OL Seven Sorrows.jpgToday’s memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows helps us to know that Mary is not a detached mother. The Church shows us a side of Mary that is relevant to the human experience, to the reality that many people find themselves in.  For example, the loss of a child through kidnapping or even death. How often do we think sympathetically when a child dies before a parent? Our heart and mind says that it is out of normal order of things that a child dies before the parent. The sorrows of Mary concern the points in her life where either she’s pondering the prediction of Jesus’ death, dealing with the move to Egypt, the loss of the child at the Temple, or the events surrounding the Cross. Turning to Our Lady of Sorrows gives perspective and reminds us that we are not alone in the tragic events of our life. The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows is a devotion that recalls seven sorrowful events in the life of the Mary, Mother of God. A significat piece of this devotion helps to recall Mary’s profound solitude on the day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The practice of praying the seven sorrows originates with the Servite Order (Servants of Mary) bettween 1233 and 1239! Time tested for sure.

In the sacristy of this abbey there is a small statute of the Sorrowful Mother below the crucifix which brings my heart back to this devotion when I lay the Mass vestments out. So, this devotion has become dear to me. The tradition of the symbol of the Seven Sorrows (also known as the Sorrowful Heart of Mary) is a heart pierced with seven swords and topped with a flame representing her burning love for God and for all humanity. Tradition links the swords to the Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:33-35). This is devotion prevalent in Mediterranean countries: Italy, Spain, Mexico and so forth.


“There is a mother-son bond that unites Mary with Christ Jesus during his experience of suffering and death. This empathetic bond indicates that Our Lady shared in her Son’s suffering.  Mary is Our Lady of Sorrows precisely because her Son Christ Jesus bore the sins of the world during his passion and death.  As the faithful disciple, Our Blessed Mother invites us to unite our personal suffering with her own.  We can share in Jesus’ burden on the Cross, just as Mary did at Calvary.” (udayton)


Using the rosary use these points of meditation to focus your prayer today:


1.      The Prophecy of Simeon  (Luke 2: 25-35)

2.      The Flight into Egypt  (Matthew 2: 13-15)

3.      The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple  (Luke 2: 41-50)

4.      Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross  (Luke 23: 27-29)

5.      Mary at the foot of the cross  (John 19: 25-30)

6.      Mary receives the body of Jesus  (Psalm 130)

7.      Mary witnesses the burial of Jesus  (Luke 23: 50-56).


The Mother was standing (Stabat Mater)


At the cross her station keeping, 
Mary stood in sorrow weeping 
When her Son was crucified.

While she waited in her anguish, 
Seeing Christ in torment languish, 
Bitter sorrow pierced her heart.

With what pain and desolation, 
With what noble resignation, 
Mary watched her dying Son.

Ever-patient in her yearning 
Though her tear-filled eyes were burning, 
Mary gazed upon her Son.

Who, that sorrow contemplating, 
On that passion meditating, 
Would not share the Virgin’s grief?

Christ she saw, for our salvation, 
Scourged with cruel acclamation, 
Bruised and beaten by the rod.

Christ she saw with life-blood failing, 
All her anguish unavailing, 
Saw him breathe his very last.

Mary, fount of love’s devotion, 
Let me share with true emotion 
All the sorrow you endured.

Virgin, ever interceding, 
Hear me in my fervent pleading: 
Fire me with your love of Christ.

Mother, may this prayer be granted:
That Christ’s love may be implanted
In the depths of my poor soul.

OL Sorrows.jpgAt the cross, your sorrow sharing, 
All your grief and torment bearing, 
Let me stand and mourn with you.

Fairest maid of all creation, 
Queen of hope and consolation, 
Let me feel your grief sublime.

Virgin, in your love befriend me, 
At the Judgment Day defend me. 
Help me by your constant prayer.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother’s prayers receive me
With the fruits of victory.

Virgin of all virgins blest! 
Listen to my fond request: 
Let me share your grief divine

Let me, to my latest breath, 
In my body bear the death 
Of your dying Son divine.

Wounded with His every wound, 
Steep my soul till it has swooned 
In His very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, 
Lest in flames I burn and die, 
In His awe-full judgment day.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother’s prayers receive me
With the fruits of victory.

While my body here decays 
May my soul your goodness praise, 
Safe in heaven eternally. Amen Alleluia.

(The Collegeville Hymnal Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1990.)