The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
September 15th Readings Reflection: Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. We have many titles by which we address Our Lady, but this title recalls the unique role Mary played in Our Lord’s Passion and Death. In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ words from the Cross, “Woman, behold your son…. Behold your mother.” With these words, Jesus made Mary the Mother of the Church and of all mankind.
Preaching on Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said, “Love inflicted on the heart of Mary the tortures caused by the nails in the body of Jesus.” Mary bore Christ’s sufferings in a singular way, uniting her sufferings with His as He offered His life for the sins of mankind. In this way, Mary’s spiritual motherhood of mankind was brought forth in an anguish reflecting that of her Divine Son.
This reality of Mary’s suffering at the foot of the Cross is very moving and helps us meditate on Christ’s Passion and Death through the eyes of His Mother. However, St. Ignatius of Loyola reminded us of another way in which Our Lady suffers intensely: “Mary’s sorrow was less when she saw her only Son crucified, than it is now at the sight of man offending Him by sin.” When we sin, we know that we offend God, but it is easy to forget that we also offend our Blessed Mother by our sins.
In her diary, St. Gemma Galgani reported many visions that she received from Our Lady of Sorrows, who often appeared to have been crying. Mary wept at the foot of Calvary on Good Friday, but for two millennia she has wept and continues to weep over the sins of the world. We would not want to do anything to hurt our earthly mothers and make them weep, but so often we sin and cause our Blessed Mother to weep at our lack of love for her Son.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, but traditionally, the entire month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, giving us the opportunity to reflect on Mary’s sufferings all month long. May Our Lady of Sorrows inspire within us a sincere sorrow for our sins, by which we have offended God and our Blessed Mother, and may we implore her help in resisting temptation so that we may never cause her to weep again.