Feast Days of Our Lady

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The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady,
September 15


Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

As the octave of the Nativity of Our Lady ends, the consideration of her suffering would not normally come to the mind of the faithful. But if someone would ask about the future of this child, we would recall that before being proclaimed blessed by all nations, Mary would suffer with her Son for the salvation of the world.

Our Lady of the Sorrows; Nuestra Senora de los Dolores

Ó all ye who pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow

The voice of the liturgy invites us to consider her sorrow: “Ó all ye who pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.” This applies to her.

The sorrow of Our Lady is a work of God. He was the One who destined her to be the Mother of His Son. Therefore, He indissolubly united her to the Person, life, mysteries and sufferings of Jesus in order to make her His faithful companion in the work of Redemption. Suffering has to be a great gift, because God gave it to His Son and to the creature He loves more than any other after Him, Our Lady. He gave it as a most precious gift.

For Mary the suffering did not start at Calvary, but with Jesus, “that incommodious child,” as Bossuet called Him, because wherever He went, He entered with His Cross and with His thorns which He distributes to those He loves.

The prophecy of the aged Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the Divine Child in Jerusalem, to see her Son carrying the Cross, His Crucifixion, the taking down from the Cross, and the burial of Jesus: these are the seven mysteries into which are grouped the almost infinite sufferings which made Our Lady the Queen of Martyrs, the first and loveliest rose in the garden of the Spouse.

Above all, this solemn day shows us Mary on Calvary, and reminds us of that supreme sorrow among all the sorrows that ran through the life of Our Lady. The Church gave this feast the title of Seven Sorrows because this number expresses the idea of totality and universality.

To understand the extent and intensity of the suffering of Our Lady, we need to understand the extent and intensity of her love for Jesus, because her love increased her suffering. Nature and grace concurred to produce in Mary’s heart profound impressions. Nothing is stronger by nature than the love a mother has for her son, and by grace the love one has for God.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

There are so many excellent thoughts in this selection by D. Guéranger that I could be tempted to prolong these comments. I will not do so, but will just select some ideas that he offers us.

The first is that since God loved His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, with an infinite love and loved Our Lady with a lesser love, but still greater than His love for any other creature, He reserved for them His highest gifts. For this reason He gave them that vastness of crosses represented by the number seven. Seven sorrows is understood as all sorrows. Our Lady could be called the Lady of all sorrows because she suffered everything.

All generations call her blessed, but all generations also could call her sorrowful.

Our Lady surrounded by images of the Seven Sorrows

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows

If this is so, we should understand better that when sorrow enters our lives it is a proof of the love God has for us. We should also realize that if sorrow does not enter our lives, we do not have this proof of His love for us. Therefore, we should not complain when sufferings come to us – nervous problems, difficulties in our apostolate, misunderstandings with our friends, problems at home, poor health, business troubles. We should accept these things as normal, as a proof of the love of Divine Providence for us.

When I see a person without maturity, stability, rationality, elevation of spirit, I think: He is lacking suffering. These qualities only come with suffering - much suffering.

If we receive such trials, certainly we should pray for them to end. But to the measure that they remain, we should thank God and Our Lady.

I would also like to stress those extraordinary words of Bossuet who called Our Lord: “that incommodious child.” All those who follow Our Lord are incommodious. When you give a good counsel, offer a good example, ask for a sacrifice, the face of the person you are addressing will let you know that he considers you bothersome. It would be easier and more pleasant to tell a joke, to tease a bit, and close the matter with a pat on the back, dispensing the person from his duties.

Sometimes we have to command. How easy it would be to command if we did not have to ask a subordinate to take things seriously, to see reality at its most profound depths and in its most elevated aspect. How simple it would be if we did not have to ask him to face his own spiritual life without cowardice and keep careful watch over his defects. All this causes bother. The burden of being incommodious is one of the heaviest weights we have to carry.

Maintaining joyful resignation in face of the annoyance we cause because we represent Catholic duty, and having the courage to be incommodious in every circumstance is the path we are called to take in order to follow Our Lord.

These are the virtues that on the day of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady we should ask her to give us.


Tradition in Action



Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.

The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site.



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