September 6, 2016

The Month of September is Dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

The Virgin Mary cradling Christ crucified.
Pietà, Pietro Perugino, c. 1490.

The month of September is dedicated to commemorating the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This devotion originated in the 12th century. Thanks to the influence of Saint Anselm and Saint Bernard, it spread from monastic circles to the universal Church. Jesus is called the the King of martyrs, because He suffered more than all other martyrs. Mary is the Queen of martyrs, by virtue of suffering the most cruel martyrdom after that of her Son. According to St. Bernard, "Mary was a martyr, not by the sword of the executioner, but by bitter sorrow of heart."

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-50)
4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Way to Calvary (John 19:17)
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus  (John 19:25-30)
6. The Piercing of Jesus' Side, and His Descent from the Cross (John 19:31-37)
7. The Burial of Jesus. (Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)

Here is an excerpt from Saint Alphonsus Ligouria's Discourse IX Of The Dolours Of Mary: taken from "The Glories of Mary" in which he reflects upon the great torments which our Lady endured:

"Mary was the Queen of Martyrs, for her martyrdom was longer and greater than that of all the Martyrs.

Who can ever have a heart so hard that it will not melt on hearing the most lamentable event which once occurred in the world? There was a noble and holy Mother Who had an only Son. This Son was the most amiable that can be imagined—innocent, virtuous, beautiful, Who loved His Mother most tenderly; so much so that He had never caused her the least displeasure, but had ever shown her all respect, obedience, and affection: hence this Mother had placed all her affections on earth in this Son. Hear, then, what happened. This Son, through envy, was falsely accused by His enemies; and though the judge knew, and himself confessed, that He was innocent, yet, that he might not offend His enemies, he condemned Him to the ignominious death that they had demanded. This poor Mother had to suffer the grief of seeing that amiable and beloved Son unjustly snatched from her in the flower of His age by a barbarous death; for, by dint of torments and drained of all His blood, He was made to die on an infamous gibbet (gallow) in a public place of execution, and this before her own eyes."

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows

Most Holy Virgin and Mother, whose soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the Passion of thy divine Son, and who in His glorious Resurrection wast filled with never-ending joy at His triumph; obtain for us who call upon thee, so to be partakers in the adversities of Holy Church and the sorrows of the Sovereign Pontiff, as to be found worthy to rejoice with them in the consolation for which we pray, in the charity and peace of the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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