September 15th. Our Lady of Sorrows

1st Reading: Hebrews 5:7-9

He learned obedience through what he suffered

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel: Luke 2:33-35

Simeon predicts a sword of sorrow will pierce Mary’s heart

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”


Our Lady of Sorrows

The title, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” was first given to Our Lady to recall her intense grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Gradually, the scope of this title was not limited to the sacred Passion and was extended to comprise “the seven dolours” or “seven sorrows” of Mary, as foretold by the old prophet Simeon, while the child Jesus was presented in the Jerusalem temple. This devotion is popular in the Catholic Church, many of whose faithful like to meditate on her Seven Sorrows, and there is a corresponding devotion to the Seven Joys of Mary. In Irish tradition the lamentation “Caoineadh na dtri Muire”, commemorates Mary’s share in the Passion of Jesus. The Seven Sorrows are these:

  • 1. Simeon’s Prophecy about the sword of sorrow (Lk 2:34-35);
  • 2. The Flight of Joseph, Mary and Jesus into Egypt (Mt 2:13);
  • 3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:43-45);
  • 4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary (Lk 23:26);
  • 5. Jesus Dies on the Cross (John 19:25);
  • 6. Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms (Mt 27:57);
  • 7. The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb (John 19:40).

The liturgical feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows was proclaimed in Cologne (1413) as a response to the Hussites, under the title: Commemoratio angustiae et doloris B. Mariae Virginis. Until the 16th century, the feast was celebrated only in Northern Europe. Earlier, in Tuscany (1233), seven young men founded the Servite Order (OSM or “Order of the Servants of Mary”). Five years later, they named the sorrows of Mary under the Cross as the principal devotion of their order. They developed the two most common devotions to Our Lady’s Sorrows, namely the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and the Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary.

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