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Our Lady of Sorrows

Submitted by on Thursday, 15 September 2011No Comment

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The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

This feast dates back to the 12th century. It was especially promoted by the Cistercians and the Servites, so much so that in the 14th and 15th centuries it was widely celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. In 1482 the feast was added to the Missal under the title of "Our Lady of Compassion." Pope Benedict XIII added it to the Roman Calendar in 1727 on the Friday before Palm Sunday. In 1913, Pope Pius X fixed the date on September 15. The title "Our Lady of Sorrows" focuses on Mary’s intense suffering during the passion and death of Christ. "The Seven Dolors," the title by which it was celebrated in the 17th century, referred to the seven swords that pierced the Heart of Mary. The feast is like an octave for the birthday of Our Lady on September 8th. [More from Catholic Culture]

Mary Beneath the Cross

And now, standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words. On that wood of the Cross her Son hangs in agony as one condemned. "He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows…he was despised, and we esteemed him not": as one destroyed (cf. Isaiah 53:3-5). How great, how heroic then is the obedience of faith shown by Mary in the face of God’s "unsearchable judgments"! How completely she "abandons herself to God" without reserve, offering the full assent of the intellect and the will"39 to him whose "ways are inscrutable" (cf. Romans 11:33)! And how powerful too is the action of grace in her soul, how all-pervading is the influence of the Holy Spirit and of his light and power!

Through this faith Mary is perfectly united with Christ in his self- emptying. For "Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men": precisely on Golgotha "humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (cf. Philippians 2:5-8). At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self- emptying. This is perhaps the deepest "kenosis" of faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death; but in contrast with the faith of the disciples who fled, hers was far more enlightened. On Golgotha, Jesus through the Cross definitively confirmed that he was the "sign of contradiction" foretold by Simeon. At the same time, there were also fulfilled on Golgotha the words which Simeon had addressed to Mary: "and a sword will pierce through your own soul also." (John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, no. 18)

Readings for the Day and more about Our Lady of Sorrows>>>

Isaiah 53:3-5
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3Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
Romans 11:33
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33O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!
Philippians 2:5-8
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5For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.
8He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

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