OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
Jonah, Chapter 1, verse 16:
Seized with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
Christ shows us real men sacrifice.
Those leaders, who stop seeking new challenges; stop growing, inevitably stop leading. John Maxwell states, “When we stop sacrificing, we stop succeeding.”
If you want to become a great leader, you must be willing to make sacrifices.
1. There is no success without sacrifice. Every person who has achieved any success in life has made sacrifices to do so.
2. Leaders are often asked to give up more than others. Leaders have to give up their rights. Leaders need to learn how to put others ahead of themselves. It’s not easy, but you need to give up more than the people you lead.
3. You must keep giving up, to stay up. John Maxwell takes the Law of Sacrifice even further when he states that ‘If leaders have to give up to go up, then they have to give up even more to stay up’. Today’s success is the greatest thread to tomorrow’s success. There’s always a cost involved in moving forward. The day you stop being willing to pay the price is the day when you stop creating the results you desire.
4. The higher the level of leadership, the greater the sacrifice. You’ve probably noticed that the higher the position, the fewer the number of people able to step in. It’s not because there’s lack of capable people. It’s simply because there’s not enough people willing to pay the price. From my childhood I remember learning about the utopia of communism – they tried to make everybody equal. Everybody should have the same rights and the same pay. The problem with this is the law of sacrifice. There will always be some who will be willing to sacrifice more, while others will not be willing to do anything extra. No philosophy of equality will ever be able to overcome this mindset. It’s the inner job. You must decide for yourself how much time, effort or other sacrifice you’re going to assign to a specific job, project or task. The Law of Sacrifice states that those who do, will go up. And those who continue doing this, will stay up.
The devotion to this Marian advocation revolves around the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, painted on wood, with background of gold. It is Byzantine in style and is supposed to have been painted in the thirteenth century. It represents the Mother of God holding the Divine Child while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel presenting Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures in the picture are some Greek letters which form the abbreviated words Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel respectively.
· The icon was brought to Rome towards the end of the fifteenth century by a pious merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo in the famous Roman street of Via Merulana, which connects the basilicas of Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The picture was then popularly called the Madonna di San Matteo. The church was served for a time by the Hermits of Saint Augustine. These Augustinians were still in charge when the French invaded Rome (1812) and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared; it remained hidden and neglected for over forty years, but a series of providential circumstances between 1863 and 1865 led to its rediscovery in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula.
· Pope Pius IX, who as a boy had prayed before the picture in San Matteo, became interested in the discovery. But at that time, the ruins of San Matteo were in the grounds of a convent of the Redemptorists -- the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer -- founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). The Father General of the Redemptorists, Most Rev. Nicholas Mauron, decided to bring the whole matter to the attention of the Pope. The Pope listened attentively and felt sure it was God’s will that the icon should be gain exposed to public veneration and the logical site was their church of St. Alphonsus, standing as it did between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The Holy Father at once took a piece of paper and wrote a short memorandum ordering the Augustinian Fathers of St. Mary in Posterula to surrender the picture to the Redemptorists, on condition that the Redemptorists supply the Augustinians with another picture of Our Lady or a good copy of the icon of Perpetual Help.
· The Icon meant much to the Augustinians, but when the two Redemptorists came armed with the Pope’s signed memorandum, what could they do but obey? On January 19, 1866, Fathers Marchi and Bresciani brought the miraculous picture to St. Alphonsus’ church. Preparations were now made to inaugurate the new public reign of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. On April 26th, a great procession was staged in which the picture was carried throughout the Esquiline region of Rome. Upon returning to the church, the picture was enthroned over the high altar, in a resplendent shrine-niche especially constructed for it.
· The report of marvelous healings spread rapidly throughout the city of Rome and people came by the hundreds to visit the shrine. Soon the whole area around the altar was filled with abandoned crutches and canes and several whole glass-covered cabinets were filled with gold and silver thanksgiving offerings in the shapes of miniature hearts, arms, legs and other votive offerings. Scarcely two weeks after the solemn exposition of the picture, Pope Pius IX himself came to visit the shrine. He stood quietly before it for a long time and then exclaimed: “How beautiful she is!”.
· Pope Leo XIII, the next pontiff, had a copy of the picture on his desk so that he might see it constantly during his working day. St. Pius X sent a copy of the icon to the Empress of Ethiopia and granted an indulgence of 100 days to anyone who repeated the phrase: “Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.”
· Pope Benedict XV had the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help placed immediately over his chair of state in the throne room. Here it could be seen by all just over his head, as if to say: “Here is your true Queen!”.
· Pope Pius IX told the Redemptorists, in speaking to them of the treasure he had committed to their care: “Make her known!” It seems as though they hardly needed the exhortation. In the United States, they built the first Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in the Roxbury section of Boston, and it was eventually raised to the honor of a “Papal Basilica” by Pope Pius XII.
Things to Do:
- Read the History of the Icon.
- Visit Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio site to see an explanation of the symbols of the Icon.
- See also Women for Faith & Family page on Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
· Fight like a knight, so I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone. Trust is victorious.
 John Maxwell, The John Maxwell Leadership Bible