Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Celebrate feels like the wrong word to use when referring to sorrows. Celebrating is for joyful events like birthdays and births and anniversaries, not for suffering. But like all devotion to Our Lady, it is inextricably intertwined with the sacrifice of Jesus.
I struggled as I labored to write this post last night, and finally went to bed, figuring I’d go to Mass this morning and see what the Lord had to say.
I was moved to tears by the homily. The priest spoke about the sacrificial love of Our Lady – her “Yes” at all turns of her life, joyful and sorrowful. He drew out the many times she said yes to suffering knowing that it would bear great fruit. After all, that is what love does. It says yes to joy and sorrow. Deep love, like the love of Christ on the cross, never gives up.
We prayed the Stabat Mater after the homily. I had never prayed it before, but only have sung it, “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” at the Stations of the Cross on Good Fridays. It is a beautiful prayer that I share with you today.
Why the tears? My tears were of deep, deep gratitude for her in my life. Quite honestly, I don’t know where I’d be. Because of the example of my grandmother’s devotion to Our Lady, I turned first to her in a period of suffering in my life. She led me directly to Jesus who brought me to the Father. I know my faith is what it is today because of her intercession. I sometimes can’t believe that I am loved so much that Our Lady would take me by the hand and bring me to Almighty God. But I am loved that much…as are you.
Today, I invite you to spend some time meditating on Our Lady’s Seven Dolors, to pray the Stabat Mater with me and to pray for all sorrowing mothers.
We pray, the Stabat Mater:
At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her son to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O how sad and sore distressed was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Christ above in torment hangs, she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep, whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
For the sins of His own nation, She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:
She beheld her tender Child, Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
O thou Mother! fount of love! Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Make me feel as thou hast felt; make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Let me share with thee His pain, who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee, mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
By the Cross with thee to stay, there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!, Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Let me, to my latest breath, in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound, steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence, by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
When my body dies, let my soul be granted
the glory of Paradise. Amen
For all sorrowing mothers, we unite Our Lady’s sufferings with theirs, praying for fortitude, courage, and great love:
The Prophecy of Simeon – for all those whose hearts are pierced with a sword in receiving an unfathomable diagnosis of a child’s illness
The Flight into Egypt – for all those who have to flee their homeland in order to protect their children
The Loss of Jesus in the Temple – for all those whose children have been abducted or whose children have run away
The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross – for all those who walk the road of suffering with their children
The Crucifixion – for all those who witness injustice and persecution of their children
The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross – for all those who have witnessed the suffering of their children to the very end
Jesus laid in the Tomb – for all those who have lost a child through death
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! Anne
Heavenly Harmon, music for the day: Stabat Mater by Palestrina
For your further prayer and reading:
Prayers, devotions and mediations on The Seven Dolors of Mary