Mother of sorrows - Dolci Mater dolorosa

September is Dedicated to Our Mother of Sorrows

A dutiful child, is never unmindful of the sorrows of their mother. Her sighs and labors are ever deeply imprinted on his memory, and he is bent on fulfilling that sacred command of Heaven which venerable Tobias gave to his faithful son: “Thou must be mindful what and how great were the perils which thy mother suffered for thee; “ and which Ecclesiasticus, inspired by the Holy Ghost, gives to all mankind, in these words: Forget not the groanings of thy mother.” As Christians, we are all children of Mary. She became our Mother amidst unutterable anguish and pain. She was solemnly declared our Mother when standing at the foot of the Cross, whilst the blood flowed in streams from the wounds of her dying Jesus. For our loving Redeemer, being about to leave this world, and pitying our orphan state, addressed every Christian, in the person of St. John, his beloved disciple ” Behold thy Mother:” then, turning his bleeding head towards the Blessed Virgin, He said, as the same Evangelist testifies  ” Woman behold thy Son.” We, therefore, are the children of Mary: Jesus has declared us such. “As Christ has begotten us,” says St. Antoninus, ” to a spiritual life, in the word of truth, by suffering on the cross, so, likewise, Mary has begotten us, and brought us forth in the midst of most acute pains, by sharing in the sufferings of the crucifixion of her Son.” Ah, then, never let us forget her sighs and groans her bitter pains and sorrows. Deeply should we fix them in our memory, and day after day call them to mind. ” Forget not the groanings of thy Mother, and be mindful what and how great were the perils which she suffered for thee.”

It was revealed to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, that our Lord will bestow four graces on those who are devout to the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. First, that whoever invokes her by her Dolours, shall obtain the grace of true repentance. Secondly, that she will console such in all their tribulations, and especially at the hour of death. Thirdly, that the Lord will imprint on their minds a remembrance of his Passion, and inspire them with great devotion to it. Lastly, that He has empowered Mary to obtain for them whatever blessings she pleases.

The following striking example, revealed to St. Bridget, will greatly confirm the promises made to St. Elizabeth. She narrates that there was a certain nobleman, who had bound himself by compact to Satan for sixty years, and had during that time led a very criminal life ; that before his death he obtained forgiveness, because he felt compassion for the Blessed Virgin whenever he heard the Dolours mentioned.


August 23 - The Presentation in the Temple, with St Philip Benizi on the left and St. Pellegrino Laziosi (Latiosi) on the right - Filippo Lippi


Holy Simeon foretells the Sorrows of Mary


The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should undergo the ceremonies of Purification. For a certain time she was forbidden to appear in public, nor was she allowed to touch anything which was consecrated to the worship of the Most High. Besides this law of purification, we read in Leviticus of another law, which ordained that every first-born son should be offered to God, and, after his presentation, ransomed for a specified sum of money. Now, observe that Mary was not bound to fulfil either of these laws. As regards the first, certainly it could not oblige her; since it supposed defilement in the person to be purified. But in Mary there was no stain; she was ever a most pure virgin, as even many enemies of our holy faith admit. Moreover, we know from the second chapter of St. Luke, that Jesus was conceived in her sacred womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. Hence, our Blessed Lady was by no means bound to undergo any ceremony of purification. Again, one of the offerings made on the day of purification was a pigeon or a dove, to be sacrificed for sin. But what sin was there in Mary? Was it original sin? No! Because from her inviolate womb the Son of God Himself took that hallowed flesh with which He clothed his divine nature. Hence the holy fathers declare, and the Church teaches as an article of faith, that she was immaculate in and from her conception. Nor did she ever contaminate her soul by the slightest defilement of actual sin.


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