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12 Jul, 2024

Our Lady of Sorrows

Who Is Our Lady of Sorrows?

Our Blessed Mother’s title, Our Lady of Sorrows, refers to her profound agony and intense suffering during our Lord’s passion and death. Our Lady of Dolors, Mother of Sorrows, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, and Our Lady of the Seven Dolors are some of the additional titles attributed to the Blessed Mother. This agony was traditionally not restricted to the passion and death of Jesus. It included Mary’s seven dolors, or sorrows, as predicted by the Priest Simeon (Luke 2:34-35). 

Mary’s Seven Sorrows

The sorrows of our Blessed Mother include:

  1. Simeon’s Prophecy
  2. The Holy Family’s flight into Egypt
  3. The loss and subsequent discovery of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  4. When Mary meets Jesus on His way to Calvary
  5. Mary standing at the foot of the cross, witnessing her son’s crucifixion and death
  6. Holding Jesus in her arms when Jesus is taken down from the cross
  7. The Lord’s burial

Overall, these occurrences confirmed Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother’s heart. As a result, Mary is sometimes shown with her heart exposed and seven swords piercing it. 

From Pain to Purpose

It was Mary’s compassion and love for humanity that made her say, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary’s compassion for her children, for the hungry, the powerless, marginalized and the downtrodden, the rich and the poor alike, transcended her fears and uncertainty. She chose us in that “Yes.” The Blessed Mother accepted the will of God because of her love for humanity. She lived with the knowledge suffering awaited her and that a sword will pierce her soul. That is because her pain had a purpose, our salvation. 

Mary’s conscious acceptance of pain and suffering serves as an inspiration. It reminds us that when God’s will is the mission, and even if it means a journey full of pain and suffering, it needs to be accepted with all humility, courage and profound faith.

One can see that it does not end with mere acceptance on the part of Mary; she lives her faith throughout her life. Mary teaches us to be firm in our faith and to remain focused on the mission entrusted to us by God. Suffering, thus, is not a mere experience; it is a profound experience that guides us to reflect and find what God wants of us. Once we accept it with courage, faith and humility and live with it as part of God’s plan, we will have the time necessary to find God’s will and do it. Our pain is not without a purpose nor should it lead us astray from the path of discovering the will of God when we have our Blessed Mother to console and guide us.  

St. John Paul II reminds the faithful that Mary continues to remain the loving consoler of those who continue to suffer physical and moral sorrows that torment humanity. She is aware of our sorrows because she herself suffered them from Bethlehem to Calvary. Mary is our loving mother who understands the pain and suffering we go through and loves her children. She consoles us because it is her mission which she received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us always and to save us. St. John Paul II says that Mary consoles us by pointing out the Crucified One and Paradise to us (1980).

The world continues to witness unspeakable grief and pain. Mary’s pain and sorrows came with a mission, and she embraced them willingly. We continue to suffer and experience pain, loss, and grief. We often find it difficult to share it with others. Our pain becomes a burden that we carry all through our lives. However, our pain also comes with a purpose, i.e., to know that God loves us and to serve Him. All we need to do is to do pray to our lady of sorrows to intercede on our behalf and express faith in deeds. As a mother, she will not only understand our pain and sorrows but will also help us deal with them.  

Mary shows us that she chose to suffer because she loved us. Her love was made visible in actions when she walked to Calvary and watched her son being crucified. Our prayers for healing from pain and suffering also need to be accompanied by actions of love and generosity. The world continues to suffer, with people dying from hunger, homelessness, sickness and so forth. We can follow Mary in loving others by helping them in their needs and by taking actions that help ease others’ sufferings.  

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows represents the unbreakable connection between the suffering of Jesus and Mary’s sorrows. We should pray to her for intercession and deliverance from our earthly burdens and the strength to live our lives in God’s name.

“O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who experienced untold grief and witnessed your son’s sufferings, death, and burial, we pray to you to awaken in us the courage to say yes to God’s will. We pray for the strength with which your bore all these sufferings so that we may, with compassion awakened in our hearts, detach ourselves from the joys and pleasures of the earth and direct all our actions into the service of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

O Blessed Mother! Help us learn from your love and compassion for others so that we may be filled with the love and courage to be of help and service to those who suffer and need us the most. May we grow in faith and love to listen with compassion, to help others in their needs, and to love them as you love us! May our faith be so profound to accept pain and suffering as part of God’s plan and lead us to discover His will in our lives. May our lives be filled with love, our words turn into action, and may we continue serving the Lord as He deserves!”

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