September 15, 2017: SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
September 15, 2017: SEVEN SORROWS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Rank: Double of the II Class.
“My sorrow hath oppressed me, my face is swollen with weeping, and my eyelids are dim.”
(Job, xvi. 8, 17)
“To what shall I compare thee? Or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee? For great as the sea is thy destruction.”
(Lam, ii. 13)
O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Mary, Mother and Virgin: grant in thy mercy, that we who call to mind her sorrows with veneration, may obtain the happy effect of thy Passion. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
Click here, for the famous Sequence called Stabat Mater, sung in the liturgy today.
The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1. The prophecy of Simeon. (St. Luke 2: 34, 35)
2. The flight into Egypt. (St. Matthew 2:13-14)
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (St. Luke 3: 43-45)
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion.
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
7. The burial of Jesus.
Click here, to visit the section on this website, dedicated to the Virgin Most Sorrowful.
‘O ALL ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow!’ (Lam, i. 12) Is this, then, the first cry of that sweet babe, whose coming brought such pure joy to our earth? Is the standard of suffering to be so soon unfurled over the cradle of such lovely innocence? Yet the heart of mother Church has not deceived her; this feast, coming at such a time, is ever the answer to that question of the expectant human race: What shall this child be?
The Saviour to come is not only the reason of Mary’s existence, He is also her exemplar in all things. It is as His Mother that the blessed Virgin came, and therefore as the ‘Mother of sorrows’; for the God, whose future birth was the very cause of her own birth, is to be in this world ‘a Man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity.’ (Isaias, liii. 3) ‘To whom shall I compare thee?’ sings the prophet of lamentations: ‘O Virgin . . . great as the sea is thy destruction.’ (Lam, ii. 13) On the mountain of the sacrifice, as Mother she gave her Son, as bride she offered herself together with Him; by her sufferings both as bride and as Mother, she was the co-redemptress of the human race. This teaching and these recollections were deeply engraved on our hearts on that other feast of our Lady’s dolours which immediately preceded Holy Week.
Christ dieth now no more: and our Lady’ sufferings are over. Nevertheless the Passion of Christ is continued in His elect, in His Church, against which hell vents the rage it cannot exercise against Himself. To this Passion of Christ’s mystical body, of which she is also Mother, Mary still contributes her compassion; how often have her venerated images attested the fact, by miraculously shedding tears! This explains the Church’s departure from liturgical custom, by celebrating two feasts, in different seasons, under one same title.
On perusing the register of the apostolic decrees concerning sacred rites, the reader is astonished to find a long and unusual interruption lasting from March 20, 1809 to September 18, 1814, at which latter date is entered the decree instituting (the third Sunday of September)… a second Commemoration of our Lady’s Dolours. 1809-1814, five sorrowful years, during which the government of Christendom was suspended; years of blood which beheld the Man-God agonizing once more in the person of His captive Vicar. But the Mother of sorrows was still standing beneath the cross, offering to God the Church’s sufferings; and when the trial was over, Pius VII, knowing well whence the mercy had come, dedicated the third Sunday of September, to Mary as a fresh memorial of the day of Calvary. [In 1913, Pope Pius X moved this feast to September 15, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.]
Even in the seventeenth century, the Servites had the privilege of possessing this second feast, which they celebrated as a double of the second class, with a vigil and an octave. It is from them that the Church has borrowed the Office and Mass. This honour and privilege was due to the Order established by our Lady to honour her sufferings and to spread devotion to them. Philip Benizi, heir to the seven holy Founders, propagated the flame kindled by them on the heights of Monte Senario; thanks to the zeal of his sons and successors, the devotion to the Seven Dolours of the blessed Virgin Mary, once their family property, is now the treasure of the whole world.
So great, it has been said, was Mary’s grief on Calvary, that, had it been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, it would have caused them all to die instantly. It was our Lady’s wonderful peace, maintained by perfect acquiescence and the total abandonment of her whole being to God, that alone was able to sustain in her the life which the Holy Ghost was preserving for the Church’s sake. May our participation in the sacred mysteries give us that peace of God which passeth all understanding, and which keepeth minds and hearts in Christ Jesus!
The prophecy of the aged Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the divine Child in Jerusalem, the carrying of the cross, the Crucifixion, the taking down from the cross, and the burial of Jesus: these are the seven mysteries into which are grouped the well-nigh infinite sufferings which made our Lady the Queen of martyrs, the first and loveliest rose in the garden of the Spouse. Let us take to heart the recommendation from the Book of Tobias which the Church reads during this week in the Office of the time: Thou shalt honour thy mother: for thou must be mindful what and how great perils she suffered in giving thee birth. (Tobias, iv. 3, 14)
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. V, Edition 1910; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Happy senses of the blessed Virgin Mary, which without dying deserved the palm of martyrdom beneath the cross of our Lord.
Virgin most sorrowful, pray for us.