Feast of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows – Friday in Passion Week
Today, the Friday of Passion Week, the Church calls our attention to Our Lady’s spiritual martyrdom through her participation in Our Lord’s life and Passion. It is one of the two days a year, today and September 15, that the faithful are encouraged to recite the Seven Sorrows Rosary, with special emphasis on Mary’s suffering at the foot of the Cross.
According to the 19th-century Benedictine abbot Dom Guéranger in his series, The Liturgical Year,* this feast was celebrated as far back as 1423 in the diocese of Cologne, but in 1727, Pope Pius XIII instituted it for the entire church under the name the Feast of the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yesterday I wrote about the physical and earthly aspects of “Poverty has few preparations to make,” a quote from Father Faber in the second dolor. I spoke about my own hyper-focus on day-to-day tasks often keeps me from preparing for what is most important – eternity. This of course is really a type for the more critical meaning of poverty, poverty of spirit. It follows that a truly humble soul would have fewer preparations to meet Our Blessed Lord, but attaining that humility is quite the bumpy path. Social media, family, wealth, competition in work, sports, even charitable works – can be just a few of the potholes we have to steer clear of on any given day. Are we connecting, or are we showing off?
Humility is tough – especially in a driven individualistic society like ours. But how can we complain about being called to this humility if even the humblest creature of them all, our sinless Blessed Mother, was called by her Son to greater and greater suffering even though no preparation was necessary for her soul, only for OURS! Father Faber expressed Our Lady’s “preparation” this way:
This reminds us that the road to holiness is never an easy one. Any progress we make is sure to be met with spiritual attack or condemnation from those around us. As I personally become more and more aware of my thoughts that are completely counter to humility, it feels overwhelming. It is humiliating to see how truly proud I am!
But Our Lady of Sorrows is the devotion to ask for assistance to overcome pride. Our Lady’s heart was pierced “so that thoughts may be revealed.” If you ask her, she will reveal your thoughts – that happen so frequently and so quickly – we would miss them without spiritual assistance.
As I pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and meditate today on Our Lady at the foot of the Cross, uniting her suffering with My Saviour’s, I have to ask myself, what will I do to prepare – of what will I let go – to be more fully united in gratitude to My Lord and My Lady’s sacrifice?
- To purchase a copy or eBook of A Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady: excerpts from The Foot of the Cross, click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP9Z9DY
- To subscribe to daily email excerpts from Dom Guéranger’s, The Liturgical Year, a project of the FSSP-Atlanta, click here: https://fsspatl.com/email-subscription You won’t be disappointed.