Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent is a day traditionally set aside to honor to Our Lady in Passiontide, which is to remind us of the special role Mary played in the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, today, we remember Mary as the Woman of Compassion. In our culture, compassion is often thought of as kindness, or mercy. But there’s more to it. It comes to us from two Latin words (cum=”with” and passio=”to suffer”) and literally means "to suffer with." And so, to be a person of compassion means that we share in the sufferings of another person. It isn't simply empathy, but it means that we see the other almost as an extension of ourselves and so, if they are suffering, we, too, experience their pain.
Our Lady in Passiontide is very closely related to our own title of Our Lady of the Atonement, with the primary image being that of the Blessed Mother holding her Son who holds the cross, and we have the image of Our Lady of the Atonement as the Pieta, as she holds the lifeless body of her Son when he was taken down from the cross.
This commemoration helps us to remember Mary’s sacrifice for our salvation, and also the importance of avoiding things in our own lives which would cause further sorrow to Mary, who is our Mother.
O Lord in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, the sword of sorrow did pierce the most loving soul of thy glorious Virgin Mother Mary: mercifully grant that we, who devoutly call to mind the suffering whereby she was pierced, may, by the glorious merits and prayers of all the Saints who have stood beneath the Cross, obtain with gladness the benefits of thy Passion; who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.