Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
TUESDAY, SEPT 15TH Jn. 19: 25-27 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
On this Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows let us plumb the depths of the Seven Sorrows of Mary as presented by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
THE SEVEN SORROWS OF THE VIRGIN MARY by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Let us go deeper into the love in the Heart of Mary by contemplating the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Never did any persons ever suffer more than Jesus and Mary. Never did any persons rejoice more than Jesus and Mary. We are called to enter into the suffering of Jesus and Mary, but also to rejoice exultantly with both of them.
1. Prophecy of Simeon (Lk. 2:22-38)
2. Flight into Egypt (Mt. Chapter 2)
3. Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Lk. 2:41-52)
4. Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross (Lk 23:26-27)
5. Crucifixion of Jesus (Jn. 19:16-30)
6. Jesus’ Body taken from the cross and placed in the arms of Mary (The Pieta)
7. Burial of Jesus (Jn. 19:38-42)
FIRST SORROW—THE PROPHECY OF SIMEON
1. UNION OF JESUS AND MARY. In the midst of the sorrows of life, we must learn from Mary this very simple but profound lesson: stay close to Jesus; cling to Him and never detach yourself from Him! Mary actually held the Baby Jesus in her arms. In your sorrows you can imitate the Infant Jesus and find refuge in the arms of Mary.
2. PROPHECY OF SIMEON TO MARY. Simeon prophesies saying, “Behold this child is destined for the fall and rise of many; He will be a sign that will be contradicted.” Then the Prophet Simeon turns his gaze to Mary and addresses her with these words: “And through your own heart a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many will be laid bare.” The sword made mention of in this prophecy indeed would pierce the heart of Mary, especially during the Passion, crucifixion and death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, when the soldier pierces the side and heart of Jesus on the cross, causing water and blood to gush forth! Mary willingly accepts God’s will in its fullness. Mary conforms her heart and will to that of God’s will. Mary teaches us a most valuable lesson: holiness and interior peace of heart, mind, and soul depends upon our discerning the will of God, accepting the will of God, and striving to put it into practice in our daily life. Now enter into your heart, see the swords of sorrow that have pierced your own heart and bring these to Mary in prayer. Have no fear! Open your heart totally to your Heavenly Mother who loves you so much. Mary desires that you have a total trust in her as well as her Son Jesus. “Jesus and Mary, I trust in you!!!”
SECOND SORROW—THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
1. True devotion and love for Mary cannot be separated from real knowledge of and devotion to Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary. Joseph was the provider, protector, and support of the Holy Family. In the dangers that you experience in life, you should also turn with confidence to Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, and he will most certainly come to your aid.
2. Try to imagine this horrendous scene! The Magi take another route to return to their country and so avoid meeting up with King Herod. Furious, King Herod issues a decree to kill all the little baby boys who are two years and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity, so as to secure his Kingdom and authority. There cannot be two Kings at the same time; one of these has to die and that is Jesus. That is the mind-set of King Herod!
3. GOD HAS HIS PLANS! God sends an angel to good Saint Joseph warning this true man of God in a dream that fleeing from the wicked King is the only way to save the child. Without hesitation, good Saint Joseph moves to prepare both Mary and the Baby Jesus for a long and perilous flight that will terminate in Egypt. Beg good Saint Joseph that you will be open and ready to follow the good inspirations that God sends you! Imagine the sorrow in the heart of Mary that the Savior of the world is so hated and rejected even as a baby, and the loss of so many innocent lives on His behalf! Indeed, we call them the Holy Innocents, the first martyrs to shed their blood for Christ!
4. TRAVEL WITH SAINT JOSEPH, MARY, AND THE BABY JESUS. Contemplate Joseph taking Mary and the Baby Jesus and leading them from danger to safety. Travelling from Nazareth to Egypt is a lengthy and tiring trip. Imagine that you are travelling with the Holy Family. Contemplate them! Now speak with Mary. What is on your mind, open up and talk to her. Mary is very interested in you and what is going on in your life’s journey! The difficulties you have known or may be facing right now!
THIRD SORROW—JESUS LOST FOR 3 DAYS!
1. CONTEMPLATE: USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO GET CLOSER TO JESUS AND MARY. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph are traveling together to the City of Jerusalem. Try to imagine that you are present with them—you are their welcome traveling companion. In this scene Jesus is twelve years of age.
2. JOY IN THEIR MIDST. Being united as a Holy Family causes joy to radiate from their countenances. They truly enjoy being together and they enjoy your company. As you travel with them to Jerusalem, admiring the three holiest and yet most humble and hospitable persons in the world, talk with them. Enter into conversation with them, share your story with them. They rejoice in your presence, your friendship, and your conversation.
3. THE RETURN FROM JERUSALEM AND THE CROSS! After Saint Joseph, Mary, and Jesus have completed their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, they start their trip home to Nazareth. It was the custom of the Jewish people when traveling, for women to travel in one group and men in another group, and then meet up at the end of the day. The cross! After a day’s journey, Saint Joseph and Mary meet, but to their great sorrow Jesus is neither with Saint Joseph nor is He with His Blessed Mother. He is lost and they do not know where He is! The greatest treasure of their life is lost.
4. HEART OF MARY. In your prayer strive to enter into the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in the midst of this terrible affliction—Mary has lost her only Son! Be with Mary in her immense sorrow and do all you possibly can to console her. Travel with Saint Joseph and Mary as they retrace their steps back to Jerusalem and search for Jesus among family and friends.
5. JESUS FOUND IN THE TEMPLE. Finally, after three sorrowful days of searching, Mary and Saint Joseph return to the Temple of Jerusalem and to their immense joy, there He is! Jesus is in the midst of the Doctors of the Law, the students and teachers of the scriptures. What is Jesus doing with them? Jesus is attentively listening to them; Jesus is asking them questions; but, Jesus is also teaching them, even though He is only twelve years of age! Never have they met a child as intelligent and wise!
7. MARY’S REACTION. Upon finding Jesus, Mary asks: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow.” But Jesus gives a mysterious response: “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s business?” Neither Saint Joseph nor Mary understand His words. However, Mary ponders them in her heart. Then Jesus returns with them to Nazareth and He grows in wisdom, age, and grace before God and man.
MYSTERIES IN MARY’S LIFE AND IN YOURS. Upon finding Jesus in the temple after three days of sorrowful search, Jesus expressed words that Mary did not really understand. In your life there are sufferings that you may not fully understand; they are puzzles or enigmas to you. Sometimes life does not seem to make sense!!! Turn now to Mary, open up your heart and tell her your sorrows and the painful mysteries in your life that really do not seem to make sense.
FOURTH SORROW—JESUS MEETS MARY ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS.
1. JESUS MEETS MARY ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS. Try to enter with your imagination into this encounter between Jesus, the Man of Sorrows and Our Lady of Sorrows. Try to see Jesus through the eyes and the Heart of Mary. Jesus is exhausted! A crown of thorns surrounds His blood-stained brow. His face is cloaked with Blood, the precious Blood that Mary gave to Him in His humanity. Almost His entire Body an open wound from the scourging that occurred just a few hours earlier—borne by Jesus in reparation for our sins of impurity. And His garments will be ripped from His Body upon reaching the top of Calvary, causing more agony and fresh blood to flow.
2. OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION. Even though Jesus is suffering intensely as He climbs Calvary, the encounter with His Mother brings Him consolation. In the midst of Jesus terrible sufferings, His Mother’s great love and compassion encourage and strengthen Him. Be with Our Lady as she contemplates the sweating and bloody Face of Jesus. Help Mary console Jesus—with your words, your intentions, and your heart full of love and compassion. You will bring consolation to the Hearts of both Jesus and Mary by doing this.
3. SHARE YOUR CROSSES AGAIN WITH MARY AND JESUS. Once again, delve into the depths of your heart, into the nitty-gritty of your own life, and you will discover a splinter, a thorn, or maybe a deep sorrow that up to this point you have not had enough courage to see and admit. The key to peace and salvation is to bring these to Our Lady. Talk to Mary about these sufferings right now. Mary is the best of listeners when you become vulnerable and open up your wounds to her. The wounded Jesus looked to Mary, His Mother for solace. Now it is your turn, bring your wounds and look to your Mother Mary for understanding, solace, and comfort. She will never be deaf to your plea or to your sufferings. On the contrary, she will rush to your rescue! How blessed we are to have Mary for our Mother to whom we can turn in our own passion, suffering, and dark and lonely nights!
FIFTH SORROW—JESUS IS CRUCIFIED.
1. This FIFTH SORROW of Mary is witnessing, with her own eyes and in the depths of her own sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, the death of her beloved Son by crucifixion, nailed to the cross.
2. BE THERE WITH MARY. In your prayerful meditation be present with Mary as she witnesses Jesus’ torment. Mary sees the soldiers roughly thrust His Sacred Body to the ground. Mary sees them extend the hand of Jesus, that He used to bless children and heal the sick, and nail it to the wood of the cross. Blood comes spurting forth—the Precious Blood that Mary gave to Jesus. As they extend His other hand, Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, shows Jesus’ shoulder brutally and mercilessly pulled out of its socket as He writhes in pain. Our Lady witnesses this and the sword of sorrow pierces her heart.
3. HIS FEET. Then they nail Jesus’ feet to the cross. The very feet that Mary watched taking their first steps when Jesus was a little Baby are now fastened tightly to the cross with nails as He is crucified. His Sacred Blood comes gushing forth to forgive our sins and attain for us eternal salvation. Thank Mary for giving to Jesus His Sacred Humanity that He offered as a holocaust for our sins and our salvation!
4. THE CROSS LIFTED UP. Be with Mary as the cross is elevated on high and then roughly thrust into the ground, racking Jesus’ Body with more pain. All this Mary watches with her eyes and contemplates in her sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus’ redemptive suffering and death endured for love of each and every one of us. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Is 53:5)
5. HIS SACRED HEART PIERCED WITH THE LANCE. On earth there is no more intimate or closer union existing between two persons than that of a mother forming a baby within her womb. It was Mary who gave Jesus His Humanity—meaning His human body. Mary formed the most Sacred Heart of Jesus within her womb. The blood that circulated through Jesus’ veins was given to Him through Mary. Add to that, Jesus and Mary were both sinless! Their union was the closest we could ever imagine. Now Mary watches as a soldier underneath the cross lifts up his sword/lance and thrusts it into the side of Jesus. The lance passes through His side and penetrates His Sacred Heart, causing blood and water to come gushing forth! Jesus did not feel the pain of this sword thrust for He had already breathed forth His spirit. But Our Lady of Sorrows experienced an intense pain penetrating to the very depths of her most tender heart and soul. For this reason Mary is called the “Queen of Martyrs”, for all that Jesus suffered in His Body and death, Mary suffered in her heart and soul!
6. FIND REFUGE IN THE TWO HEARTS. In the midst of the struggles of daily life—the temptations of the devil that assault us constantly, the flesh that seeks to rebel against the spirit, and the world that lies to us, presenting seductive and sinful pastimes—we must seek and find true refuge. The secure refuge of our heart, mind, body, and soul is the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. These Hearts are a sure refuge; these Hearts are harbors of safety; these Hearts are oases of peace; these Hearts are secure and rock foundations! Lift up your gaze and open up your heart to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Even now, open up your heart and talk to the Heart of Mary with total confidence. Tell Mary, your dear Mother, all that is going on in your life. Tell Mary your desires, your dreams, and aspirations. Speak to Mary about your fears, doubts, and insecurities. Open up and unload your sorrows, sufferings, and failures to Mary. She is the best of listeners. Do not be afraid! Tell Mary your moral struggles, your temptations, and even your sins. Mary is also known as the Refuge of Sinners. Undoubtedly, Mary will attain for you special graces of repentance, mercy, and true conversion of heart. Mary is known as the “Full of Grace.” She can attain for you the most signal and special graces to overcome any obstacle, but especially the moral obstacle of sin in your life. Fear not! Trust in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. She is your safe harbor and most secure refuge!
SIXTH SORROW— JESUS IS PLACED IN THE ARMS OF MARY
1. MARY AND THE PIETA—JESUS IN THE ARMS OF MARY. Now proceed in your prayerful thoughts to Mary holding the crucified Body of Jesus in her arms. View this with your contemplative eyes as if it were a holy and sacred movie. See the nails taken from the hands of Jesus and then from His feet, so they can lower His Body from the cross. Contemplate the deep wounds in both His hands and feet. These are wounds of love that Jesus suffered for you. How great is the love of Jesus and Mary for you even now! Now the crucified Body of Jesus is slowly and carefully lowered into the loving arms of Mary. Imagine this scene; contemplate this tender but sorrowful scene with your eyes and heart. Beg Our Lady to help you to penetrate the depths of this mystery, her Sixth Sword of Sorrow!
2. YOU ALSO RECEIVE THE BODY OF JESUS. Mary received with the utmost love, tenderness, and compassion the crucified Body of her Son Jesus. You are called to receive the Body of Jesus, in imitation of Mary, into your body, heart, mind, and soul every time you receive Jesus in the Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist. Implore the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary right now for the grace to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion with lively faith, unbounded and limitless hope, profound humility, a burning and fiery love. Beg Mary for the grace to always have an ardent hunger and thirst for the Eucharist. Indeed, Mary can help you to make better Holy Communions and thereby grow in holiness. The greatest action we can do on earth is to receive Jesus into our inner being every time we receive Holy Communion. May Our Lady grant us this special grace—to receive Jesus frequently and fervently!
3. CONSOLE MARY. Be with Mary in this sublime moment of her life, as she contemplates for the last time the crucified Body of Jesus, covered with wounds that He suffered for love of us, covered with Blood that He shed to purify our souls from our many sins, to save and redeem us from the clasp of the devil and pit of hell! How great is the love of Jesus and Mary for us! How sublime and ineffable their love that indeed goes beyond the expression of words. Let your heart open up in love, thanksgiving, and supplication to Mary who indeed is the Co-Redemptrix of all of humanity. Jesus is the unique and only Savior, but He chose Mary to collaborate intimately with Him in this most sublime and most important work in the history of the world. The love of Jesus and Mary for us should indeed transform us into ardent Apostles of Jesus and Mary. Jesus said that He came to bring fire to the earth and that He is not at peace until that fire be enkindled. We are called to receive constantly the fire of love from the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and bring this fire of love to the whole world! The world is waiting and longing for this love!
SEVENTH SORROW—JESUS BODY IS PLACED IN THE TOMB AND BURIED.
1. LAST SWORD. This last Sword of Sorrow that pierces Mary’s Immaculate Heart is when the crucified Body of Jesus is taken from her loving arms and placed in the tomb and buried. Let us beg for extraordinary graces in this last contemplation!
2. MARY WIPES THE SACRED WOUNDS. In preparation for burial, be with Our Lady of Sorrows as she gently wipes the wounds of Jesus. Contemplate the tears welling up in her eyes. Share your own tears with Mary, as you offer yourself as a servant to help wipe the many wounds in the crucified Body of Jesus. Mary is always grateful for even the smallest gesture done out of love. This done, Mary wraps Jesus’ Body in a clean linen cloth.
3. THE BURIAL Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the body. With Pliate’s permission he takes Jesus’s body and lays it in a tomb in a new garden, in which no one has ever laid. Mary and Magdalene witness the placing of a big stone in front of the entrance of the tomb.
4. Mary has many titles: Our Lady of Sorrows, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, as well as our dear and loving Mother. Stop now to meditate upon this brief summary of Our Lady’s sufferings. Ponder how much Mary suffered for love of you and me. Ponder what went on in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Try to penetrate the depths of the heart, mind, and soul of Mary. If you haven’t already done so, consecrate your whole being to Mary so you will belong totally to Mary. Mary is the surest, shortest, and fastest path to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For those who love His Mother, Jesus can deny them nothing! Now talk to Mary about yourself and your own sorrows. Hold nothing back! Mary is the best and the tenderest Mother, and she loves you, cares for you, watches over you, and longs to help you!
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA