Sept. 15: Our Lady of Sorrows
Today’s feast has its origin in that Christian devotion which associates Our Lady with the Passion of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Pius VII extended this devotion to the whole Church and, in 1912, St. Pius X fixed the feast on this day, within the octave of the Nativity of our Mother the Virgin.
God extolled Mary entrusting to her the highest mission ever given to any creature: to be the Mother of God. But then, the Blessed Trinity did not exempt her from suffering and sorrow throughout her life, right from the start till the end, wanting her to participate in His Son’s Redemptive mission.
- About to give birth, Our Lady had to TRAVEL TO BETHLEHEM to find out that there was “no room in the inn” and had to give birth to the Son of God in a manger!
- Right after giving birth to the Savior, again, Mary and Joseph had to leave and FLEE TO EGYPT, an unknown place with different customs, without knowing anyone, and hastily, in the middle of the night.
- When the Holy Family went up to the temple of Jerusalem to fulfill what was prescribed by Old Law, JESUS GOT LOST. Mary and Joseph realized Jesus’ disappearance in the journey back to Nazareth and both suffered looking for Jesus in the long caravan of people returning to their places of origin.
- On Jesus’ way to Calvary and while He was CARRYING THE WOOD OF THE CROSS, MARY MEETS HIS SON, all-bruised, humiliated, insulted, spat at, disfigured, unrecognizable, victim of men’s injustice and hatred…we couldn’t just imagine how much sorrow was tearing apart Our Lady’s heart!
- Such sorrow reaches its climax with the CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: how could a mother withstand seeing her son undergo such terrible and painful torture! But Mary was there, standing at the foot of the Cross, keeping company with her Son, in grief but with the strength founded on her firm faith in God’s saving plan.
- The anguish and dreadful sight of her dead Son finally ends when his BODY WAS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS. Mary eagerly receives and lovingly embraces the still warm and bleeding, lifeless body of her Son…
- Then, the sorrow experienced by her farewell during the BURIAL of Jesus.
Dear friends, all these, and perhaps a lot more which the Gospels have not told us, Mary suffered with faith, fortitude, dignity, without any complaint and out of love for God. She teaches us to follow and to live, together with her, beside the Cross of her Son, without fleeing from the Cross and all that it entails: suffering, sacrifice, pain, difficulties, sorrow…for when they are accepted having one’s gaze fixed towards Jesus on the Cross, and united with Him like Mary was, they are converted into prayer and possess an immense redemptive value, making us then co-redeemers with Christ, like Our Lady was.
Below is the SEQUENCE “STABAT MATER” proper to today’s feast or memorial (depending on the place) which is an excellent piece for personal meditation.
At the cross her station keeping
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
all his bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed
of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
‘whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child,
all with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation
saw him hang in desolation
till his spirit forth he sent.
O sweet Mother!
Font of love, touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified.
Let me share with you his pain,
who for all our sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.
By the cross with you to stay,
there with you to weep and pray,
is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
let me share your grief divine.
Let me to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of yours.
Wounded with his every wound,
steep my soul till it has swooned
in his very blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in his awful judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence,
be your Mother my defense,
be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays,
may my soul your goodness praise,
safe in heaven eternally. Amen.
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.
If you have friends who do not have a Facebook account but you think would benefit from our posts, they can receive our posts by email once they follow us and subscribe in www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com
FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEVOTION TO THE SORROWS OF OUR LADY, AND THE GRACES AND BENEFITS OF THE DEVOTION, SEE: http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/7sorrows.htm