The Seven Dolors of Our Lady
This Friday of Passion Week is consecrated, in a special manner, to the sufferings which the Holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the Cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus’ Passion; and, although the remembrance of Mary’s share in those sufferings is often brought before the Faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our Divine Redeemer, goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honour, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother’s Compassion.
It was but fitting, therefore, that one day in the year should be set apart for this sacred duty; and what day could be more appropriate, than the Friday of this Week, which, though sacred to the Passion, admits the celebration of Saints’ Feasts, as we have already noticed? As far back as the 15th century, (that is, in the year 1423,) we find the pious Archbishop of Cologne, Theodoric, prescribing this Feast to be kept by his people (Labb, Concil. t. xiiu p. 365.). It was gradually introduced, and with the connivance of the Holy See, into several other countries; and at length, in the last century, Pope Benedict the Thirteenth, by a decree dated August 22nd, 1727, ordered it to be kept in the whole Church, under the name of the Feast of tlie Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for, up to that time, it had gone under various names. We will explain the title thus given to it, as also the first origin of the devotion of the Seven Dolors, when our Liturgical Year brings us to the Third Sunday of September, the second Feast of Mary’s Dolors. What the Church proposes to her children’s devotion for this Friday of Passion Week, is that one special Dolour of Mary, her standing at the Foot of the Cross. Among the various titles given to this Feast, before it was extended, by the Holy See to the whole Church, we may mention, Our Lady of Pity, The Compassion of our Lady, and the one that was so popular throughout France, Notre Dame de la Pamoison. These few historical observations prove that this Feast was dear to the devotion of the people, even before it received the solemn sanction of the Church. Continue reading