Double of the Second Class Feast of THE SEVEN SORROWS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Commemoration of Saint Nicomedes, Martyr
Missa "Stabant juxta crucem"
The Church commemorates by two Feasts the martyrdom suffered by Our Lady, one of two feasts devoted to this same devotion in union with the Passion of Her Divine Son Jesus and His Holy Cross. The First Feast, kept on Passion Friday before Palm Sunday especially commemorates "the Compassion of Mary;" while the second, kept today on September 15, the devotion to the Seven Sorrows.
This feast commemorates the seven sorrows (Seven Dolors) of the Blessed Mother of God which are documented in Sacred Scripture beginning with the prophecy of Simeon (cf. Luke 2:34), the flight into Egypt (cf. Matthew 2:13), losing the child Jesus in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 2: 46), meeting her Divine Son on the way to Calvary, the Crucifixion, the Pieta, and laying Jesus in the Sepulchre (cf. Luke 23: 49-56).
This feast was first introduced by Saint Anselm and various Benedictines in the 11th Century which took on steam in the following century but did not get promoted universally until the 14th and 15th centuries when the Cistercians and Servites emphasized its importance and relevance in Church liturgy and in devotion to Mary's role in the Church. In 1482 Pope Sixtus IV, who also instituted the feast of Mary's spouse Saint Joseph on March 19, established it in the Roman Missal as the feast of Our Lady of Compassion. In 1727 Pope Benedict XIII declared it as the feast of the Seven Dolors of Mary to be celebrated on the Friday prior to Palm Sunday, though the Servites had been celebrating it on the Sunday after the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross in September since 1668. In 1814 Pope Pius VII made it a universal feast in the Roman Calendar and Pope Saint Pius X established the date in 1913 as the fixed date. It was fitting this holy saint set the date for this feast where he did because it further emphasized Mary's importance and vital role in co-redemption as well as reminding Catholics everywhere of Mary's suffering during the Passion and Death of her Divine Son whose cross is venerated the day before. Two icons bring home this fact, first the magnificent Pieta sculptured by the master Michelangelo and which resides behind glass at the back right side of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the moving hymn "Stabat Mater" employed during Lent and during the Stations of the Cross to reflect Our Lady's grief and tribulations. She is often depicted with seven swords piercing her Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart as described by Simeon in Luke 2: 34, "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." The Marian abbot and Doctor of the Church Saint Bernard wrote "Truly...He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known; she died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His."
There is a commemoration today for the feast of Saint Nicomedes, a Roman priest, was scourged to death in the persecution under Domitian, in the life-time of St. John the Evangelist. He suffered his martyrdom about the year 90.
We want to thank the Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for expediting these resources of the Propers. Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945 Bio: Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition
Missa "Stabant juxta crucem"
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INTROIT: John 19: 25