our lady of forgiveness
"You yourself shall be pierced with a sword." —Luke 2:35
Mary loved her Son, Jesus, so much that she chose to be "near the cross" (Jn 19:25) and suffer with Him. She also chose to suffer as He did in that she suffered with the unconditional love and forgiveness that her Son had for His enemies and for all of us sinners.
The world has been and is more than ever filled with men and women of sorrows. What makes Mary's sorrows special is her forgiveness for those who tortured her Son and thereby traumatized her. Mary's sorrows were not useless but redemptive because she prayed with her Son: "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23:34).
It was not just at Calvary that Mary was rightly called Our Lady of Sorrows. Like her Son, she suffered unjustly and forgave repeatedly throughout her life. She suffered and forgave when she was rejected and forced to give birth to Jesus in a barn (Lk 2:7). She suffered and forgave when members of her family "came to take charge of Him (Jesus), saying, 'He is out of His mind' " (Mk 3:21). Mary forgave even us when we sinned and thereby made Jesus' life and crucifixion that much more horrible.
The significance of Mary as "Our Lady of Sorrows" is based on her being "Our Lady of Forgiveness." Suffer and forgive with her in imitation of Jesus.
Prayer: Father, "to forgive is divine." I cannot do it. By Your divine power, work in me the miracle of forgiveness.
Promise: "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9
Praise: Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, endured the life of a refugee in a foreign land, deprived of family and countrymen, so that Jesus could be protected and we could have salvation (see Mt 2:13ff).
Reference: (For related literature, order our novena booklet, Mary, Mother of Forgiveness, our leaflet, Unforgiveness is the Cause, and our booklet, The Book on Forgiveness.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 22, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 24, 1999