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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September: The Seven Sorrows of Mary

One of the venerable traditions of the Church that has been somewhat lost over the recent decades is the dedication of each month to a different saint or devotion. During each month, we are encouraged to practice the devotion or focus our devotional life on the saint named during that month. Many people are aware of May being dedicated to Mary, but are unaware that other months are dedicated to aspects of her life.

September is one of those months. The month of September has traditionally been dedicated to meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, as we mark both the Triumph of the Cross on September 14th and Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this is a long-standing tradition going back almost 800 years. In iconography, Our Lady of Sorrows is depicted with seven swords piercing her heart, which is in reference to Simeon's prophesy that a sword would pierce her heart. (Luke 2:35)

The Seven Sorrows are events recorded in Scripture that were the most sorrowful for Our Lady. The Seven Sorrows, with Scriptural references:

1.The Prophesy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus (Luke 2:34)
2.The Flight into Egypt by the Holy Family (Matthew 2:13)
3.The Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:43)
4.The Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:27)
5.The Crucifixion (John 19:25)
6.The Descent from the Cross (Matthew 27:57)
7.The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40)

Through this devotion, we are reminded that we are not alone in our sorrows that come with life on Earth, but that Our Lady is there with us. May we take the opportunity this month to meditate on Mary's sorrows and join our sorrows with hers.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

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