Today, September the 15th, if it’s not a Sunday, we would have celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Normally when we talk about the saints, we talk of their triumphant victories and the miracles they have performed. The saints seem to us like super humans and we forget that they are ordinary human beings like us. What we are going through with our daily and spiritual life, they went through the same. As a matter of fact, most of the saints suffered much more than us. For example, the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we are reflecting on her sorrows this September. There are seven sorrows that the Church listed for us to meditate but her pain is beyond our comprehension. The Church even give her a title, Our Lady of Sorrows. Let us visit the seven listed sorrows and pray with her.
- The Prophecy of Simeon: (Lk 2:34-35 ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare’)
Reflection: Mary was deepely in pain when she heard the prophecy that Jesus, her Divine Son, is going to suffer greatly. She was so hurt like a sword pierced through her heart.
Prayer: Let us pray for the many parents who are suffering and deeply hurt when seeing their children suffer.
- The flight into Egypt: (Mt 2:13-14 ‘Get up, take the child…and escape into Egypt…because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him…So Joseph got up, and taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt…’)
Reflection: Right after giving birth to the Savior of the world in the stable, the Holy Family have to flee to a foreign land.
Prayer: Let us pray for the many people who are being displaced from their homes because of many disaster, violence, and poverty.
- The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple: (Lk 2:43-45 ‘When they were on their way home…the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations…When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere’)
Reflection: Being seperated from her Son was so painful that it could take her life, if God did not give her enough strength to endure it. Through the three days looking for her lost child, Mary shared the three days of Jesus’ death.
Prayer: Let us pray for all the parents and children who have been suffereing of having lost their child or parent either through physical or emotional separation.
- The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: (Lk 23:27 ‘Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who mourned and lamented for him’)
Reflection: Let us reflect on the moment that Mary saw her Son, Jesus, half dead carrying the heavy cross with the crown of thorn to be crucified.
Prayer: Let us pray for the people who are going through a tough time knowing their love ones are about to depart from this world.
- The Crucifixion: (Jn 19:18, 25-27 ‘They crucified Him. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala…Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said: “This is your mother”’)
Reflection: Let us reflect on the excruciating pain of Mary witnessing her Son being crucified and died on the cross.
Prayer: Let us pray for those who are affected by the lost their love ones.
- The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: (Mk 15:43, 46 ‘Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent member of the Council…boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph took Jesus down from the cross, wrapped him in the shroud and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock.’)
Reflection: Let us reflect on the pain of Mary of having to bury her own Son.
Prayer: Let us pray for those who are at their rock bottom period of their lives.
- The burial of Jesus: (Jn 19:41-42 ‘At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried…they laid Jesus there.’)
Reflection: Let us reflect on the pain that Mary had letting go of her Son for burial.
Prayer: Let us pray for those who are suffering from the past wounds.
Those are the seven sorrows of Mary and we know that the number seven is a perfect number, which mean that her pain is enormous that it cannot be described in words. The saints, even our Blessed Mother, have gone through great trials of this life with their constant trust in God. Now, they are rewarded with the crown of victory. Let us remember that we too have the grace of God in every single moment of our journey. May we too one day, after passing through all our trials with the grace of God, be crowned also. Amen!
-written by Fr. JBA Steven S Tran, CSsR