It is in time of hardship, trial, suffering and even death that one knows who is his or her true friend or family. Friends abound at parties and feasts but diminish in the face of a sword. Jesus had made so many disciples who found His ministry so promising but when His ministry led to a cross many compromised. Some others followed from afar, someone like Peter. Yet few remained at the foot of the cross. His mother, Mary is one of those who loved the Lord to the end. We may easily suppose what an affliction it was to these poor woman to see her son thus abused, humiliated, ill-treated and mistreated. Now was fulfilled Simeon’s word, A sword shall pierce through thy own soul (cf. Lk 2:35). His torments were her tortures she was upon the rack, while He was upon the cross and her heart bled with His wounds and the reproaches wherewith they reproached Him fell on her.

It must have been painful for Mary to witness such a horrific scene happening before her, as she saw her Son suffering in such a manner, deprived of all dignity and honour, betrayed and cast aside by the authorities and the people, condemned to death for faults that were not His. It must have indeed been most sorrowful for a mother to witness her own child’s death, but that was exactly what happened as Mary beheld the lifeless body of her Son, at the foot of the Cross. This is most commonly depicted as Our Lady of Sorrows, the most sorrowful and sad depiction of Mary, as a loving Mother holding her Son, His mission fulfilled and completed, but with sorrow piercing her heart seeing all that happened.

It’s on this grounds that the Church established the 15th of September,  immediately after the feast of  Exaltation of the Cross for the remembrance of Our Lady of Sorrows. This form of Marian piety goes back to the fourteenth century, but Mary’s compassion was remembered from early centuries. The likes of St. Ambrose, Anselm and Bernard also preached/meditated on Mary’s sorrows. However, in 1482, John de Coudenberghe carefully brought out Seven Sorrows of Mary:

1. The prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:34-35);

2. The flight into Egypt (Mt 2:13-21);

3. The loss of Jesus for Three Days (Lk 2:41-50);

4. The ascent to Calvary (Jn 19:17);

5. The crucifixion and death of Jesus (Jn 19:18-30);

6. Jesus taken down from the cross (Jn 19:39-40);

7. Jesus laid in the tomb (Jn 19:39-42).

In all these heavy trials, we do not find Mary wringing her hands, or tearing her hair, or rending her clothes, or making an outcry but, with a wonderful composure, standing by the cross. Mary journeyed through the Paschal Mystery with her son; she drank the chalice of the crucifixion to its bitter end and courageously kept everything in her heart. In Mary, we see how faith is experienced and expressed. With Mary and the Church, our place is at the cross.

We live in a world broken by sorrows and pains; we live in families shrouded in sorrows, pains and tears. Today, we have the full assurance of her companionship. She understands our pain because, she too has experienced it. She assures us especially mothers that she’ll never abandon nor forsake us in our grief. she’ll journey with us through these hard times. She’ll bear our pains with us. She encourages us to remain strong in faith. She assures us that though weeping may linger for the night, joy will surely come with dawn.

PRAYER: Our Lady of Sorrows. Pray for us. Amen!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *