Today in the Western lung of the Catholic Church, we celebrate a great Marian feast known as Our Lady of Sorrows. This traditional devotion, which helps us understand Mary’s role in the suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ began in 1814 by Pope Pius VII, although many of the Church Fathers and other saints wrote on how Mary is united with Christ in his suffering and how we are to suffer with Christ as well. For a more complete understanding of this feast, please read my post on the topic from a previous “Mondays with Mary.”
Knowing my love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as Pope St. John Paul II, who also had a great devotion to the Our Lady, I provide you seven quotes from the great 20th century Pope and Saint focusing on Our Lady of Sorrows. These quotes come from letters, addresses, homilies, and papal audiences.
It’s my hope that you will share this blog post with your family and friends as well as take some of these quotes and use them on your social media sites.
1. “Together with Mary, let us seek to be sharers in this death which brought forth fruits of “new life” in the Resurrection: a death like this on the cross was infamous, and it was the death of her Son! But precisely there, at the foot of the cross, “where she stood, not without a divine plan,” did not Mary realize in a new way everything that she had already heard on the day of Annunciation?”
2. “Turn your eyes incessantly to the Blessed Virgin; she, who is the Mother of Sorrows and also the Mother of Consolation, can understand you completely and help you. Looking to her, praying to her, you will obtain that your tedium will become serenity, your anguish change into hope, and your grief into love. I accompany you with my blessing, which I willingly extend to all those who assist you.”
3. “‘When a woman is in travail, she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world’ (Jn. 16:21). The first part of Christ’s words refer to the “pangs of childbirth” which belong to the heritage of original sin; at the same time these words indicate the link that exists between the woman’s motherhood and the Paschal Mystery. For this mystery also includes the Mother’s sorrow at the foot of the cross – the Mother who through faith shares in her Son’s amazing “self-emptying”: ‘This is perhaps the deepest ‘kenosis’ of faith in human history.”
4. “The Exultet of Easter tells us that he is “the light which knows no decline,” “qui nescit occasum”! Seek the light of the soul. Through it, suffering united with that of our Lord and of the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross opens the way to eternal life, for oneself and for others.”
5. “‘Together with Mary, Mother of Christ who stood beneath the cross, we pause beside all the crosses of contemporary man and we ask all of you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your sufferings in union with the cross of Christ be victorious.’”
6. “‘Standing by the cross of Jesus was hit mother’ (Jn. 19:25). The Virgin, with her mother’s grief, participated in a quite particular way in the Passion of Jesus, cooperating deeply with the salvation of mankind. Like Mary, each of us can and must unite with the suffering Jesus in order to become, with his own pain, an active part in the redemption of the world which he effected in the Paschal Mystery. With these wishes, may my comforting blessing, strengthened by Mary’s motherly help, accompany you and those who lovingly assist you in daily offering.”
7. “Today’s liturgy makes use of the ancient poetic text of the sequence which begins with the Latin words Stabat Mater:
‘By the cross of our salvation/Mary stood in desolation/While the Savior hung above/All her human powers failing,/Sorrow’s sword, at last prevailing,/ Stabs and breaks her heart of love…/Virgin Mary, full of sorrow,/From your love I ask to borrow/Love enough to share your pain./Make my heart to burn with fire,/Make Christ’s love my own desire,/Who for love of me was slain.’
The author of this sequence sought, in the most eloquent way humanly possible, to present the “compassion” of the Mother at the foot of the cross. He was inspired by those words of Sacred Scripture about the sufferings of Mary which, though few and concise, are deeply moving.”
Our Lady of Sorrows…Pray for us. Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for us.
This blog post is dedicated to the Saint John Paul II Facebook Group, founded 2nd May, 2011. May we all through the power of the Cross and the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and our beloved Pope St. John Paul II, pray for the many great sufferings occurring in the world today.