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Friday, March 27, 2015
Feast of our Lady of Sorrows in Lent

Today, the Friday after Passion Sunday, is dedicated to the honor of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the Traditional Roman Catholic Calendar from before Vatican II).  This day is in addition to the honor given to our Lady and her Seven Sorrows in September's Feastday by this same name.

Today, the Friday after Passion Sunday (old calendar), Holy Mother Church asks us to recall the principle sorrows of Mary, our Sorrowful Mother. Rightly is our Blessed Mother called the Sorrowful Mother. She is indeed the Mother of Sorrows. She is the Queen of Martyrs. In fact, Her whole life was a martyrdom. The sufferings of the poor, for instance, She had to bear all through Her life. Mary was poor, as poor, perhaps poorer, than the poorest of us.

A thread of sorrow ran through all Her years in that She could see ahead to the time when Her only Son, now an Infant, now a little curly-headed Boy, now an obedient and respectful young Man, would have to die a most painful and disgraceful death.

And oh, Her sufferings during the Passion of Jesus, Her anguish as He carried His cruel cross, Her agony as She stood beneath that cross watching Him die. Who could ever measure Her grief or count Her tears?

It was most fitting that the woman whom God gave us for our heavenly Mother should be a Mother of Sorrows, a woman who had to suffer. As we all know, suffering is the lot of every human being. There is not, nor was there ever, a man, a woman, or a child but had to suffer. No person ever living that had not at least one sword in his or her heart, at least one sorrow, at least one affliction.

Sometimes we judge other people saying, "But so and so has no trials in his or her life?" How do we know that? Can we see into their interior? Most often we only see one side of the story. The fact is: Every human being has some sort of sorrow. Is it not consoling then that we children of Mary have for a Mother one who has borne a many-sworded sorrow? As children of Mary, we are all glad that we have such a Mother who suffered too; because only one who has suffered can rightly console, can satisfactorily comfort the sufferings of others. As Scripture says, '[God] comforts us in all our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation we have received from Him. As we have shared much in the sufferings of Christ, so through Christ do we share abundantly in His consolation.' (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Certainly Mother Mary shared in Christ's sufferings!

Yes, everyone has a cross. Bitter indeed are some of our crosses--death of dear ones, sickness, poverty, misunderstanding, difficulties in our home and in our work.

What is your cross? Thank God for it. Ask Our Lady to show you how to carry it. Our Blessed and Sorrowful Mother, She who sits at the side of Her divine Son, with whom She suffered here on earth, Mary is now in Heaven waiting to help you, waiting to console you, waiting to be a sympathetic Mother to you.

Next Friday (Good Friday) we will recall Her principle sorrows. She had many more, but Mother Church centers our attention on the seven swords that pierced Her tender Heart:

1. The prophecy of Simeon that a sword of sorrow would pierce Her Heart, was a bitter pain.
2. The flight into Egypt made Her experience the sadness of exile and the loss of Her home.
3. The three-day loss of Jesus made Her Heart ache with anxiety.
4. What anguish when She met Jesus on the way of the cross.
5. One would think Her Heart would break as She stood beneath the cross at Christ's death.
6. Only a mother who holds a dead child in her arms can know anything of Mary's grief as She held Jesus taken down from the cross.
7. Only a mother who puts a child to bed in a grave can understand at all how Mary felt at the burial of Jesus.

Mary, our Sorrowful Queen, reaches out Her sympathy and help to everyone who suffers. She, more than any other woman, knew the pang and pain of sorrow. We can go to Her and take others to Her also. We can then be Our Lady's consolers!

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
[Adapted from a homily by Rev. Arthur Tonne, O.F.M. accessed via here]


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