September Devotion: Our Lady of Sorrows

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September Devotion: Our Lady of Sorrows

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Due to her feast day on September 15, the month of September has traditionally been set aside to honor Our Lady of Sorrows. All the sorrows of Mary (the prophecy of Simeon, the three days’ loss, etc.) are merged in the supreme suffering at the Passion. In the Passion, Mary suffered a martyrdom of the heart because of Our Lord’s torments and the greatness of her love for Him. “She it was,” says Pope Pius XII, “who immune from all sin, personal or inherited, and ever more closely united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and motherly love. As a new Eve, she made this offering for all the children of Adam contaminated through his unhappy fall. Thus she, who was the mother of our Head according to the flesh, became by a new title of sorrow and glory the spiritual mother of all His members.”

Prayer:

INVOCATIONS Mary most sorrowful, Mother of Christians, pray for us. Virgin most sorrowful, pray for us.

TO THE QUEEN OF MARTYRS Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace, and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.

TO THE MOTHER OF SORROWS Most holy Virgin. and Mother, whose soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the Passion of thy divine Son, and who in His glorious Resurrection wast filled with never-ending joy at His triumph; obtain for us who call upon thee, so to be partakers in the adversities of Holy Church and the sorrows of the Sovereign Pontiff, as to be found worthy to rejoice with them in the consolations for which we pray, in the charity and peace of the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

IN HONOR OF THE SORROWS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY O most holy and afflicted Virgin! Queen of Martyrs! thou who didst stand motionless beneath the Cross, witnessing the agony of thy expiring Son–through the unceasing sufferings of thy life of sorrow, and the bliss which now more than amply repays thee for thy past trials, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on me, who kneel before thee to venerate thy dolors, and place my requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of thy wounded heart; present them, I beseech thee, on my behalf, to Jesus Christ, through the merits of His own most sacred death and passion, together with thy sufferings at the foot of the cross, and through the united efficacy of both obtain the grant of my present petition. To whom shall I resort in my wants and miseries if not to thee, O Mother of Mercy, who, having so deeply drunk of the chalice of thy Son, canst compassionate the woes of those who still sigh in the land of exile? Offer for me to my Savior one drop of the Blood which flowed from His sacred veins, one of the tears which trickled from His divine eyes, one of the sighs which rent His adorable Heart. O refuge of the universe and hope of the whole world, do not reject my humble prayer, but graciously obtain the grant of my petition.

TO OUR LADY OF SORROWS O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and the death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen. –Saint Bonaventure

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Saint Raymund Nonnatus

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Saint Raymund Nonnatus

Religious of Our Lady of Mercy and Cardinal
(1204-1240)

Saint Raymund Nonnatus was born in Catalonia, Spain, in the year 1204. Motherless from infancy, in his childhood he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. He chose the Blessed Virgin for his mother, almost as soon as the light of reason made this choice available to him. His father, perceiving in him an inclination to the religious state and unwilling to give up his son, took him from school and sent him to take care of a farm which he owned in the country. Raymund readily obeyed, and, in order to enjoy holy solitude, kept the sheep himself and spent his time in the mountains and forests in holy meditation and prayer. He found there an ancient hermitage containing a portrait of his Blessed Mother, and made this his asylum. There the devil found him and, assuming the disguise of a shepherd, attempted to turn him away from his devotions; but Raymund turned his back on his visitor and called Mary to his assistance. The sole name of the Mother of God caused the demon to disappear, and the hermit prostrated himself and blessed Her for Her assistance.

Some time afterward, he joined the new Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the redemption of captives, and was admitted to profession at Barcelona by the holy founder, Saint Peter Nolasco. Within two or three years after his profession, he was sent into Barbary with a considerable sum of money; in Algiers he purchased the liberty of a great number of slaves. When all his treasure was exhausted, he gave himself up as a hostage for the ransom of others, according to the Rule of his Order. This magnanimous sacrifice served only to exasperate the Moslems, who treated him with uncommon barbarity, until they began to fear that if he died in their hands, they would lose the ransom which had been asked for his deliverance. A crier announced in the streets that anyone who mistreated him would answer for it, if he died.

Therefore he was permitted to go abroad in the streets, which liberty he utilized to comfort and encourage the Christians in chains, and to convert and baptize certain Moslems. Learning of this, their pasha, furious, condemned him to be impaled, but his barbarous sentence was commuted at the insistence of those who had an interest in the ransom payments for the slaves he was replacing. He underwent instead a cruel bastinade, but that torment did not daunt his courage. So long as he saw souls in danger of perishing eternally, he thought he had yet done nothing.

Saint Raymund had no more money to employ in releasing poor captives; and to converse with those of the local beliefs on the subject of religion meant death. He enjoyed sufficient liberty nonetheless to continue the same endeavors, and he did so, hoping either for success or martyrdom. The governor, enraged, ordered our Saint to have his lips pierced and padlocked, then to be imprisoned until his ransom would be brought by members of his Order. He remained in jail for eight months before his brethren arrived with the required sum, sent by Saint Peter Nolasco.

Upon his return to Spain, he was nominated Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX, and the Pope called him to Rome. The Saint was on his way, but had gone no farther than Cardona when he was seized with a violent fever. He died on August 31, 1240, in his thirty-seventh year. His face in death became beautiful and radiant like that of Moses when he descended from the mountaintop, where he had spoken with God. A heavenly fragrance surrounded his body, and cures were effected on behalf of those who came and touched him.

Reflection: This magnanimous Saint gave not only his substance but his liberty, and exposed himself to the most cruel torments and death for the redemption of captives and the salvation of souls. But we, alas! do we not, merely to gratify our prodigality, vanity, or avarice, refuse to give even the superfluity of our possessions to the poor, who for want of it are perishing with cold and hunger? Let us not forget the terrible Judgment of the Last Day, awaiting those who neglect their brethren in need. (Cf. Matt. 25:31-46)