The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most powerful form of prayer and the best way to pay homage to Our Lady and Her Sorrows, and through Her, pay homage to Our Lord. Our Lady of Sorrows is commemorated twice on the liturgical calendar, which expresses the importance of this Feast: the Friday of Passion week- today- (the Friday before Palm Sunday) and September 15th.
Today, the Church commemorates Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in the Roman Rite Latin Mass Calendar. I have to write today, because I cannot pass up an opportunity to talk about my favorite devotion to Mary and the Woman who became the very love that burns in my heart through Her Sorrows. I opened my missal and I read one distinct difference with the September 15th Feast of Mary, and today’s. Today’s Feast of Mary focuses on Her compassion She had for Her Son. COMpassion. Intriguing that passion is in that word. Meaning, Mary shared in the passion of Our Lord. One of our past Popes said what earned Mary the title of “Co-Redemptrix” is the image of Mary pierced with seven swords with a face full of divine tears.
September 15th focuses specifically on Her Seven Sorrows. I can’t even begin to share what love I have for this devotion. It is my whole life. In college I went through sort of a rebellious phase. I was confirmed Catholic very late at age nineteen and Satan just seemed to face me with temptation after temptation as soon as I became a “soldier of Christ”. Confirmation was a powerful and unforgettable day for me, even through that rebellion I never stopped loving God. I look back and I can see clearly that Our Lord showed me that the only way to give up the path of sin is to embrace Mary as my personal path for holiness. That, with Her tears I would be made clean!
This all started when I broke up with a man in college who had no faith. I did this for Our Lord, obviously not knowing what the words of my confessor meant: “Our Lord is so pleased with you, He will reward you with a great Man.” Now I laugh, since I didn’t know then I would pursue being a bride of Christ a few years after that! Just a few months later I boarded a plane to Rwanda, Africa with eighteen other Catholics. We put our feet on the African soil where Our Lady appeared in the 1980s. A village called Kibeho, where Mary appeared to three young Catholic girls where they attended school.
Mary warned them of the 1994 Genocide that would indeed happen if men did not change their ways and cease offending God. One of the weapons to fight off temptation She gave to one of the school girls (who later died in the 1994 genocide)was the Rosary of Seven Sorrows. This apparition approved by the Catholic Church titled Mary: Our Lady of Kibeho, who called Herself “I am Our Lady of Sorrows”. Being in this small village did something to me; I came back to America with a love for Mary I never knew was possible.
I began praying Her Seven Sorrows Rosary everyday and meditated on Her Sorrows whenever I had the chance. A friend and I lead a Bible Study called Mary’s Field specifically to go over the passages from Scripture on Her Sorrows. I consecrated myself to Her through Saint Louis de Montfort’s method and before my eyes I saw how Mary began purifying my soul and removing all obstacles in my way that were contrary to Her Divine Son. It was such a painful year, She rooted out so many weeds in my heart, but I loved Her so much that over time I started pulling them out and giving them to Her because I realized as long as Jesus didn’t take Mary (which He never would) I would continue to give all!
This is truly the power of Her Sorrows. I wish I could show the whole world how Her Sorrows only show the love and tenderness of a Mother’s Heart. What makes a Mother? By looking at Her Heart, I know She has compassion for the human race simply because She suffered. Suffering teaches us one thing: compassion- which we commemorate today. It is not age that gives us wisdom, but suffering. Suffering forces us to mature and forces us to give up self-love. We can only understand and have pity on someone when we too have been through it. The greatest joy of my life was when I was named after the Sorrowful Heart with Mary’s Seven Sorrows, September 15th as my Feast day.
My confessor opened my eyes when he said the Sorrowful Heart has to be one Heart: Jesus, Mary and you! My dad and I growing up always played this game, I would say “how much do you love me?” And he would stretch out his arms as far as they would go and say “this much!” For some reason as sweet as that is to a small child, when I grew up I wanted to see that love proven. Last night I was looking at the Sacred Heart of Jesus hung on the wall and I asked Him: “how much do you love me?” And the answer I seemed to get was both of His Hands pointing to His Sacred Heart covered in wounds saying “I love you this much.”
I understand why Jesus and Mary have a Heart that beat as One. Look at His Heart and then look at Her Heart.. are They not BOTH wounded? Covered in thorns and pierced with swords. If the words “I love you” are not enough, simply look at the Sorrowful Heart of Jesus and Mary. The wounds on Their Sacred Hearts are always enough for me. Happy Feast Day!
Prayer in Honor of Mary’s Sorrows: It is fitting that we should honor the Sorrowful Heart with special veneration. Your Mother, O Lord acquired this title when She shared in Your Passion; and thus cooperated in the work of redemption. A just title, which we believe to be dear to Her Heart pierced with the wounds of Yours.