Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
1 Corinthians 10:14-22
John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35
For all Passionists and the larger Passionist family of those associated with them this is an important liturgical feast. It has been celebrated since the 13th century and is connected to the Servants of Mary (Servites) who were established at that time. Its place in the calendar, immediately after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, occurred in the 19th century. St. Paul of the Cross was especially devoted to Mary under the title of the Sorrowful Mother. The Passionists Regulations which go back to Paul state: "Both the members and the works of the Congregation are entrusted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of Sorrows, as patroness of the Congregation…"
In this context let us look at the first reading the church has given us. The continuous reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians at first seems little connected to the feast we are celebrating. The reality of the Eucharist as the sacrifice of Christ in which he offered his body and blood to his Father for the redemption of humankind is boldly proclaimed by St. Paul. Through the Eucharist he says that we participate in that mystery and are united as one with all those who drink from the "blessing cup" and "partake of the one loaf". So, all the members of the larger Passionist family are intimately united with one another and with their Lord every time they gather around the table and receive his Body and Blood. And also, are we not joined in heart and mind with the Sorrowful Mother? She was there with Jesus, standing beneath the cross, offering him to the Father, in a real but different way, as he offered the sacrifice of himself to his Father. If we ask her, can she not help us to participate more fully and consciously in the sacrifice of the Mass?
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.