Prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer, but the Mother of the redeemed as well. I come to you today as your loving child. Watch over me and take care of me.
As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take me in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help me. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and God’s mercy is from age to age on those who love God.
Intercede for me, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.
— From Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
“Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.”
—Saint Francis de Sales
Sharing in the sufferings of Christ in your daily circumstances means putting up with both the inconveniences as well as the more trying pains and suffering that might come your way.
It’s no mere coincidence that the words for “passion” and “patience” come from the same Latin root (patior: to suffer, endure, or permit). The two experiences are similar. In today’s world, you share in the Lord’s passion first and foremost by being a person of patience. Whenever, through our impatience, we speak or act with anger towards others, we are driving another nail that keeps Jesus on the cross. Conversely, when we are patient: when we cheerfully bear with someone who is difficult or endure discomfort without spreading that discomfort to others, we are embracing Christ’s Passion.
How often, though, have you gotten the message, “time is money?” It’s not uncommon today to feel the pressure to be more efficient in both your job and your free time, and to hurry through your day, annoyed by any obstacle to efficiency. You possibly start your day with a “To Do” list, and might even feel the day was wasted if you can’t check off every item on it.
Often the frustration at not accomplishing a goal becomes a deep source of discontent and unhappiness. That unhappiness might start with you, but soon infects your relations with others.
I urge you, whenever you’re in a situation where you begin to feel impatient, to view it as an opportunity to deepen your prayer life, and to slow down enough to feel God’s presence. This doesn’t mean trying to “pray” harder to make the impatience go away, but rather allowing and even welcoming the monotony or frustration of the moment.
God’s plan for that moment may not be your plan. Be curious about your frustration and simply let it become a part of your prayer.
The next Reflection is an opportunity to examine some of your basic attitudes toward time by expressing to God through Our Mother the difficulties you have living in the present moment and by asking for help to accept the trials that come your way.
Blessed Mary, another thing on my mind lately is my inability to accept the frustrations and pains of the present moment. I begin each day with a huge list of things to do and get frustrated when circumstances interfere with my plans. I become such an impatient person.
I don’t know what to do when the messiness of life intrudes on my neatly calculated idea of the way things should go. And so I get upset and take my anger out on others, myself and sometimes even on Our Lord.
Maybe my lack of patience stems from my attitude toward time and the presuppositions I make about how efficient I should be. I have become so pragmatic and task-oriented in my approach to life. I fail to see that time is not a commodity to be used and processed, but a mystery to behold and enter into.
Our Mother of Perpetual Help, help me to let go of these attitudes and to become a patient person. Help me to understand what it means to suffer in the present moment by remaining present and open to those small annoyances that pepper my day.
Help me to wait on Our Lord just as He is continually waiting for me. Help me to place my life in His hands and to allow for the realization that all my plans and projects will be accomplished, or not accomplished, in His due time.
I entrust myself, Blessed Mary, to your help and intervention. I am unable to change on my own, but with your help, may I begin to experience peace and trust in you and your Divine Son, Jesus, even as I grow in the virtue of patience.
Compose a short prayer that you can repeat again and again throughout the day, especially when your patience is being tried. Something like, “Mary, help me release this moment, repeating what you said at Cana: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”
Or perhaps even a shorter prayer: “I release this moment to your purpose” or “Lord, I give this moment to you.” Or use a line from the prayer above: “Mary, watch over me and take care of me.”
It doesn’t have to be an original prayer, but it must ring true to you in both mind and heart. Write this prayer down on a card and place it on your desk where you can see it. Hang it on the wall if you can. Pray the prayer whenever you see it. Carry it with you during the day. Remember not only to say the prayer, but also to take a deep breath and relax while saying it.