Tag Archives: Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows –connecting Mary with her Son

OL of SorrowsOn this liturgical memorial of Our Lady, perhaps it is a good time to introduce the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) of Mary. This method of praying the rosary follows events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary that are a popular devotion. Meditated prayerfully on are:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35) or the Circumcision of Jesus

2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)

3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43–45)

4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.

5. Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)

6. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary’s receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57–59)

7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40–42)

Our Lady of Sorrows… the Mother of God with a pierced your heart

Mary of SorrowsFrom a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot:

The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord’s passion. The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.

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.

Or were those words, Woman, behold your Son, not more than a word to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of iron and stone though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.


When they came to a place called Calvary, they crucified Jesus there.
– His mother stood beside the cross.

A sword of sorrows pierced her blameless heart.
– His mother stood beside the cross.

O God, who willed
that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross,
his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering,
grant that your Church,
participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ,
may merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, Pope Francis delivered this homily for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows:

“Jesus came into the world to learn how to be a man, and by being a man, walk with men. He came into the world to obey, and He obeyed. But he learned this obedience from suffering. Adam left Paradise with a promise, a promise that lasted for so many centuries. Today, through this obedience, this self-abnegation, this humiliation, through Jesus, that promise becomes hope. And the people of God walk with sure hope. Even the Mother, ‘the New Eve,’ as Paul himself calls her, in order to participate in her Son’s journey, learned, suffered and obeyed. And thus she becomes Mother.”

The Gospel shows us Mary at the foot of the Cross. Jesus says to John, “Behold your mother.” Mary – the Pope said – “is anointed Mother”

“And this is our hope. We are not orphans, we have Mothers: Mother Mary. But the Church is Mother and the Mother Church is anointed when it takes the same path of Jesus and Mary: the path of obedience, the path of suffering, and when she has that attitude of continually learning the path of the Lord. These two women – Mary and the Church – carry on the hope that is Christ, they give us Christ, they bring forth Christ in us. Without Mary, there would be no Jesus Christ; without the Church, we cannot go forward.”

“Two women and two mothers” – continued the Pope Francis – and next to them our soul, which in the words of Isaac, the abbot of Stella, is “feminine” and is like “Mary and the Church.”

“Today, looking at this woman by the Cross, steadfast in following her Son in His suffering to learn obedience, looking at her we see the Church and look at our Mother. And also, we look at our little soul that will never be lost, if it continues to be a woman close to these two great women who accompany us in life: Mary and the Church. And just as our fathers left Paradise with a promise, today we can go forward with a hope: the hope that our Mother Mary, steadfast at the Cross, and our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church, give us.”

Transcription from Vatican Radio

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)

Our Lady of Sorrows

Nuestra Senora de Dolores.jpgThe Virgin Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord,
did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, abused and
crucified. Rather she remained beside Jesus, suffering and praying, until the
end. And she saw the radiant dawn of His Resurrection. Let us learn from her to
witness to our faith with a life of humble service, ready to personally pay the
price of staying faithful to the Gospel of love and truth, certain that nothing
that we do will be lost. 

Pope Benedict XVI
Angelus – September 13, 2009

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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