15th September 2021
OUR LADY OF SORROWS
Heb 5: 7‐9,
Ps 31: 1‐5, 14‐15, 19,
COMPASSIONATE MOTHER OF CHRISTIANS
The title, Our Lady of Sorrows, given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.
Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised the seven sorrows of Mary, which were foretold by the Priest Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child [Jesus] is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare” (Luke 2:34‐35).
These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included;
1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The flight of the Holy Family into Egypt;
3. The loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple;
4. Mary's meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary;
5. Mary's standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord
6. Mary holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the
7. The Lord's burial.
In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother's heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, let it be done unto me according to Thy word, first uttered at the Annunciation.
The word “compassion” comes from Latin, com‐passion meaning “to suffer together with” (cum = with, passion = to suffer). Mary suffers for Jesus, and she also suffers with Jesus, for the passion of Christ is a full participation of all the sufferings of human beings. The passion of Christ deeply wounded her immaculate heart, because she loved her son more than herself.
She not only bore the pain of her son but also united with him in accepting the will of His Father, to give new life to human beings. This really reveals how profound her compassion is for her son Jesus and for each one of us her children. Her compassion (to suffer with) is filled with faith, love, and hope in God.
The Gospel reading which Christ sees his mother standing at the foot of the cross with the disciple whom he loved (considered to be St John himself). He says to his mother, “Woman, behold thy son,” and he says to the disciple, “Behold thy mother.” These words convey that the Blessed Virgin Mary is more than just his own mother. He addresses her as “woman” rather than “mother,” possibly connecting her with Eve, the first woman of the Book of Genesis.
Through Eve, sin came into the world, but through the Blessed Virgin Mary, God became flesh and redeemed our nature. When Christ says to his disciple, “Behold thy mother,” he expresses that Our Lady is the mother of all people, just as Eve was, but unlike Eve, Our Lady is the mother of the redeemed humanity reconciled to God by her Son.
Our Lady of Sorrows is a relatable figure, as sorrow and grief are emotions that are common to the human condition, and Our Lady shares in that experience with us. As she mourned for her Son who died on the cross, she sorrows with us as we deal with the struggles of sin, and the events that come with mortal life that are beyond our control, like illness, accidents, and death.
The Mother of God is the compassionate intercessor who intercedes to God for us, as she knows the pain that can come with human existence. God took on our human nature when the second person of the Holy Trinity became flesh in Jesus Christ and suffered on the cross, but it was His Blessed Mother who experienced the ultimate sorrow of seeing her Son die in such a brutal way, and so she profoundly empathizes with the suffering of humanity.
As Our Lady shares in our grief, we also share in hers, as her Son bore the weight of our sins and died on the cross for the salvation of the world. By honouring Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows on this day, we remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us, and we are united with his Holy Mother in her grief for the sins of the world that led to the crucifixion of her Son. However, we also remember that sorrow is temporary, and to have hope, as the necessary death of Our Lord led to his miraculous resurrection and the redemption of all.
May Our Lady of Sorrows Pray for us.