I bought this Icon in England last year. Later, I discovered that it is called ‘Our Lady of Tenderness’ – the tenderness referring to the way the Child Jesus is gently caressing the face of His Mother.
What the Lord does in this image is a visual representation of what all of us do, who have a love for and devotion to the Blessed Virgin – we gently caress Her, knowing that She is the most beautiful and the kindest of mothers, always there for us, always listening to our prayers and our petitions, always granting us Her intercession.
And so, while we may have a great tenderness toward Her, it is nothing in comparison to the sublime tenderness She has for every one of us.
We often approach Her in prayer, but sometimes words are either insufficient or there simply are no words to express what is in our hearts; at those times, we simply want to be near to Her – and more importantly, to know that She is near to us.
And She is near to us – always, without exception.
After all, this was the very task the Lord gave to Her whilst He was on the Cross, when He said to Her – “Behold Thy son”.
The words were directed immediately to Saint John, standing close to Her – but he represented every single one of us, Her spiritual children in every age. The Gospel tells us that “from that moment, he made a place for Her in his home” (John 19:27). And in being devoted to this loveliest of mothers, we are doing precisely the same thing.
So let us remain always devoted to Her, going always to Her in prayer and asking Her intercession for us before the Lord, and developing and deepening a warm and filial relationship with Her, one of deep confidence in Her and of great tenderness toward Her.