh to us. This stance of Mary is familiar in our Catholic experience.
The ancient prayer practice of gazing is known as visio divina. Holy gazing draws us into a quiet place of prayer and stillness. This experience in prayer before the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a special grace offered to us.The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help presents no written words. Rather, it speaks to us through signs and symbols.
Often in our hurried lives we tend to speed through devotional prayers. But the purpose of our prayer is to bring us to a holy space where we can experience the loving and healing presence of God’s mystery in our lives. When we combine our devotional prayers with a quiet time of gazing upon the icon, we become present to the spiritual reality of the image of Mary before us; we enter into a special “space of union” with Jesus and Mary.
The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help presents no written words. Rather, it speaks to us through signs and symbols.