Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows

Written by Julianne Salcedo, a Catholic Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at www.juliannesalcedo.com

Sorrow is not something most of us want to dwell on for long. It’s uncomfortable, painful, at times lonely, and scary. For some of us, sorrow raises the question “How could a loving God allow this to happen?” Many of us would choose a life without sorrow if we had the choice. Perhaps this is what prevents us from fully surrendering to the will of God in our lives.

Since the twelfth century, Catholics have honored Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. This title of Mary invites us to look at sorrow in a different way, to sit in the pain with her, and to not be afraid of it. She is the perfect example of what surrender and acceptance of the will of God look like, as painful as it may be. Honoring her sorrows can encourage us to follow in her example and strengthen us as we endure our own.

The Seven Sorrows

Her sorrows were many - deep, painful, and impossible for us to understand fully. It is common to think of her pain in association with the passion and death of our Lord. While that is certainly a focal point, Mary’s pain started before then. Her heart was pierced, as Simeon prophesied, seven times according to Catholic tradition. Mary’s Seven Sorrows are:

  1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35).
  2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
  3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50).
  4. Mary meets Jesus on His way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17).
  5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30).
  6. The body of Jesus taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37).
  7. The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47).

The Love of Our Blessed Mother

Through each sorrow, she did not run away. She did not collapse in anguish. She stood. How could anyone endure what she did with such grace and strength?

First, her love of God. From the moment she told the angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” (Lk 1:38) she chose to accept whatever God planned for her life, including sorrow. She loved Him so much that she would endure anything for Him.

Second, her love for her Son. No mother would leave her child in pain. Mary, the perfect, most selfless mother, loved her Son perfectly, even to His death. Her love gave her the strength to remain with him through it all. 

Lastly, her love for us. At the cross, Jesus gave us Mary as our mother. Just as she never left Jesus in his suffering, she never leaves us in ours. Her heart endured it all to show us how she meets us and loves us tenderly and faithfully in our utmost pain.

We are not promised a life without pain, but we are given a God and a Mother who can love us through it. Archbishop Fulton Sheen beautifully commented on sorrow in this life when he said, “If Divine Innocence and His Mother, who was a sinless creature, both underwent agonies, it cannot be that life is a snare and a mockery, but rather it is made clear that love and sorrow often go together in this life and that only in the next life is sorrow left behind.”

Our Lady of Sorrows, we honor you and thank you for the suffering you endured because of your overflowing love. Pray for us, remain with us in our sorrows here on earth, and lead us closer to your Son who takes away all pain in eternal life. Amen.

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