In every icon of Our Lord, He is portrayed as an adult—even in Nativity scenes, He is a miniature adult wrapped in swaddling clothes. In icon language, this indicates His divinity; it reminds us that even though Jesus came into this world the same way we did, He already possessed boundless wisdom and knowledge.
The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, however, shows Jesus in the midst of a sweetly childlike response to fear. The icon tells us this through the quietly dangling shoe on Jesus’ foot. In icons, falling shoes indicate that their wearer is experiencing intense fear or grief.
Jesus, then, has seen something which distressed Him and has run to His beloved Mother for comfort. Perched in her arms, He is clinging with both hands to her fingers and looking back over His shoulder.
Following His gaze, we see why He is frightened.
In the corners of the icon, the archangels Michael and Gabriel hover, holding the instruments of Our Lord’s Passion. Michael, on the left, bears the spear, the wine-soaked sponge, and the crown of thorns. Gabriel, on the right, holds the cross and the nails.
The Child Jesus knows that these instruments are a necessary part of His mission in the world. Nonetheless, His human nature shrinks from the realities of His Passion, and He flies to His Mother in such anguish that His shoe comes off.
Jesus set the example of rushing to His Blessed Mother for succor. In any distress, no matter how big or how miniscule, turn your prayers to His Mother with this Our Lady of Perpetual Help Wall Plaque. Crafted in the popular wall pallet design and featuring a lovely reproduction of the beloved icon, this plaque will be sure to bring comfort wherever it hangs. Available today at The Catholic Company!