Tag Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

September’s Marian Devotion – Our Lady of Sorrows

OL of SorrowsThe Seven Sorrows of Mary is September’s Marian devotion.

The Marian side of the Catholic Church helps us to see the human aspect of the act of faith: do we comfort the sorrowing as they grieve the death of a loved one? Always a mother, the Church directs our attention to the seven sorrows suffered by Mary, who witnessed her Son’s death for us on the cross.

A short prayer that we can offer: Mary most sorrowful, Mother of Christians, pray for us!

The feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15 which follows feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is September 14. The Seven Sorrows  unites us to Passion of the Lord on Calvary by having a Marian feast that uses the sorrows of to point to the salvific work of the Lord.

The famous Passionist Saint Gabriel of The Sorrowful Mother, said he was never denied any petition that he confided to the Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows).

In 1815, Pope Pius VII approved of the Seven Dolors of Mary but it was well used and promoted by the Servite Order since 1668 when a feast formally approved. The Servite Order dates back to 1239. The Seven Sorrows of Mary, taken from Scripture, are:

  • The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2: 34, 35)
  • The flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14)
  • The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (Luke 3: 43-45)
  • The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross. (John 19:1; Luke 23:26-32)
  • The Crucifixion. (Mark 15:22; John 19:18, 25-27; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46)
  • The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross. (John 19:31-34, 38; Lamentations 1:12)
  • The burial of Jesus. (Matthew 27:59; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:46; Luke 27:55-56)

Mary Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth

Mary's QueenshipThe Latin Church using the Novus Ordo Mass honors Mary today under the title of the Queen; those praying the Missal of St John XXIII would be celebrating feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Either way, we are at the 8th day since the great solemnity of the Assumption.

The teaching is that Jesus, the King, Second Person of the Trinity, the human face of the Invisible God, exercises His kingship –given Him by God the Father– over the cosmos as servant, teacher, mediator, healer, Savior of the world. There are more Christological images to note which are quite beautiful and necessary to understand the complete package of what it means to be an adopted Son and Daughter of God through Baptism. Recall, what is said of Mary reflects directly back to her Jesus.

Jesus is Lord, His mother is Queen. We follow.

In a democratic and ideological society such as ours, regal images are hard to accept for some people with good reason. Yet, in the spiritual realm, the noble images given in our Liturgy are not crowns of money, power and fame but of a spiritual nature: service, love and humility. Because of the inheritance given in Baptism we share squarely in the divine life. Sacred Scripture reveals to us that adhering to Jesus till the end we will receive a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4); crowns of gold will be given to “the 24 ancients (Rev 4:4).”

Mary is the new Eve, the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Refuge of Sinners, and thus Queen above all queens. Mary as the Queen Mother wear a crown like no other. Her crown is not made of gold and precious stones; no her crown is  a crown of twelve stars (Rev. 12:1), and the only crown made up of stars mentioned in the Bible.

What is the crown of stars? The tradition tells us that her crown is given directly by God Himself: the Divine Majesty bestowing on His creature a crown of stars with cosmic importance reflecting the brilliance of God Himself. Hence we believe that the stars of the crown guide in the darkness of night, and through the dark times in our lives.

We Christians think biblically: we have 12 gates of the Temple, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles. Mary, given to the Church by the Lord from the Cross. The Queenship means for us that she the Queen of the Church: the Church Militant (on earth), the Church Suffering (in purgatory) and the Church Triumphant (in heaven). BUT this power exercised in relation to what God has given.

Mary as Queen intercedes for us with her Son, the King.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Assumuption Bartolomeo della GattaThe summer feast of Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary is known also as Marymass. The feast is about the fulfillment of the promise God made to us: to live fully and wholly with Him in heaven, to be united with Him body and soul. Neither sin nor death would grasp her being.

So, we believe that Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word, Jesus, did not suffer the indignity of the decomposition of the human body. In defining the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, Pope Pius XII left as an open question as to whether or not Mary died. The Greek Church calls this feast the Falling Asleep –the Dormition of Mary– pointing to the notion that Mary died and yet at that very moment she was called by her Son to the fullness of Life Eternal without delay and decay. Here is reflection by Saint John Damascene:

“It was fitting that she who had preserved her virginity inviolate in childbirth should also have her body kept free from all corruption after death. It was fitting that she who had carried the Creator as a child on her breast should dwell in the tabernacles of God. It was fitting that the bride espoused by the Father should make her home in the bridal chambers of heaven. It was fitting that she, who had gazed on her crucified Son and been pierced in the heart by the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in giving him birth, should contemplate him seated with the Father. It was fitting that the Mother of God should share the possessions of her Son, and be venerated by every creature as the Mother and handmaid of God.”

May we enter into deeper communion with the Holy Trinity so that we, like the great Mother of God, live body and soul at the end of time. Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us.

The American Czestochowa

Our Lady of CzestochowaA look at the influence of our devotion to Mary, the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Czestochowa. She is not only the Queen of Poland, but the Queen in America.

Here is a terrific documentary produced in 2005, the “American Czestochowa.

If you can make it to Jasna Gora, going to the National Shrine in Doylestown, PA, is a wonderful way to honor the Mother of God.

Our Lady of Czestochowa’s feast day is August 26.

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

visitationToday, the Church celebrates the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the event of Mary visiting her council Elizabeth after the news from the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord. Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, the soon-to-be the mother of John the Baptist. The biblical narrative is found in Saint Luke 1:39-56.

Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary’s  song of praise liturgically called the Magnificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

For us, John the Baptist is the final prophet of the Old Covenant and Jesus the first and the beginning of the eternal New Covenant.

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]yahoo.com.
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