This title of the Blessed Mother has always been my favorite.
The day after we meditated on the Cross of Our Lord, it makes sense to turn to Our Lady at the foot of that Cross. We can thank Pope St. Pius X for that. It was San' Pio Diecimo who, in 1913, placed today's feast day right after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (before then, it was celebrated on the third Sunday of September). Some may even remember another feast, similarly attributed to Our Lady's sorrows, which was celebrated the Friday before Palm Sunday, during Passiontide.
The classic symbol for today's feast is a heart pierced with seven swords. The swords represent the traditional "Seven Sorrows" (also known as "Dolors") of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Can you name them?
- The Prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
- The Flight into Egypt (and I don't mean Delta flight 10 out of JFK).
- The loss of Jesus for three days.
- The meeting between Jesus and Mary during the carrying of the Cross.
- The Crucifixion.
- The laying of Jesus in his mother's arms after being taken down from the Cross.
- The entombment of Jesus.
The other liturgical quirk of today's feast is that it's one of the few for which we still have a Sequence. You remember Sequences? Those verses which come (besides today) on the feasts of Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi, just before the Gospel acclamation. Just think of the little ditty which is usually sung during Stations of the Cross, as the Priest walks between the Stations: "At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful mother weeping..."