Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sorrows of Mary

In the traditional calendar, the Church commemorates the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary on two occasions: Friday of Passion Week (today) and September 15. During Passion Week the focus is on Mary's compassion for her Divine Son, while the September commemoration focuses on our compassion for Mary's suffering as exemplified in the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows.

The Seven Sorrows are: St. Simeon's prophecy that a sword would pierce Mary's soul; the flight from Herod into Egypt; the loss of Jesus in the temple; the meeting of Mary with Jesus on the way to Calvary; the death of Jesus; the piercing of Jesus' side and his descent from the Cross; and the burial of Jesus.

Mary's Sorrows are beautifully portrayed in Durer's famous panel "The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin".

The Gospel for today's Mass describes the Fifth Sorrow, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own." (Jn:15:25-27. Douay-Rheims version.)

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