Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Lady


Today's Feast follows that of the Exaltation of the Cross, and recalls how Our Blessed Lady shared in the sufferings of her Divine Son, as was prophesied by the old man, Simeon, when Our Infant Lord was presented in the Temple:

"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and a sign that is spoken against (and  sword of sorrow will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34-35)

The Seven Sorrows (or Dolours) of Our Blessed Mother are:
  1. Simeon's prophecy itself;
  2. The flight into Egypt (very pertinent at the moment, given the refugee crisis in the Middle East)
  3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple for 3 days (a portent of His burial)
  4. The meeting of Jesus and His Mother on the way to Calvary
  5. The Crucifixion
  6. The piercing of Christ's side and the placing of His dead body into Our Lady's arms
  7. The burial of Jesus
These mysteries form the basis of the devotions of the Servite Order, and are particularly remembered via two of their sacramentals, the Dolour Rosary (a chaplet of seven parts, one for each Dolour, and each consisting of an Our Father and seven Hail Marys - see the picture), and the Black Scapular of Our Lady of Dolours (not to be confused with the Passionist Black Scapular), which also forms part of the Five-Fold Scapular, and entitles those who wear it worthily to the benefits of the prayers of the Order. I would commend both these devotions to you.
The Dolour Rosary

Finally, the hymn 'Stabat Mater', best known from the Stations of the Cross devotion, is also associated with this Feast, forming the Sequence at Mass.

Mater Dolorosa, ora pro nobis.

Happy Feast.

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