In preparation for the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help on June 27, we will be praying the Novena for nine days. The purpose of the novena is not just to bring our needs and aspirations to God through the prayers of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. More importantly, in praying the novena we allow Mary to bring us to Jesus in order to follow him—the true path to God. This is the main message of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
It would be a great means, therefore, that we do not just pray the novena, but also contemplate on the icon–the meaning of the whole Icon and its parts. Unlike the novena, contemplation is done more in silence gazing at the icon. Contemplation comes from the Latin word contemplari which means “to gaze, observe, behold.” To contemplate the icon is to be aware and to behold Mary and God’s love and presence. Contemplation is entering into God’s presence where Mary and the saints are now residing. It is placing our lives into the life of God. It is finding our story in God’s story. Contemplation evokes a response of waiting, loving, trusting, and obeying. Ultimately contemplation leads us to live our daily lives and experiences in the example of Mary following the path of Jesus towards true happiness and peace.
The contemplation of the icon can be done either before or after praying the novena. It would be most appropriate to have an Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or a copy of the icon in front of you. You can adorn it with candles and some flowers.
For the second day of the Novena we will contemplate on the child Jesus in the icon.
If we look closely at the face of the child Jesus, he does not portray a child’s face but one like a “small adult”; this illustrates both the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
The eyes of Jesus are not looking at Mary but above, even outside of the icon. The eyes of Jesus are looking at God the Father with a mixture of sadness and joyful hope. The cross will bring pain and death but it will also lead to the glory of all humankind in the time to come.
The hands of Jesus lovingly cling to the right hand of Mary. This symbolizes the humanity of Jesus; because of his fear, he placed his life here on earth in the hands of Mary.
The Greek letters IC-XC (Iesus Xristos)at the right of the head of Jesus are the letters for “Jesus Christ.”
Let us now contemplate and gaze on the Child Jesus in silence …
At the end of our contemplation, let us pray,
O Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us so that in the midst of our difficulties and trials in life we can follow the way of Jesus—the way of may we find true glory can lead us to Jesus your son, the way, the truth and the life. May we follow your example as a disciple of Jesus by being totally open and cooperative to God’s plan and word in our lives.
To download a copy of the newest 2016 Jubilee version of novena in English, click this link: http://www.baclaranchurch.org/assets/revised-novena-english.pdf. To download a copy of the newest 2016 Jubilee version of the novena in Tagalog, click this link: http://www.baclaranchurch.org/assets/revised-novena-tagalog.pdf. For a guide on how to pray the novena at the shrine, click this link: https://baclaranphenomenon.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/how-to-pray-the-novena-at-the-shrine/. For a guide on how to pray the novena at home, click this link: .https://baclaranphenomenon.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/how-to-pray-the-novena-at-home/.
For more information on how to contemplate and pray with an icon, click this link: https://aleteia.org/2018/09/12/how-to-pray-with-icons-a-brief-guide/.