Our Lady is especially honored on April 26 for her ability to counsel us in difficulties.
There are constantly situations in life that need discernment. What job should I take? What house should we buy? Should I marry my boyfriend? Is God calling me to the priesthood? How many children is God calling us to have? The list is endless and these are only some of the big questions. Plenty of the even more numerous lesser decisions that we have to make every day are also difficult.
What should we do in such situations?
The Church has always suggested turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary when encountering such a challenge. In the ancient Litany of Loreto we find Mary called the “Seat of Wisdom,” for she is regarded as one of the wisest creatures God has fashioned. Additionally, in that same litany Pope Leo XIII added the title, “Mother of Good Counsel,” after a miraculous turn of events outside of Rome.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, during the “reign of Paul II (1464-71) [it is related] that the picture of Our Lady, at first called ‘La Madonna del Paradiso’ and now better known as ‘Madonna del Buon Consiglio,’ appeared at Genazzano, a town about 25 miles southeast of Rome, on St. Mark’s Day, 25 April, 1467, in the old church of Santa Maria … The venerated icon itself … was observed to hang suspended in the air without the slightest apparent support; thus early tradition furthermore tells how one might have passed a thread around the image without touching it. At once devotion to Our Lady in Santa Maria sprang up; pilgrim-bands began to resort thither; while miracles in ever-increasing numbers, of which a register was opened two days after the event, were wrought, as they still continue to be, at the shrine.”
The miraculous image remains there to this day, even though most of the church was destroyed during World War II. Miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel both at the shrine and around the world.
The feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel is April 26.
The Blessed Virgin Mary had many difficult decisions to make in her own life time. For an example, we only need mention the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to her to announce that she would be the mother of the Son of God. She was not forced to do this and her decision was freely made to accept God’s will. How small do our decisions look in comparison to hers!
In honor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Pope Pius XII composed a powerful prayer to her that recalls her intercession for those facing difficult decisions. If you need some extra heavenly help for a choice you have to make, try this prayer.
Holy Virgin, moved by the painful uncertainty we experience in seeking and acquiring the true and the good, we cast ourselves at thy feet and invoke thee under the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel. We beseech thee: come to our aid at this moment in our worldly sojourn when the double darkness of error and of evil plot our ruin by leading minds and hearts astray.
Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the victims of doubt and of error so that they may not be seduced by evil masquerading as good; strengthen them against the hostile and corrupting forces of passion and of sin.
Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us our most urgent need….. (here mention your request) and secure for us from thy Divine Son the love of virtue and the strength to choose, in doubtful and difficult situations, the course agreeable to our salvation.
Supported by thy hand we shall thus journey without harm along the paths taught us by the word and example of Jesus our Savior, following the Sun of Truth and Justice in freedom and safety across the battlefield of life under the guidance of thy maternal Star, until we come at length to the harbor of salvation to enjoy with thee unalloyed and everlasting peace. Amen.