Many years ago I was staying in Old City of Jerusalem with a friend. On this day, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we heard, from the roof of the hostel where we were staying, a tremendous wailing echoing through the narrow streets below. We couldn’t see where the wailing came from but were told it was the mothers and their women friends mourning the deaths their sons who had blown themselves up making a bomb.
We heard Simeon’s prophecy in the Gospel read today, “and a sword will pierce your own soul too”
The Gospel acclamation into today’s Mass is “Happy is the Blessed Virgin Mary who, without dying, won the palm of martyrdom beneath the cross of the Lord.” Mary’s sorrow exceeded anyone else’s since she was the mother of Jesus, who was not only her Son but also her Lord and Saviour; she truly suffered with her Son. The Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote: “The hour the Roman centurion ran the spear into the heart of Jesus he pierced two hearts with one blow – the heart of the God man and the heart of Mary.”
Today’s feast was officially placed in the Roman Missal under the title of Our Lady of Compassion, highlighting the great love our Blessed Mother displayed in suffering with her Son. The word compassion derives from the Latin roots cum and patior which means to suffer with.
Here is a prayer to Mary Mother of Compassion, Our Lady of Sorrows.
O Holy Virgin, in the midst of all your glory, we ask you not to forget the sorrows of this world. Cast a look of pity upon all who struggle against life’s difficulties, and who cease not to feel all its bitterness. Have pity on all who have been separated from those they love. Have pity on the lonely and friendless. Pardon the weakness of our faith. have pity on those whom we love. O Holy Mother, show a mother’s compassion toward the sorrowful and those who tremble under life’s afflictions. Give them hope and peace.