Apart from Our Lord Himself, very few people have more than one special day in the liturgical calendar. St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Joseph each have two, I believe, but Mary really is the exception that proves the rule: a quick perusal of the missal revealed at least 15 days dedicated to Mary, each commemorating a different moment or aspect of her life, or a different title, like Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is only appropriate, because Mary played a unique role in the life of the Savior, and continues to have a special place in the life of the Church, as the greatest of the saints. Only Mary was kept free from sin at her conception, and she kept that gift of fullness of grace until the end of her life on earth when she was taken up to heaven. As the mother of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity made Man, she has a unique relationship to God. As her Creator and Redeemer, He is her Lord and God; but as Her Son, He also keeps His own commandment to honor one’s father and mother.
Mary also has another claim to special honor, and which we celebrate today, on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Only Mary accompanied Christ from His conception until His death, and she suffered greatly along the way. Tradition counts seven sorrows: the prophecy of Simeon, when Mary is given forewarning of her and her Son’s future sufferings; the flight into Egypt, when the Holy Family had to rush off into exile to avoid the murderous intentions of King Herod; the episode when Mary could not find Jesus for three days because He stayed behind in the Temple; when Mary met Jesus on His way to Calvary; His crucifixion, when she watched him suffer and die on the cross; the deposition, when she received His dead body into her arms; and the burial in of Jesus, when she who had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, wrapped Him in a linen shroud and laid Him in the tomb.
Mary, who was sinless through God’s special grace, suffered with Christ for the sake of sinners. She is someone we can go to when we suffer. We can ask her for spiritual consolation, and for strength to offer our suffering, like she did, with the suffering of Christ, in reparation for our own sins and the sins of the world. Today is a great day to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, in order to thank Mary for her fidelity to God and to ask her to help us to imitate her example. May Mary, the Sorrowful Mother, intercede for us and help us to be closer to her Son today and always.