The rosary is one of the most popular and meaningful devotion of Catholics all over the world. It is a prayer that is based on scriptures centered on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption. The icon, on the other hand, represents the hundreds of years of church’s tradition, teaching and reflection on the role of Mary in God’s mission. Combining the rosary and the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, therefore, in our devotion and prayer is a very meaningful exercise that could further deepen our Christian faith.
As we meditate on the five decades of the Mysteries of the rosary, we focus on different sections of the Icon. By doing so, we draw on the richness of God speaking to us, to our lives, through this ‘Painted Word’. More than embracing this Icon, we allow the Icon to embrace us. Through Mary and Jesus, we allow ourselves to be strengthened by the enveloping experience of communion with the God of Love.
This Icon is indeed a window to the Divine. To meditate on the Icon is to open our hearts to the experience of God. All are welcome to this experience – so simple and yet so deep. No one should feel excluded, alienated or rejected; neither should those who feel unworthy to come before God because of their sin be left out. Even those of other faith traditions or religions are welcome to the experience. A welcoming Mother and a gentle Child extend their loving compassion in whatever situation we may find ourselves in.
Before we begin the rosary, here are some important suggestions to a meaningful praying of the rosary of Our Mother of Perpetual Help:
- Place an Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or a copy of the icon at the altar of your home. Adorn it with candles and some flowers.
- Invite your whole family or mates at home in praying the rosary.
- Appoint a prayer leader to lead the prayers and hymns of the rosary.
- Give some time for silence to contemplate or gaze at the icon during the rosary.
The Rosary of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
The Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
The Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He arose again; He ascended into heaven, and seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
The Our Father: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen (3x)
Glory Be to the Father: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
First Mystery: Our human heart longs for God (Ps. 42; Mt. 19:16-30)
In the lives of most people, there is always an empty space that needs to be filled, a pain that needs healing, a feeling of despair that cries for hope, a reality which seeks justice, encouragement, peace, reconciliation, love. Each person finds himself / herself in front of a Mother who lovingly calls out to Her beloved child.
As we meditate on this first mystery, we recognize ourselves as an active part of the whole Icon and allow the life in it to touch our very heart, our mind and soul. We begin a spiritual journey where we enter into the depth of ourselves.
We look deeply into ourselves and ask these questions: How am I? How do I feel? How is my life? Where am I going and where is my life directed to? What do I have/possess and what do I do with it? What do I really need in my life? How is my personal relationship with God? How do I allow God to actually fill that emptiness in me?
Second Mystery: God send His angels (Luke 22:40-43)
God always wants us to be in union with Him that we may truly find happiness and meaning in our life. God respects the free will that He gives us. But He also helps us know what is best for each one of us by sending us His angels. In the Icon, we find the Archangels Gabriel and Michael announcing to Jesus His Father’s message. At the same time, the Archangels reassure Him of God’s constant presence, protection and guidance.
In this second mystery, we thank God for giving us angels as another expression of His great love for us. We also thank the Lord for the presence of angels in our life through the different persons who are sent or come to us. They help us recognize God’s will, experience God’s protection and guide us in our journey. We thank God for both the invisible and the visible angels in our life.
We pray that we, too, may serve as angels to other people as we radiate God’s presence in and through our words and deeds. This is best experienced when we help them desire to seek and do His holy will. (Luke 2:14; Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43; John 20:12; Matthew 18:10; Matthew 24:31; Matthew 13:49; Mark 13:32; Luke 20:34; Acts 12:7-11)
Third Mystery: Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and the Redeemed (Lk.1:26-38; Jn.2:1-6; Jn. 19:25-27)
In this mystery, we allow ourselves to receive the loving, comforting and yet powerful gaze of Mary. At a young age, Mary said “Yes” to God in the Annunciation. She lived it all her life. For her generous and openhearted response to God’s plan, she became the Mother of the Redeemer.
Mary was ever conscious of God’s presence. She pondered on God’s saving action and treasured everything in her heart. Mary, as Mother, lovingly welcomed and embraced us as her children when Jesus said to His beloved disciple: “Here is your mother” and to her: “Here is your son”. Here we are, her children. She is our Mother…She is the Mother of the Redeemed.
As we contemplate her in this icon, let us ask for the grace to be always open to attentively listen to the Word of her Son. Mary, our Mother, teach us to continually open our heart to the call of the Father, to the action of the Holy Spirit and to the Word of Jesus. Help us to always learn from you, our Mother, that we may also always respond to God: “Be it done unto me according to Your Word”.
Fourth Mystery: Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, our Perpetual Help (Lk. 4:18-19)
We come to the very center of this Icon that we meditate: Jesus! It is on Him that the angels are focused. It is to Him that Mary’s protective embrace is centered, that even as she looks at us, it is with the intention of making us aware of Her Son, our Lord and Redeemer. He is the only One who can give meaning to our life, the true Perpetual Help…for this reason we address her in this icon: Mother of Perpetual Help.
Christ has redeemed us and will always be our Redeemer. He is Emmanuel, our God-with-us. His unconditional love for the weak, suffering and poor brought him opposition – for which he suffered his Passion and Death. Such was the depth of his love. But death did not have the last word. He rose again in glory to give us new life. This then is Jesus, the Redeemer, who is humble and yet ever steadfast in giving us His abundant redemption.
In contemplating this mystery, let us be fully drawn by the immense love of the Redeemer and let us experience the Perpetual Help of Mary.
Fifth Mystery: That we may be one! Living in communion with God and one another (Jn. 19:27; Acts 1:14; Jn.17:21; Lumen Gentium #63).
Communion! Isn’t it so beautiful when there is perfect sharing and oneness? Isn’t it wonderful, where despite diversity, we strive to live as one? In this part of the Icon, we see Jesus’ hands clasping Mary’s hand. We also see the hands of Mary pointing to Jesus. The gesture expresses the communion between the Mother and the Son. We see the total commitment of Mary to Jesus and His mission. Here, we recall that Mary holds us also in her hands as her children while Jesus lovingly accepts the mission from His Father to redeem us.
Mary, in this icon, says to us: “Do whatever He tells you”. We also need to hear Jesus’ words echoing in our hearts: “I am with you until the end of time”. In this contemplation of the Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help, we are offered the experience of communion with the Redeemer, with the Mother of the Redeemer and with all the Redeemed in whatever situation each one of us may be.
In this decade, let us allow Jesus and His Mother to make us instruments of communion by generously and genuinely living to the full, the vocation we are called to, as Christians. Let us pray that we may truly live and spread in our midst – the peace, reconciliation, justice, joy and love that Jesus and Mary are radiating to us through this Icon of Communion.
These 5 points of contemplation in this Perpetual Help Rosary, give a sense of a spiral that invites us to go deeper within ourselves. It invites us to take a journey to our heart where we can encounter the Lord and the gentle protection of Mary. By going deeper and opening our hearts to the Icon, we are offered an experience of communion with God.
The spiral dynamic of contemplating the Icon reminds us that every event and the whole of creation have a place in the plan of God. The circular shape that this dynamic presents, symbolizes that we are all one. And as one, we are called to build the Kingdom that Jesus inaugurated. It is a Kingdom, where at its very heart, we find the God who in and with His Love binds us together in Communion with all humanity and creation.
As we conclude this Rosary Prayer with the Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help, let us recall that in the history of this Icon, it was held under the care of a merchant who was on a journey-. We, ourselves, are all travelers/pilgrims …each in a different way according to the kind of life which God has called us to. Sometimes, we make steady progress, sometimes we stumble with our struggles. For this, we need the Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help to be our companion in our life journey…because the journey within every heart and the journey towards full communion goes on and on…
Hail Holy Queen
Petitions To Our Mother Of Perpetual Help (adapted from http://www.baclaranovena.org)
Leader: Holy Mary
All: PRAY FOR US
Holy Virgin conceived without sin…
PRAY FOR US
Our Mother of Perpetual Help,
PRAY FOR US
That we may be filled with the Holy Spirit and become courageous witnesses of Christ’s love for all………………………………………………………………………….. *LOVING MOTHER, HELP US
That we may be more and more like our Divine Lord, as you were…*LOVING MOTHER, HELP US
That we may be meek and humble of heart like your Son, Jesus…*
That we may fear losing God’s friendship forever by unrepented sin…*
That we may seek Christ’s mercy and forgiveness constantly in the sacrament of Penance…*
That we may be aware of God speaking to us in the events of daily life…*
That we may pray daily with love and trust, especially in moments of temptation…*
That we may realize the value of worshipping God together in the Eucharist…*
That we may grow in the love of Christ and neighbor by frequent Communion…*
That we may reverence our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit…*
That we may strive to be true Christians by our loving concern for others…*
That we may accept our responsibility in the community in the spirit of genuine service…*
That we may proclaim the dignity of work by doing our own work conscientiously…*
That we may share our talents with others for the good of the community…*
That we may forgive from our heart those who have wronged us…*
That we may see the evil of seeking our own interest at the expense of others…*
That married couples and families in difficulty may seek reconciliation and forgiveness…*
That those struggling with addictions of alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling may recognize their weakness and be open to the grace to break free… *
That we may work for the just distribution of this world’s goods…*
That the voice of the poor and marginalized will not go unheeded…*
That individuals and groups will resist the temptation to turn to violence and hatred…*
That we may be aware of our dependence on God in the midst of human achievements…*
That the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen Pope Francis, the Bishops, the clergy and all in leadership…*
That our civil and political leaders may work for a society that is just and avoids discrimination…*
That we may be blessed with an increase of priestly and religious vocations…*
That we may bring the knowledge of Christ to those who do not know Him…*
That the aged, sick and suffering may receive healing and comfort…*
That we may be ready at death to enter the home of our heavenly Father…*
That we may die at peace with Christ and our fellowmen and women…*
That we may be comforted at the death of our dear ones by our hope in the risen Lord…*
That our departed brothers and sisters quickly share in your Son’s resurrection…*
Leader: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
All: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O God who has willed that the Mother of Your only-begotten Son should offer us her Perpetual Help, grant us grace to call on her with confidence in all our necessities of soul and body, so that assisted through her protection and assistance, we may be brought to the everlasting vision of Your glory in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit descend upon us and remain with us forever. Amen.
If you want a copy of the Tagalog version of the Rosary of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, download here.