The Symbolism of the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help


The image representing Our Lady of Perpetual Help is full of symbolism and meaning. Learn about each of them here.

Newsdesk (25/06/2021 12:40, Gaudium Press) Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is present throughout the world. An inattentive look might lead us to think that this is merely a simple picture of one more of the innumerable invocations to the Holy Mother of God. But if we study its details, we will see that the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is full of symbolism and meaning.

Formed in the Byzantine style, the icon measures 53 by 41.5 centimetres, and was produced in wood on a golden background. During the Roman Empire, when this image was produced, artists used gold or simply its colour to portray only great personalities.


Explanation of the Picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

According to tradition, the picture was painted by a hitherto unknown artist who, in turn, was inspired by a painting attributed to St. Luke. The icon is rich in detail and to each one is attributed a meaning, a symbolism, a message. See below for a detailed explanation:

1 – Greek abbreviation for ‘Mother of God’.
2 – Star on Mary’s veil, the Star that guides us on the sea of life to the port of salvation.
3 – Abbreviation of ‘Saint Michael the Archangel’.
4 – Saint Michael presents the spear, the rod with the sponge, and the chalice of bitterness.
5 – Mary’s mouth is shown as small, to symbolize keeping silence and avoiding useless words.
6 – The red tunic is a distinctive mark of the virgins in the time of Our Lady.
7 – The hands of Jesus resting on Mary’s hand, meaning that through them all graces come to us.
8 – The blue cloak, the emblem of mothers at that time. Mary is the Virgin – Mother of God.
9 – Crown of Gold – The original painting was crowned in 1867 in thanksgiving for the many miracles granted by Our Lady under her favourite title of ‘Perpetual Help’.
10 – Abbreviation for ‘Saint Gabriel the Archangel’.
11 – Saint Gabriel with the cross and the nails, instruments of Jesus’ death.
12 – Mary’s eyes are large, always turned towards us to see all our needs.
13 – Abbreviation for ‘Jesus Christ’.
14 – The left hand of Mary holding Jesus – the hand of consolation that Mary extends to all who have recourse to her in the struggles of life.
15 – The untied sandal – a symbol perhaps of a sinner still tied to Jesus by a thread – the last one – which is the devotion to Our Lady.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The background of the painting is golden and from it, shimmering reflections emerge, tinting the clothes and symbolizing the glory of Paradise to which we will be taken by Mary’s perpetual help.

Frightened by the apparition of the two angels, who show Him the instruments of His death, Jesus runs to His Mother’s arms in such haste that the lace of His sandal is untied… Our Lady tenderly protects Him, and the Child Jesus feels safe in His Mother’s arms.

Our Lady’s gaze is not directed at her Son, but at us – appealing to men to avoid sin, the cause of Jesus’ fright and death. The hands of Jesus hold Mary’s hand to remind us that she is the Mediatrix of all Graces.

By Emílio Portugal Coutinho

The post The Symbolism of the Picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help appeared first on Gaudium Press.

Read More: Spirituality, Explanation of the Picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, meaning of the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, symbolism of the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Gaudium Press

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