Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
“In these times where I don’t know if it’s the prevailing sense but there is a great sense in the world of being orphaned, it’s an orphaned world. This word has a great importance, the importance when Jesus tells us: ‘I am not leaving you as orphans, I’m giving you a mother.’ And this is also a (source of) pride for us: we have a mother, a mother who is with us, protects us, accompanies us, who helps us, even in difficult or terrible times.” — Pope Francis, homily, September 15, 2015
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34–35)
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13–15)
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43–45)
After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
4. Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross (Luke 23:27)
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 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.
6. Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son (Mark 15:43–47)
Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.
You have not suffered or do not suffer in vain. Pain matures you in spirit, purifies you in heart, gives you a real sense of the world and of life, enriches you with goodness, patience, and endurance, and — hearing the Lord’s promise reecho in your heart: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5.4) — gives you the sense of deep peace, perfect joy, and happy hope. Succeed, therefore, in giving a Christian value to your suffering, succeed in sanctifying your suffering with constant and generous hope in him who comforts and gives strength. I want you to know that you are not alone, or separated, or abandoned in your Via Crucis; beside you, each one of you, is the Blessed Virgin, who considers you her most beloved children. — Pope Saint John Paul II, Address at Lourdes, France, May 22, 1979
- Read / listen about the memorial (American Catholic)
- Meditate Scripture quotes for meditation on each sorrow (Our Lady of the Rosary Library)
- Watch dramatization of seven sorrows
- Pray Novena to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows (EWTN)
- Read The Key to Peace: Emulate Mary’s Surrender
- View Michelangelo’s Pieta
- View Fresco of Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin by Tempesta and Circignani (Rome)
- View Albrecht Durer’s Seven Sorrows Polyptych
- Sing Stabat Mater
- Read Mary Our Mother
- Watch / listen homily on Our Lady of Sorrows (EWTN)
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. — the Lord God, Isaiah 49:15
Questions of the Day: How close will you get to Jesus? Will you stand beneath the cross with his mother? What will you do with your suffering, your sorrows? Will you emulate the Blessed Mother and trust Jesus?