It is good to think about the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who freely accepted her calling to be the Mother of God and our mother, Pope Francis said during his daily Mass on Friday.
Offering Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, he said: “Today it will do us good to stop a little and think about the pain and sorrows of Our Lady. She is our mother.”
The Friday before Palm Sunday is sometimes called the Friday of Sorrows in remembrance of the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary.
“And how she bore [the sorrows], how she bore them well, with strength, with tears: it was not a false distress, it was just the heart destroyed by grief,” Francis explained.
He spoke about the veneration of Our Lady of Sorrows, listing her “seven sorrows.”
“The first, just 40 days after the birth of Jesus, is the prophecy of Simeon, who speaks of a sword that will pierce her heart,” he explained.
The second sorrow of Mary is the flight into Egypt; the third is the “three days of anguish” when the child Jesus was in the temple, lost to her and St Joseph.
Meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary is the fourth sorrow. “The fifth sorrow of Our Lady is the death of Jesus, to see her Son there, crucified, naked, who dies,” the pope said.
The sixth sorrow is the removal of Jesus’ dead body from the cross, “and she takes him in her hands as she had taken him in her hands more than 30 years earlier in Bethlehem,” Francis reflected.
The seventh sorrow is Jesus’ burial. “And so, Christian piety follows this path of the Madonna who accompanies Jesus,” he said.
“It will do us good to stop a little and say to Our Lady: ‘Thank you for accepting to be Mother when the angel told you and thank you for accepting to be Mother when Jesus told you.’”
He encouraged Catholics to honour the Virgin Mary as their mother, noting that Jesus himself gave her that role.
Jesus “did not make her prime minister or give her titles of ‘function,’” he said. “Only ‘Mother.’”
According to Francis, Mary accepted the title and duties of being our mother but did not take any titles for herself.
“She did not ask herself to be a quasi-redeemer or a co-redeemer: no. The Redeemer is one and this title does not double,” he said.
The pope added that “in the motherhood of Our Lady we see the motherhood of the Church which receives everyone, good and bad: everyone.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis is offering his daily Mass for the victims and their families.
He noted at the start of Mass that people are now beginning to think about the “aftermath of the pandemic, to all the problems that will come: problems of poverty, work, hunger…”
Pope Francis invited everyone to pray “for all the people who help today, but who also think about tomorrow, in order to help us all.”
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