From the Pastor – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A September 10, 2017

From the Pastor


23rd Sunday in

Ordinary Time – A


September 10, 2017


Since 1668 we have celebrated Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15, one day after we mark the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, but its roots go back to the 12th Century. Originally called Our Lady of Compassion from the Latin ‘cum patior’
‘to suffer with,’
it is based on what the Prophet Simeon said to Mary
when the Infant Jesus was presented in the Temple: “and you yourself a sword will pierce.” [Luke 2:35a]
That’s the first of our Blessed Mother’s Seven Sorrows
or biblical Dolors
[which gives us the name Dolores]; the others are: The flight into Egypt [Matthew 2:13, 14]; Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple [Luke 2:43-46]; Meeting Jesus on the Way to Calvary;
The Crucifixion;
Descent from the Cross; and Burial of Jesus. Some of these events are also found in the Rosary’s Sorrowful Mysteries and in the Stations of the Cross.


In Saint John’s highly symbolic Gospel, in his account of Christ’s Passion and Death, we hear the tender dialogue in which the dying Jesus gave us His Mother to be our Mother: “Woman, behold, your son.” [C.f. John 19:26-27] By this Jesus made her our companion, who suffers with her children, as all loving mothers do. Here are the orations for Our Lady of Sorrows.


Collect – Our Lady of Sorrows


O God, who willed that,

when your Son was lifted high on the Cross,

his Mother should stand close by and

share his suffering, grant that your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection.

Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.


So few younger Catholics know the strains of the 13th Century hymn traditionally sung at Stations of the Cross: the Stabat Mater. The first of its 20 verses is: “At the cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last.” It poetically sings of she who, though technically not a martyr, suffered most exquisitely and intensely as she stood beneath her Son’s Cross. What a comfort to know she stands with us in all our sorrows and woes.

Prayer over the Offerings – Our Lady of Sorrows


Receive, O merciful God,

to the praise of your name the prayers

and sacrificial offerings which we bring to you

as we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary,

whom you graciously gave to us

as a most devoted Mother

when she stood by the Cross of Jesus.

Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.


DON’T BREAK YOUR MOTHER’S HEART. One of the symbols of Our Lady of Sorrows is a heart pierced with seven swords; Jesus never ‘broke’ His Mother’s heart, but as He followed His Father’s will, she did experience intense grief and sorrow. He did cause her anxiety and worry when He was ‘lost’ for three days in the Temple, but as He explained to her, He HAD to be about His Father’s business. We, on the other hand, as brothers and sisters of Jesus through Baptism, often break our Blessed Mother’s heart. How so?


Instead of being busy about our Heavenly Father’s business, we often busy ourselves with monkey business. Instead of living for what will last forever, we get consumed with and by the passing things of earth … all of which break’s our Blessed Mother’s heart. And what mother is not grieved when her children bicker and fight with each other? We should all take inventory of how we break our Blessed Mother’s heart and give her heart more reasons to be proud of us!


Prayer after Communion – Our Lady of Sorrows


Having received the Sacrament of eternal redemption, we humbly ask, O Lord, that, honoring how the Blessed Virgin Mary

suffered with her Son, we may complete

in ourselves for the Church’s sake

what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.


Life often requires us to suffer with those we love; our willingness to feel another’s pain, to weep with those who weep, [Romans 12:15b]
is a sure sign of our love. May we imitate this kind of love, seen in our Blessed Mother
and many mothers.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS