Introduction to the seven sorrows devotion
The purpose of the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows is to promote union with the sufferings of Christ through union with the special suffering that Our Lady endured because she was the Mother of God. By uniting ourselves with both the Passion of Christ and His holy Mother, we enter into Jesus’ Heart and honor Him greatly; He is more honored because we have so honored His Mother.
The Seven Dolors are taken from Scripture events and the devotion has a long history, although it was not officially promulgated by the Church until the early nineteenth century. Before Pope Pius VII’s formal approval, the Servite Order had permission in 1668 to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Dolors because the Order was instrumental in popularizing the Seven Sorrows Devotion.
In the Middle Ages, Catholic theology concentrated mostly on Christ’s Passion; at the side of the Man of Sorrows, however, the faithful always contemplated the Queen of Martyrs. Devotion to the Crucified Christ and to Our Lady of sorrows grew side by side. On Calvary there were in a sense two altars, one in the Body of Jesus, and the other in the Immaculate Heart. Christ immolated His flesh, Mary, her heart, her own soul. On September 15, the day following the ancient feast of the Holy Cross, the Church commemorates the compassion of Mary; but it is fitting during the year, especially during Lent, to honor the Sorrows of Mary.
Mary is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Christ’s Transfiguration, His entry into Jerusalem, but she is recorded as being present at Calvary. She understood what the Will of God was and was faithful, co-operating with her Son as Co-redemptrix. She had prepared the victim for sacrifice and now she offered Him on the altar of Calvary.
The Gospel, John 19:25, says: “Near the Cross of Jesus stood His mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” At Christ’s bequest, Mary was proclaimed the universal Mother of mankind from the Cross.
Mary had three loves in her Immaculate Heart: God, her Son, and souls. She so loved the world that she gave her only Son. As St. Bernard said, “The sword would not have reached Jesus if it had not pierced Mary’s heart.” Mary loved souls and on Calvary, after suffering such cruel torments she merited being the mother of all mankind.
Mary is the Apostle because she is Co-redemptrix: Behold Mary on Calvary, she suffers and prays; she stands, as one offering sacrifice.
St. Ambrose said, “I read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept.” When Mary gave us her Son, she gave us everything. Therefore it can very well be said: “Behold this heart which has so greatly loved all people that it has spared nothing for them.”
The Seven Graces of this Devotion
1. I will grant peace to their families.
2.They will be enlightened about the Divine mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
7. I have obtained this Grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.
Benefits of the Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows
1. To realize the value of a soul, worth the supreme Sacrifice on Calvary.
2. To work for souls, by evangelization, duty to life’s duties, and
prayer for sinners.
3. To pray always, in a life of union with God; whoever has a heart similar to Jesus’ and Mary’s hearts, will work for the salvation of souls.
When we commit sin we bring sorrow to Our Lady, for she is, indeed
our very Mother, our spiritual Mother, and she watches over
us as she watched over her Baby, nearly two thousand years ago.
It is the desire of Jesus that we should think of His Passion, to offer Him
our devotion and to renew our sorrow for sin. It is also His desire,
as the Church makes clear to us, that we should think of the
compassion of Mary in His Passion.
In the Sorrows of the Virgin Mary we see a reflection of the suffering and bitter anguish of the human Christ. Just as Mary accepted the total mystery of Christ into her life, so may we see in our sorrow, our fear, and humiliation, a dim, but real participation in His passion and death, recalling that if we wish to follow Him, we must “take up our cross” each day. Let us pray that we may accept Christ’s call, and become co-sufferers of His passion.
1.The prophecy of Simeon. I grieve for you, O Mary, most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God (One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
2.The flight into Egypt. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety. (One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
3.The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the lost of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
4.The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
5.The Crucifixion. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel. (One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
6.The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding. (One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
7.The burial of Jesus. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom. (One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)
Lord God, our Father, from the passion and death of Jesus, shared by the compassion of his Mother, you brought healing to fallen man. Grant that we, your people, may experience this healing and rise from the power of sin to a wholeness of life promised by Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, AMEN. (Three Hail Marys)