September 15 is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
May she who followed her Son to Calvary help us to follow him, carrying his cross with serenity and love, to reach the joy of Easter. May the Virgin of Sorrows especially comfort those who are facing the most difficult situations. (Pope Francis, March 24, 2013)
In her role as Our Lady of Sorrows, Mary becomes the mother who cries with us when we are suffering.
When Simeon prohpesied at the temple that a sword would pierce her heart, did she know what that sword would be? Did that prophesy fill her with dread? Did she pray desperately to God to avoid it, even as she taught her young son to seek and obey God's will in his life? As she listened to Jesus cry out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me," (Mt 27:46) did she feel abandoned by God?
Mary lived in a different time and place. Her experience of daily living was nothing like mine in the details. She didn’t have the convenience of electricity, for one thing. Her vocation was outlined in a very different way.
And yet, I find that the Mother of God and I do share the humanity of suffering. As she stood at the foot of the Cross, she must have felt the full cascade of emotions and the brunt of sorrow. The three days before Jesus rose must have been torture.
It’s easier to lean back into the arms of someone who’s been there. I look to Mary and see the careworn face of a wife, daughter, and mother who has known the burden of everyday life, the small stings and the big burns. I turn to Mary and I feel the comfort of someone who has survived the suffering and offers me the same graces.
Sarah Reinhard, Integrated Catholic
In her role as the Sorrowful Mother, Mary shows us how - in a life filled with suffering - there is also grace. When we are despondent and feeling hopeless, Our Lady of Sorrows can be a wellspring of hope. She can cry with us in the midst of pain. She can pray with us through our heartbreak. She can wrap us in the comforting warmth of her motherly mantel and just be with us.
Who do you know that is struggling with great sorrow? Consider sharing a reflection on Our Lady of Sorrows with them...
Include a note that says:
"I know you've been heavyhearted and in pain recently. I just wanted to share this reflection with you to remind you that you're not alone. I'm praying for you in a special way today."
Some reflections to consider sharing...
On the Web
Our Lady of Sorrows: Our Hope and Joy
by Jessica Archuleta
Through meditating on Mary’s life I have learned that thankfully, we are more than the sorrows we carry. We are not defined by depression or any other disorder, addiction, our sexuality, the multiple sins and passions we battle, the deaths, losses, diseases and pains we suffer. These things no more define who we are than they defined Jesus Christ who suffered many things in a life that ended with Him bearing all the sins and pains of the world on the cross or His mother who suffered beside Him.
Seven Sorrows App
by Order of the Sevants of Mary
The Order of the Servants of Mary, or the Servites, was founded by seven Florentine merchant men in 1233 under the inspiration of Our Mother of Sorrows. For centuries, the Order has preached Her Sorrows. One of the ways that this spirituality is fostered is by praying the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. This app helps you to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.
Our Lady of Sorrows: Suffering with Others to Give Hope
by Rev. Alexander Susai, C.S.C.
Let us draw strength and courage from our Blessed Lady of Sorrows, to embrace our daily crosses with hope and to witness our true love of God and our neighbors in bringing God’s kingdom of love, peace, joy, justice, and fellowship amidst hatred, conflicts, violence, depression, sadness, injustice, and self-centeredness.
Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa
by Immaculee Ilibagiza
From the author: When I first heard about the Seven Sorrows Rosary, I remember thinking, “This is sad to meditate on sorrows.” When you get to know how to meditate on it well, it is not it is not about the sorrows, it is about knowing the measure of love that you are loved. It is about how much you matter, how worthy you are, and what price was paid so you can live. We all know that the person we believe truly loves us, is the one who suffered for us, who defended us, and stood by us even when we were wrong.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary: A Meditative Guide
by Fr. Joel Giallanza C.S.C.
The image of Mary as a survivor both of unthinkable blessings and unimaginable woes has always been a Christian ideal to pray to and imitate. Now, with a contemporary look at a powerful devotion, Joel Giallanza, C.S.C., meditates on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, showing us how in a life filled with suffering, there is also grace, and that a world overcome with challenges awaits our strength. Like Mary, we too can persevere and accept our struggles as paths to growing closer and understanding more deeply the power of her Son.
Rosary of the Seven Sorrows
by Immaculée Ilibagiza
Immaculée shares the messages of Our Lady of Kibeho. This captivating recording features the story of Our Lady's apparitions as well as her messages, which are intended for the whole world. It includes an exclusive hour-long interview with Immaculée on how her faith has impacted her life.
Drawing Strength from Our Lady of Sorrows
by Kimberly Hahn
(MP3 & CD)
In this presentation, Kimberly Hahn reflects on the joys and sorrows that Mary prayerfully experienced during her time on Earth, and shares how her example leads us closer to Christ. Use promo code: 104534)
A Mother's Tears: A Retreat Guide on Our Lady of Sorrows
by Regnum Christi Spirituality Center
Our Lady of Sorrows Reflection
by Apostleship of Prayer
The Way of the Cross of Our Sorrowful Mother
by Mother Adela, SCTJM
The Way to Calvary was not only walked by Christ. The Via Dolorosa is also the path Mary walks, accompanying and consoling her Son. Her accompaniment and consolation are silent and hidden. From a street corner, she walks witnessing to all the suffering of Her Son. Mary, from her place, lives the Passion of her beloved Son, giving Him the fortitude and grace of her love.
Mary, in a unique way, willingly suffered alongside her Divine Son as he gave his life to save the world, and she felt the bitterness of his passion as only a mother can. Pope Pius VII approved a series of prayers in honor of the Seven Sorrows for daily meditation in 1815.
This devotion to the Our Sorrowful Mother was originated in the Thirteenth century. It recalls the Sorrows the Virgin Mother of God endured in compassion for the suffering and death of her Divine Son.