Our Blessed Mother has many titles. One of the most honored is Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This title is associated with the icon that was given to the Redemptorists by Pope Pius IX when he requested the Redemptorist Missionaries to make her known. As a Redemptorist, this icon is very near and dear to my heart.
One of the features in the icon that speaks to me is that the eyes of Mary look at you when you gaze upon the icon. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who did not look at you? Did it leave you wondering if the person was listening to you? The eye contact of Mary displays her concern for each of us. She is not distracted. The focus of her gaze is on the person who is praying. She is attentive to our needs, and she offers our needs to her Son, Jesus.
Furthermore, there is sadness in her eyes. It is a concerned look that expresses sadness that her Child is in need, and she is willing to help. This is why she is Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Mary is always willing to listen and assist us in any need we have. She has a deep concern for our well-being. She is always calling us into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
We know that the fulfillment of anything that is really lasting or of any real value is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is to be our all-in-all. It is through Jesus that we find meaning and value. If we are in a right relationship with Jesus, we can find the beginnings of all right relationships. It is in Jesus that we find our eternal hope and love. And so it is most fitting that Our Perpetual Help offers us the aid and comfort of her Son.
If Mary is willing to give us Jesus, then she can certainly do good for us in all facets of our lives. Jesus is the ultimate good, and so all other “goods” are of less value. Mary offers us every good through her Son so we may have the assistance and the help we need. Moreover, her eyes never waver, her offer is permanent. She is always watching, waiting, listening, and helping us in all our needs at all times.
What a great comfort this icon has been to millions of people for so many years. As we honor Mary in the month of May, may we do so by listening to and following her Son. May our concern for the world be shown in our words, deeds, and prayers, so that all people may grow closer to the Son of Mary, Jesus.