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, those who have a great veneration toward the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help can—with regular devotion and a deeper exploration of the Gospels—find a spiritual pathway to discipleship. The icon can lead us to live the truth in a fuller and more meaningful way.
The Gospel account of the marriage feast at Cana is one of the recommended Scriptures to be read before the icon. Mary is a key figure in unfolding the story of Cana. John 2 begins with: “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” This statement sets the stage for Mary’s connection to the mystery of Christ and the Church. At the heart of the Marian quality is the instruction Mary gives to the waiters: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). We then see that “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs” (John 2:11). In this way he let his glory appear and his disciples believed in him. This detail unveils the reality that Mary is, in fact, the teacher of discipleship.
In the Acts of the Apostles, it says that the first community of Christ “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). These two Scripture accounts are filled with instructions on how we who are devoted to the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help live as Jesus’ disciples. Mary is in the midst of the gathered worshipers.
Praying the Scriptures before the icon is powerful. We encounter the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help when we venerate her with our prayers and petitions as one standing before us presenting us the image of her Son. He is the living Word of the Father and embodies the essence of redemption. Mary teaches us how to embrace the mystery of plentiful redemption.
Let us allow Mary to form us into living messengers of how to live the gospel today. In our world there is much need for mercy and compassion. By her gaze in the icon, Mary draws us into the movement of silent listening to the Word of God. Her exposed ear, the smallness of her mouth, and her gesture of pointing with her hand into the heart of the Child Logos in her arms teaches us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. In him, through his passion and death, is the message of redemption. a
Let us allow Mary to form us into living messengers of how to live the gospel today.
Br. Daniel Korn, CSsR