What the month of September means to Catholics, and how to honor it in your home.
Did you know that in the Catholic Church each of the 12 months of the year has a devotional theme?
For Catholics, September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows, immediately following August’s devotion to the Immaculate Heart, and preceding October’s devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary, September is an ideal time to strengthen our connection to Our Lady. Continuing our monthly series on ways to showcase each month’s Catholic theme in your life, here are 10 ways you can honor Our Lady of Sorrows this September:
1Don't run from the sorrows of others.
Be fully present to them, even when their difficulty is hard for you to think about. Really listen when someone wants to talk about a worry, a grief, a pain, or a loneliness and offer time and empathy.
2Put empathy into action.
Offer to help ease the suffering of another, carrying their cross for a bit, like Simon of Cyrene. Offer to drive a friend to the doctor, visit someone in the hospital, pray a Rosary for a friend’s special intention, babysit for an overwhelmed mom or spend time with an elderly relative while their caretaker has some time to themselves.
3Bring an image of Our Lady of Sorrows to someone who's suffering.
It could be a painting, a prayer card, a statue, or even a computer printout. In this way you can offer them the companionship of her compassion and the opportunity to offer their sorrows up, giving their pain a greater purpose.
4Pray the powerful Seven Sorrows Rosary or the Seven Sorrows devotion.
The Seven Sorrows devotion involves praying seven Hail Marys a day, each one while meditating on one of Our Lady’s seven sorrows, which are:
- The prophecy of Simeon.
- The flight into Egypt.
- The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.
- The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
- The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.
- The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross and preparation for burial.
- The burial of Jesus.
And the Seven Sorrows Rosary involves dwelling upon each of the seven sorrows as you would one of the mysteries of the rosary, with seven Hail Marys instead of a decade. Begin each sorrow with an Our Father. Here are more details on the Seven Sorrows prayers, chaplet, (little Rosary) and novenas.
Even if it is a widow’s mite of the few dollars you can manage, give to a charity for those suffering. Here‘s one to consider.
6Pray daily for someone who's suffering and let them know.
This is a great month for this prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15:
O God, in Whose Passion a sword of sorrow pierced the most dear soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother, Mary, as foretold by Simeon, mercifully grant that we who reverently commemorate Her sorrows, may obtain the blessed effect of Thy Passion. Who livest and reignest, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
7Light a candle at your parish church before a statue of Our Lady.
Spend special time there in prayer with this Prayer to Our Mother of Sorrows.
8Make an altar to Our Lady of Sorrows in your home.
Choose an image of the Sorrowful Virgin and adorn it with flowers that you’ll keep refreshing all month as a little act of tenderness, and candles that you light during prayer. Place a small box near the image and ask each member of the family to write one act of love or mercy they promise to do to console Our Sorrowful Lady this month. Place that resolution in the box as a gift of love.
9Find an image of the “Pieta” by Michelangelo.
Meditate upon its searing beauty as it inspires you in prayer. With this sublime sculpture, Michelangelo shaped the sixth sorrow of Mary into one of the all-time greatest works of art.
10Listen to Stabat Mater for Alto solo RV 621.
Composed by a Catholic priest, Fr. Antonio Vivaldi, it translates as “Sorrowful Mother.” It’s incomparable beauty is perfect to accompany or inspire prayer.
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