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15th September – Our Lady of Sorrows

In September, the Church celebrates three Marian feasts in one week: the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8th September), the Holy Name of Mary (12th September) and Our Lady of Sorrows (15th September). On this day, the Church honours her incomparable sorrows, especially those she felt at the foot of the Cross.

Experience the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Lourdes:

9:00 a.m. – Chapel of St Cosmas & Damian
3:00 p.m. – Rosary at the Grotto
5:00 p.m. – Eucharistic Procession
9:00 p.m. – Torchlight procession
10:30 p.m. – Mass at the Grotto

During Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Lourdes (12-15th September 2008), on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions, during the homily of the Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Pope reminded us:

”Yesterday we celebrated the Cross of Christ, the instrument of our salvation, which reveals the mercy of our God in all its fullness. The Cross is truly the place where God’s compassion for our world is perfectly manifested. Today, as we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, we contemplate Mary sharing her Son’s compassion for sinners. As Saint Bernard declares, the Mother of Christ entered into the Passion of her Son through her compassion (cf. Homily for Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption). At the foot of the Cross, the prophecy of Simeon is fulfilled: her mother’s heart is pierced through (cf. Lk 2:35) by the torment inflicted on the Innocent One born of her flesh. Just as Jesus cried (cf. Jn 11:35), so too Mary certainly cried over the tortured body of her Son.”

To illustrate the sorrows of the Virgin-Mother, the painters represent her Heart pierced with seven swords, symbol of the seven principal sorrows of the Mother of God, which crowned her Queen of martyrs. This the list of these seven sorrows whose memory is so dear to the children of Mary:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. The Loss of Jesus for Three Days
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus
6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross
7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb

The call to penance holds an important place in the cycle of Apparitions: the fifth out of eighteen. It is roughly in the middle of the cycle. Penance is neither the first nor the last word of the message of Lourdes, but there is no Christian message that does not ask for conversion. “Conversion”, “repentance”, “penance” are three ways of translating the same word used in the Gospels. On 24th February 1858, at the Grotto of Lourdes, the Lady who introduced herself to Bernadette, said to her, “Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners”.

Let us pray to Our Lady that we may obtain, from Our Lord, forgiveness for our faults and thus receive the graces of Our Mother Mary.
Our Lady of Lourdes: Pray for us!

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