The parish of my childhood is named Our Lady of Perpetual Help, after the fifteenth century icon of the Blessed Mother, holding her frightened son in her arms, the signs of His forthcoming passion in the background.
Today – June 24 – marks the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also called our Mother of Perpetual Succour. Let us remember her, especially in our moments of difficulty, fear and/or doubts, that like the Child Jesus, we too may leap into her waiting arms and find our consolation, help and protection.
O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that
anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come;
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear
and answer me.
O piissima Virgo Maria,
non esse auditum a saeculo,
quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia,
tua implorantem auxilia,
tua petentem suffragia,
esse derelictum.Ego tali animatus confidentia,
ad te, Virgo Virginum,
ad te venio,
coram te gemens
verba mea despicere;
sed audi propitia
Mary, God Bearer (Theotokos), Holy Mother of God, Pray for Us!
Note: The term Theotokos in reference to Mary as the Mother of God, was defended by St Cyril of Alexandria (whose feast is also celebrated on June 27th), against Nestorius’ claim that Mary could not be the mother of God because Jesus had two distinct persons – Divine and Human – and Mary could only be mother of the human person of Jesus. The Nestorian heresy was condemned at the Council of Ephesus 431, which affirmed the teaching that Christ is a divine person who assumed human nature.
St Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us!