Category: The Redeemer, Mary, & You

A column by PHILLIP DABNEY, CSsR focuses solely on our Mother Mary and the role she plays in our life of faithful devotion. An accompanying sidebar by DAN KORN, CSsR, is an examination of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and offers insight into how to read the icon.

Conformity as Our Way of Life

Upon the completion of her earthly life, Mary, the Mother of God, was taken to heaven, body and soul. Mary’s assumption into heaven in her entirety is inspirational and relates God’s desire for us—to be united with our Lord, in body and soul, for eternity.  To join God in heaven’s...

The Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

June 27, the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, is an opportunity for us to spend time reflecting on Mary’s place in our Catholic tradition, especially her role in the life of the Church. The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, in its highly developed symbolism, reveals...

Our Passion

What is passion? Dictionary definitions include “ardent affection, devotion to an activity or concept, overmastering feeling or conviction,” and yes, “the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death.” Truly, Christ’s was—and is—the greatest passion because it is driven by love of God and humanity....

The Maternal Tenderness of God

The image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a manifestation of the tenderness of God—demonstrated in how the icon is painted (written). I’ve often discussed Mary’s gaze in this column and received many letters relating the effect Mary’s look has had on people as they pray before the icon. ...

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...

Let Us Promise

At prayer, take care that the words don’t become rote and lose their meaning. Consider the text in the Angelus: “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” That is something to ponder. Christ promises us peace, refuge, mercy,...

The Icon Speaks with Colors

When I took piano lessons as a boy, the teacher reminded me that music was a language that’s read and spoken by the performers. She said that through the notes they play and how they play them, musicians reveal the underlying meaning of the written text. The same idea exists...

A Source of Healing

Faith engages the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and can lead us to feel healing from God. To assist our gazing prayers, I encourage using the Bible as an aid. Several passages show the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. Remember, when we look upon...

The Possibility of the Miraculous

The icon is an efficacious sign of a real presence because it is a sacramental. Icons become a great means of holiness because of the ritual of blessing and the veneration of the image. This allows for the experience of the miraculous interventions and favors bestowed upon those who pray...

The Serenity of Mary and the Icon

There is a common theme within the many letters people send me about their experiences of praying before the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. I’m impressed that all of them comment about how the serenity of the icon captures their attention during their time of prayer. In the...

Always in Our Midst

This year, the feast of Pentecost takes place in May. It is a wonderful day to reflect on the place of Mary in the beginning of the life of the Church. In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke writes about a pre-ascension meeting of Jesus and his followers. “While...

Jesus, the Sacred Meaning of Our Lives

Everything about Jesus, every action flows out of his experience and relationship with God. This is why Jesus repeatedly sought out moments of intimate, silent encounter with his Father. He was motivated, not out of obligation, but by a longing to drink from the well of Divine Presence that nourishes...

The Golden Splendor of God’s Reign

Jesus’ life and his awareness gave his followers hope for a change of heart that could perceive the Divine Presence that brought them all together. They caught this from Jesus and followed him because they realized they were better people just by being with him. Through his presence, Jesus was...

Maternal and Miraculous

In the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help we encounter a particular understanding of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Church. The iconography we read and pray opens the door to an avenue of miraculous experiences. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the restoration of the...

Mary, Teacher of Discipleship

The writings we’ve shared in this column have opened the door to explore the in-depth meaning of the elements that comprise the composition of the icon imagery of the Mother of God. This message illustrates a clear path to walk toward Jesus, hand in hand with Mary, our guide. Ultimately,...

Shimmering Gold

Fr. Ken Sedlak, CSsR Welcome into the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It is the place that Jesus called the reign of God. He told us that this reign is not a physical place but makes its physical dwelling in our hearts. As discussed in previous columns, an...

The Evangelical Life of Mary

Br. Daniel Korn,CSsR / Fr. Ken Sedlak, CSsR The icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help continues to be an instrument of evangelization. Pope Francis speaks of Mary as the “Star of Evangelization.” He presents Mary as the pilgrim of proclamation because of what is said of her in the...

Holy Gazing

Visio Divina, a term used in the practice of contemplative prayer, means “holy gazing.” This refers to the practice of looking into something with intention and purpose, focusing on a certain object. In our case, the “something” is the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. You may be familiar...

Breathing the Divine Breath With Mary

Prayer is the intimacy of being honestly human and letting God be God. In this intimacy, we gently learn to trust and open our hearts to God. The Creator and the Spirit’s love are the courage, generosity, and compassion that inspired Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. “Not what I will...

The Holy Center of the Icon

A Portal Into Mystery The common and best-known definition of icons is, “They are windows into mystery.” In short, the result of reading and praying icons is a spiritual experience. In the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the “window” is plentiful redemption. Where is the entrance point for us...