Sep 15 – Memorial for Our Lady of Sorrows
Different sorrows of Mary have been honoured in the Church’s history, but since the 14th century, these seven have come to be regarded as the seven ‘dolors’ (sorrows) of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. The Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days
4. Meeting Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross
7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb
By commemorating Our Lady of Sorrows, we call to mind the sufferings that Mary endured as part of her vocation as the Mother of the Redeemer. No one is closer to Christ than Mary, consequently no one has participated more intimately in the redemptive suffering of Christ than His Mother Mary.
1 Cor 12:12-14,27-31
“Behold, your mother.”
Raising children today is hard work. Much more difficult than previous generations. Back then, good parents were those who provided for their children and taught them to be well-mannered, respectful, and responsible. Parents worked to protect their children from the dangers of the world and worried about the basics, such as food and shelter.
Today, it is not just about how children should grow physically, but how they should grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually. I am not privileged enough to be a parent, and sometimes I wonder if it’s a blessing! I see some of my friends speak about the stresses of parenting – PSLE, ‘O’ & ‘A’ Levels, something about IB programmes, then there’s university (which? where?) – truly mind boggling; and that’s just the educational aspect.
As parents provide structure and discipline to teach your children to be responsible and caring, you also need to keep their emotional well-being intact. While it is easier to determine if your child is behaving properly, it is harder to see or easily measure how healthy his/her inner world is. I have heard about and seen the utter shock and pain of parents whose children have taken their own lives, due to the stresses and pressures of our world today. According to a recent article, the number of suicides in Singapore rose 10 per cent in 2019, with suicides among boys aged 10 to 19 at a record high. A total of 94 people aged between 10 and 29 killed themselves last year.
In addition to paying attention to your child’s emotional health, parents have to assess the quality of your relationship with your child. Sometimes, as parents, you inadvertently ‘hurt’ your children in parenting. This may affect the parent–child relationship way beyond childhood, into adulthood. I have seen the pain, anger and frustration experienced by both parents and children because of something that happened in their childhood. Sure, some were crappy parents, but some were parenting the best they know how.
Today, we celebrate the motherhood of our Blessed Mother — the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The title focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Mother Mary was no ordinary mother, and Jesus wasn’t any ordinary child. Sure, Mother did not have to stress over which school Jesus went to, or if his grades were good enough to be admitted into the best schools. But can you just imagine the pressure and stress of having to raise the Son of God?
Mother Mary’s vocation as mother wasn’t an easy one. It was one filled with pain and sorrow. The seven sorrows of Mary, foretold by the Priest Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” (Luke 2:34-35)
The seven sorrows of Mary are:
- The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
- The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Our Blessed Mother’s sorrow exceeded anyone else’s since she was the mother of Jesus, who was not only her Son, but also her Lord and Saviour; she truly suffered with her Son. I could not imagine myself in her position, her ‘fiat’ shows her obedience, faith and trust in God.
Therefore, today as we honour our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honour her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day.
Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Our Mother of Sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross, sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and with tender care you bore him in your arms, mourning and weeping. We praise you for your faith, which accepted the life God planned for you. We praise you for your hope, which trusted that God would do great things in you. We praise you for your love in bearing with Jesus the sorrows of his passion. Holy Mary, may we follow your example, and stand by all your children who need comfort and love. Mother of God, stand by us in our trials and care for us in our many needs. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
Thanksgiving: O Jesus, we thank and bless Your most merciful Heart for having given us Mary most holy as our Mother, Teacher and Queen. From the cross You placed us all in her hands. You gave her a great heart, much wisdom and immense power. May all mankind know her, pray to her! May all permit themselves to be led by her to You, the Savior of mankind! I place myself in her hands, as You placed Yourself. With this Mother I want to live now, in the hour of my death, and for all eternity. Amen.