Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today we honor Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. This feast is so intimately connected with yesterday’s feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. You know the image of the Mother of God, the mother of a son, at the foot of the cross in great pain, sorrow, yet hope that all is not lost. Personally, I also recall the fact of Our Lady of Sorrows when I pray for a family who is grieving the loss of a loved one; and in a more extended way for me, OL of Sorrows is the prime patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross (who educated me in high school and in university). In this latter fact, I hope and pray Mary is watching over the the CSC and Notre Dame in a keen way especially these days of spiritual combat. Nevertheless, Mary’s real, concrete experience the Life-Saving Cross is crucial to my understanding the mysteries of life and death.

The great Cistercian abbot and author of many works on the Holy Virgin, St. Bernard of Clairvaux has this to say to us:

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus—who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours—gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

~(Sermo in dom. infra oct. Assumptionis, 14-15: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968}, 273-274) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15.
~(The image was written by Connecticut iconographer Marek Czarnecki.)

Holy Name of Mary


“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps”

– St Bernard of Clairvaux.

Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

This is the highest, all-embracing benefit
that Christ has bestowed upon us.
This is the revelation of the mystery,
this is the emptying-out of the divine nature,
the union of God and man,
and the deification of the manhood that was assumed.
This radiant and manifest coming of God to men
most certainly needed a joyful prelude
to introduce the great gift of salvation to us.
The present festival —the nativity of the Theotokos—
is that prelude,
while the final act is the foreordained union
of the Word with flesh.
Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed,
and prepared for her role as Mother of God,
that God who is the universal King of all the ages!

from a discourse of St. Andrew of Crete
from today’s Office of Readings for 8 September

Dormition of the Blessed Virgin

As the destiny for the Mother of God, so for us.



Today the universe, rejoicing mystically in thy glorious memorial, O Theotokos, doth go before crying and shouting with joy: Rejoice, O Virgin, pride of Christians! (Kontakion)

Mother’s Day

“Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend (παραθώμεθα, предадим, place before God, hand over) ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” (Great Litany, Byzantine Divine Liturgy) [VL]

I am always reminded the intimate connection and relationship that exists between and among the Blessed Mother and earthly mothers. Each has a strong hand in my doing the right, the good and the beautiful.

God bless Mom, may God care for our grandmothers: indeed all mothers! Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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