Today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. The seven sorrows suffered by Mary, the mother of Jesus are:
The Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus (Luke 2:34)
• The Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family (Matthew 2:13)
• The Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:43)
• The Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:26)
• The Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross (John 19:25)
• The Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (Matthew 27:57)
• The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40)
The image of Mary with seven swords piercing her heart was a popular devotional image, as seen here.
Other images portray Our Sorrowful Mother as she mourns and this is by one of my favorite painters, the Flemish artist, Dieric Bouts, painted around 1480-1500. The quiet beauty of this work as you gaze on it is very moving.
Today’s Gospel Reading:
Standingby 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.”