Additional Teachings on Mary
While the four Marian dogmas serve as the core of Roman Catholicism's teachings about the Blessed Virgin Mary, there are numerous other doctrines, most of which are celebrated by special feasts throughout the liturgical year. In the post-Vatican II church, February 2 is celebrated as the “Presentation of Jesus.” However, prior to the council (and the liturgical changes that came from it), this feast was known as the Purification of Mary. It is celebrated forty days after Christmas, the birth date of Jesus, and represents a celebration of the ritual purity that Jewish women commemorated after the birth of a child. Mary, like all Jewish women of her time, would have been considered ritually impure until forty days after the birth of a child. Thus, this celebration, ancient in its roots, celebrated Mary's reentry into the Jewish worshiping community.
Two additional liturgical celebrations commemorate events as narrated in the New Testament. The Visitation, commemorating Mary's three-month visit to her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–56) is celebrated annually on May 31. Mary's complete selflessness in immediately traveling away from her home, although pregnant herself, to be with her elder relative is the basic message of this liturgical celebration. Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated on September 15, recalls the “spiritual martyrdom” of Mary. As previously stated, Catholic Tradition professes that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the time of her death. Thus, she was not a physical martyr. However, the New Testament and Sacred Tradition describe several different events and incidents, all of which clearly demonstrate the psychological suffering she was forced to endure as a result of her role as the Mother of God.
What are the seven sorrows of Mary?
Four are specified in Scripture: the prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25– 35), the flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13–15), the loss of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41–52), and the crucifixion (John 19:25–27). The other three, meeting Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, taking Jesus down from the cross, and burial of Jesus come from Sacred Tradition.
There are several other doctrines associated with Mary that are found in the Sacred Tradition. The Immaculate Heart of Mary, celebrated on the second Saturday after Pentecost, is a twin celebration with a similar feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, observed the previous day. The Queenship of Mary, August 22, recognizes her distinct and unique role in salvation history and her special place within the heavenly host. The birth of Mary is celebrated on September 8, precisely nine months after the Immaculate Conception. The Presentation of Mary, November 21, described in the second-century text Book of James, commemorates the dedication in 543 of the church of St. Mary the New in Jerusalem.