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Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

William Adolphe Bouguereau, Pieta, 1876

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. This title was given to the Virgin Mary to reflect the sorrows in her life, especially her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of her son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In addition to suffering at the foot of the cross, Mary endured many sorrowful events in her life, collectively known as the Seven Sorrows (or Dolors):

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35)
  2. The Escape and Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:43–45)
  4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.
  5. The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. (John 19:25)
  6. The Piercing of the Side of Jesus, and His Descent from the Cross. (Matthew 27:57–59)
  7. The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. (John 19:40–42)

Mary suffered intensely because she loved deeply. We do not grieve what we do not love. The greater the love, the deeper the sorrow when that love is threatened, dishonored, or lost. Like Mary sorrowfully searching for the lost child Jesus, we too have times when we grieve over family members that have lost their way. Mary is our mother to help us in these times of need, consoling us, and lifting up our needs to her Son, Jesus.

St. John Paul II beautifully explains: “Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by the many physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and pains because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary…Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles. Then, she has that specific mission to love us, received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us only and always, so as to save us! Mary consoles us above all by pointing out the Crucified One and Paradise to us!” (Prayers and Devotions from Pope John Paul II, 1980).

As you face struggles and hardships in your family, turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ask for her intercession for your loved ones. Seek her counsel and consolation. She is your Mother, given to you by her beloved Son, Jesus. She will not fail you.

If you ever feel distressed during your day –  call upon our Lady –  just say this simple prayer: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.” I must admit – this prayer has never failed me. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta