Friday, September 15, 2017Our Lady of Sorrows
To even begin to understand Our Lady of Sorrows, one needs to remember the words spoken to Mary decades before she found herself at the foot of the cross:
First, by the angel Gabriel, which we hear on the Feast of the Annunciation [Luke 1:30-33]: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.
Second, when forty days after the nativity, at the presentation of Jesus at the temple, Simeon tells Mary [Luke 2:34-35]: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
So it is that on this day following Holy Cross, we remember that Mary's soul, pierced by the passion and death of her only son, was full of the sorrow that only a mother who survives the death of her own child can understand. The child, promised the throne of David to reign forever, is nailed to a cross to suffer the death of a criminal.
We do not know what Mary was thinking. No words of Mary from the foot of the cross are recorded. But grief, surely, she knew.
O God, at whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary: mercifully grant, that we who with devotion honor her Sorrows, may obtain the happy fruit of thy Passion: Who livest and reignest with the Father and Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.