“And you yourself a sword will pierce”: Mary’s Seven Sorrows

The statue of the Virgin Mary pierced by a sword overlooks the altar of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. Her eyes watch over the many pilgrims and religious present, who are awaiting the arrival of the Franciscans. The golden mosaic tiles on the blue background glisten in the Chapel of the Crucifixion. It is April 7 and 8 at the Holy Sepulcher: this morning we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. The sound of the Kawas’ sticks can be heard. Here they are. There are no more seats, and people remained standing. The Franciscan chapel is packed and so is that of Calvary, owned by the Greek Orthodox, right next door.
Br. Dobromir Jasztal stands before the altar of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. As per tradition, he, as Custodial Vicar, celebrates this mass. “In the various liturgical celebrations of the year it is very difficult to find a passage of the Gospel so short yet so full of meaning and full of mystery,” said Br. Dobromir in his homily, referring to the passage from the Gospel of John that was read this morning . “Under the cross of her son, Mary is nailed to the will of the Father, just as the Son of God was nailed to the cross. Mary, the mother, is present because the mystery of the cross has its beginning in the mystery of the incarnation. She has to be there; she was there at the beginning as she was at the fulfillment,” he continued.
Right here, in this chapel of Calvary, the crucifixion is commemorated. Right here, Simeon’s prophecy to Mary, which we know from the Gospel of Luke, is fulfilled: “And you yourself a sword will pierce.” So begins the feast of Easter. But the joy of Palm Sunday is getting closer.

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