by Deacon Frederick Bartels
Sep. 15, 2009
Today, September 15, we especially remember the occasions of sorrow our Blessed Mother endured in bringing Christ into the world for our salvation. Our Lady’s heart is seven times pierced with the sword of sorrow:
The first sword of sorrow:
Mary and Joseph take the baby Jesus to the temple, according to the law of Moses, for it is written that “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord” (Lk 2:23). There, the prophet Simeon tells Our Lady a sword of suffering will pierce her heart: “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” (Lk 2:34-35).
The second sword of sorrow:
Mary, her Son, and Joseph must flee to Egypt, for Herod and his soldiers are bent on killing the Christ child. “Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt” (Mt 2:14).
The third sword of sorrow:
Mary searches for three days, surely enduring great suffering in her alarm at the missing Jesus, and finds our Lord in the Temple, conversing with the elders. “All who heard” Jesus “were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety’” (Lk 2:47-48).
The fourth sword of sorrow:
Jesus is beaten; he is scourged to the extent that his flesh is ripped from his body; he is mocked and crowned with thorns. “They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him” (Mt 27:28-31).
The fifth sword of sorrow:
Mary witnesses her Son nailed to the Cross. He is raised upon it, pinned upon the lifeless wood in agony, enduring for the love of the Father even death on a cross. “From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land . . .” (Mt 27:45). The immense darkness of sorrow flows from Mary’s heart into the land and beyond, into heaven itself.
The sixth sword of sorrow:
The lifeless body of her Son is placed in Mary’s arms.
The seventh sword of sorrow:
Mary is there when Jesus is laid in the tomb. A large stone is rolled over the entrance. Her Son is sealed away in darkness. When would her eyes again see him? When would his voice sound in her ears? Surely these were among her sufferings. On the third day would come the Resurrection, when sorrows were turned into joy, as “the Dawn from on High would break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:78-79).
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AThe_Virgin_Madre_della_Consolazione_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Deacon Frederick Bartels is a member of the Catholic clergy who serves the Church in the diocese of Pueblo. He holds an MA in Theology and Educational Ministry and is a Catholic educator, public speaker, and evangelist who strives to infuse culture with the saving principles of the gospel. For more, visit YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.
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