Along with May, August, and October, September is dedicated to Our Lady. This month we honor Our Mother under her title Our Lady of Sorrows, or Mater Dolorosa. Devotion to Our Sorrowful Mother is as old as the cross. Appropriately, her feast is celebrated on September 15th, the day following the feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross. Contemplation of the seven sorrows of Our Lady through the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows or the Via Matris are beneficial ways to express this month's devotion.
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady is similar to the rosary, except that it is composed of seven sets of seven Hail Marys, instead of the typical five sets of ten.
The Via Matris is prayed in a similar manner to the Via Crucis, or Stations of the Cross, and they are intimately connected. Both share the same Center, Christ, but the Via Matris allows us to see His life through her tender, maternal eyes. To pray the Via, one calls to mind each of the seven sorrows, spending time with Our Lady in that sorrow before concluding with a Hail Mary and the aspiration, Virgin Most Sorrowful, pray for us.
"Thy mind, O Mary, and thy thought steeped in the blood of our Lord's Passion, were always filled with sorrow, as if they actually beheld the blood flowing from his wounds. Thus her Son himself was that arrow in the heart of Mary; the more amiable he appeared to her, so much the more deeply did the thought of losing him by so cruel a death wound her heart. " ~ St. Alphonsus
The Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt
"An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph...and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt...' And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Eygpt." ~ Matthew 2:13-15
"Must He then fly from men, who came to save men?" ~ St. Albert the Great
The Fourth Sorrow: Jesus Meets His Mother on the Way to Calvary
"And there followed after him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him." ~ Luke 23:27
Teach me, Gracious Mother, to be patient when all the day long my heart is troubled with little, but vexatious, crosses. By your help, may I persevere in following thy Beloved Son till death.
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me... What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" ~ Matthew 16:24-26
The Fifth Sorrow: The Death of Jesus
"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother... and the disciple whom he loved... He said, 'It is finished'; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
~ John 19:25-30
Mother of Sorrows, you did not leave Calvary until you had drunk with your Son the last drop of the chalice, strengthen me to accept the trials that come each day. Compassionate Mother, silently suffering for me, turn my heart back to Him.
"O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow." ~ Lamentations 1:12
The Sixth Sorrow: The Piercing and the Pieta
"One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water...Joseph came and took away his body." ~ John 19:34-39
"O wounds, O wounds of love, I adore you, and in you do I rejoice; for by your means salvation is given to the world."
Virgin Most Sorrowful, pray for us!