Sunday, 24 July 2011

Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

Icon, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows -- drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and the Seven Sorrows of Mary goes back to apostolic times. St. John the Evangelist can be considered as one of the first devotees of the Mother of Sorrows. He witnessed first-hand and then recorded in his Gospel that Mary stood by the Cross of her Son (Jn 19:25). The Blessed Mother suffered with grief at seeing her Son, who is also her God, die an agonizing death by crucifixion at Calvary.

Icon, The Presentation in the Temple, drawn
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2008

Simeon prophesied at the Presentation of the Jesus at the Temple, that Mary’s soul would be pierced by a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed (Lk 2:35). Mary, as the first and greatest disciple of her Son, participated in a most deep and profound way in the redemptive work of Our Lord.

The Seven Sorrows had been honoured by the Church since the 14th century. These came to be known as the seven dolours (sorrows) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The seven swords symbolize the seven sorrows of Our Lady’s life. Devotion to the Sorrows of Mary gave rise to the figure in Christian art of the Pietà, the sorrowing Mother holding the dead Body of her Son who has been taken down from the Cross. These are:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. The Loss of the Holy Child at Jerusalem
4. Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
5. Mary witnesses the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
6. Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son
7. The Burial of Her Son and Closing of the Tomb.

There is also a Rosary of seven decades instead of the usual five.  These seven sorrows are the subject for meditation on each of the seven decades.  Some religious communities use the seven-decade Rosary in place of the usual one.  As well, it has been reported that Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda requested that this seven-decade Rosary be prayed in reparation for the sins committed in that country.  [For more information on these apparitions, see my posting of March 11, 2011.]


PLASTIC BAGSWhile I admit that plastic bags are bad for the environment and, hopefully, one day will be banned, I do recognize the reality that at the moment the world is not ready to give them up completely.  I will confess that I, too, continue to use plastic grocery bags, but only because the people in charge of composting in our building insist that all our food scraps, paper towels, etc. be put in a plastic bag before they are put down the appropriate garbage chute.  So, I follow the rules.  Eventually, I trust that they will find a way to get the composting material to the site without the use of plastic bags.

The reason I started talking about plastic bags is because I want to show you some very interesting photos of plastic bags that a friend sent to me this week, and I didn't want anyone getting upset and saying that I am helping to maintain the "plastic bag mentality" by showing unusual photos of plastic bags.  Enough said -- now for the photos.


As I said above, these are unusual bags created by clever marketing people.  Neither the bags nor the messages are really necessary, but as long as people still want to use plastic bags, I guess putting effective messages on them doesn't hurt. 

There were actually about 12 different examples of these types of plastic bags.  I ignored the ones depicting violence and sex and was left with these four!  The one bag that caught my attention immediately was the one about autism -- I have an autistic grand-nephew as I have mentioned previously and because of him, I have become much more aware of anything relating to this condition.


I am very tired tonight for some reason and am becoming very aware that if I don't go to bed soon, I will be falling asleep here at the computer. 

There is nothing new to report concerning me or Suki -- we have both just been trying to make certain we stay cool.  Suki has been sleeping a lot more and I have been staying home a lot more enjoying the wonder of air conditioning!  I hope all of you are managing to stay cool as well wherever you are!

May the peace of God be with us all.

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