Dear Friends in Christ,
The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. The Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows fell on this past Friday. Sometimes this feast day is known as Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. What are the Seven Sorrows of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary? The Sorrows are:
The Prophecy of Simeon in Luke 2;
The Flight into Egypt in Matthew 2;
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, also in Luke 2;
Mary meeting Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, the Fourth station of the Cross which is not found in Bible;
The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and especially John 19;
Jesus’s Descent from the Cross in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19;
The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea also in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.
While these Scriptural events in the life of the Mother of God have been mediated upon for centuries, in 1482, Mother Mary was celebrated as Our Lady of Compassion. The very word compassion means to “suffer with.” The Mother of God suffered with Jesus not only at the foot of the Cross, but throughout His life from infancy until His placement in the tomb. The image or statue that is most commonly known is Our Lady’s heart pierced with seven swords. She often has tears streaming from her eyes. Her statue might be seen in processions during Lent, Good Friday, or other feast days. What does this feast day say to us? When we were young, Sister would say when it was hot, or we were waiting in a line for something, rather than complain, we were encouraged to “offer it up.” In other words, identify with the suffering of Christ in our own small way and the burden will become not only bearable, but also efficacious with grace. We all carry many burdens, but we are not sinless. Imagine the pain of Jesus and Mary as they had no sin to protect themselves. I mean that we can use anger, vengeance, and other ways to lash out at persons or situations that cause us pain. They did not have this wall to put up. Our Lord felt every lash in a pain beyond painful way. The Mother of God, in total union with Hiim, felt the lashes, the crown of thorns, the nails, the sword and even his last breath. At the foot of the Cross, she must have felt her own breath being squeezed out of her very being. The first verse of the Stabat Mater says so much:
At, the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
God bless you,