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Novena Meditations to Our Mother of Perpetual Help

by Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D.

 

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Novena #1: Mary's Face
Mary’s tender gaze supported and encouraged her Son and his followers throughout their journey. That same tender gaze accompanies us throughout the various seasons of our lives. Mary’s whole being reveals God’s plan for all humanity. We are called to love and show love with our actions, including our facial expressions.

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Novena #2: The Colours in Mary's Clothes

The colours of Mary’s clothes connect to this mystery, the real possibility of becoming a new creation with life giving thoughts, words, and habits. In a recent presentation on iconography, the presenter explained the deeper meaning of the colour red in iconography, how it connects to the process of divinization.


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Novena #3 :The Star on Mary's Veil

Mary who leads us to her Son, Jesus Christ has been referred to , throughout the centuries, as the Star of the Sea, a bright star that leads us home. St. Jerome and other early Church leaders, used this title in reference to her. She is like the bright star that led the wise men to Jesus. The wise men followed the star, using it to keep them going in the right direction.

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Novena #4: Mary's Hands

Mary, like these gifted healers, used her hands to nurture her son. Mary’s hands held her Son, delighting in his presence, comforting him after a fall, holding him tight after finding him in temple, and accompanying him on the way to the cross. Her hands knew the gift of holding and touching the flesh of the Messiah, God’s son, and her son.

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Novena #5 :The Child Jesus
Meditation on the child Jesus leads to amazement and wonder, encouraging us to ponder God becoming human, born as a baby, vulnerable and dependant on human care for his survival.

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Novena #6: Jesus' Hands

Mary’s touch soothed her son, making him feel loved and protected. God entrusted his only begotten Son to Mary and Joseph, knowing they would love and care for him, meeting his basic needs, preparing him for the demands of his future ministry.

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Novena #7: Jesus' Sandals

The child Jesus is running up some stairs, falling and hurting himself. Mary, his mother, runs to him and holds him in her arms, soothing his soul, bringing comfort to his little body. Jesus, Son of God, became one of us, having to endure the process of human development and growth. He would have stumbled, possibly cutting or bruising himself from time to time. Mary would have tended to these wounds.

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Novena #8: The Archangel Gabriel

Gabriel is present, offering strength, but he holds the signs of the pain to come. His presence in this scene shows us that God does not call us to a demanding mission without offering us grace and the assistance of others.

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Novena #9: The Archangel Michael
Michael’s appearance in this icon, holding the lance, the pole with sponge, and a vessel of vinegar, is a reminder of his protective presence. Although the items in his grip symbolize suffering,  Michael,  as heavenly  leader against the forces of evil, is ready to defend God’s people

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Meet Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D.

 

Dr. Lombardi has worked as a parish minister, university campus minister, high school chaplaincy leader, teacher educator through O.E.C.T.A., professor of Religious Education, Brock University, retreat facilitator, faith formation consultant, and program coordinator in the Diocese of Hamilton. Presently, she is Associate Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology, Professor of Field Education, and Director of Lay Formation for St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough, Ontario.

 

 

Read Josephine Lombardi's book "Living with the Rosary"

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She has done media work in radio and television and has been an advisor to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in the area of doctrine and Catholic-Muslim relations. Her book, On Earth as it is in Heaven, has been featured on CTS and Salt and Light Television.

 

More recently, she has been appointed Series Theologian for the new Religious Education curriculum for grades 1 through 8, “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ” for Catholic School Boards in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Josephine Lombardi's Website