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Behold Our Mother
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Opening Prayer: From Stabat Mater: O sweet Mother! font of love, touch my spirit from above, make my heart with yours accord . . . Christ, when you shall call me hence, be your Mother my defense, be your cross my victory.
- Mary’s Crosses: How beautiful that the Church gives us the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows immediately following the Exaltation of the Cross. On this day, we can commemorate the seven sorrows of Mary as given to St. Bridget of Sweden in the thirteenth century: The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35); The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15); Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50); Mary meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17); Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30); The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37); and The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47). She endured each of these sorrows with perfect love and Our Lady has promised many graces to anyone who meditates on these seven sorrows.
- Mary Knew Sorrow: On this Memorial, the Church offers two Gospels to contemplate the Mother of God. In the Gospel of Luke, we see the Blessed Mother, along with her husband, Joseph, presenting their son Jesus to God in the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary knew from the visit of the angel Gabriel and her miraculous conception that her son was the promise of salvation for her people. In the words of Simeon, Mary now heard that a sword would pierce her with sorrow. That sorrow came to its fulfillment as Mary stood at the foot of the cross brokenhearted. May we join her there, praying these two stanzas of Stabat Mater: Those Five Wounds on Jesus smitten, Mother! in my heart be written, Deep as in your own they be. You, your Savior’s Cross did bare, You, your Son’s rebuke did share. Let me share them both with Thee.
- Our Sorrowful Mother: As Jesus used his last breaths to bequeath his mother to John, this Son of God and son of Mary gave his mother to every Christian. St. John Paul II said, “On the cross Jesus did not proclaim Mary’s universal motherhood formally, but established a concrete maternal relationship between her and the beloved disciple. In the Lord’s choice we can see his concern that this motherhood should not be interpreted in a vague way, but should point to Mary’s intense, personal relationship with individual Christians.” How blessed we are to have such a compassionate Mother and perfect intercessor to care for our souls and the souls of those we love. Mother Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you were born of woman, lived as the son of Mary, and upon your Cross, gave your Mother to us. I would like to love your Mother as you do, Lord. Please give me the grace to know her better and love her more each day. You gave the Blessed Mother to me and I want to be her loving daughter.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on the seven sorrows of Mary as I say the rosary for the intentions of my family.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on the full meditation of Stabat Mater (Mother Standing).
Maribeth Harper celebrated paying the last tuition bill for her kids’ college by writing a book for moms who have college-aged young adults, And So We Pray, Guidance for Moms with College-Aged Young Adults. She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four, and grandmother of ten and counting.