Today we celebrate the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mother of the Saviour co-operated in the Mystery of the Redemption. It shows her in this season of the Passion at the foot of the Cross where Christ is dying. “An ineffable union is established between the Oblation of the Incarnate Word and that of Mary; the Divine Blood and tears of the Mother flow together and are mixed for the redemption of the human race” – (Dom Guéranger, “The Liturgical Year”: Friday in Passion Week.)
Collect for Holy Mass today in the Extraordinary Form: “O God at whose passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary; grant in Thy mercy that we, who call to mind with veneration her soul piecrced with sorrow, through the glorious merits and prayers of all the saints faithfully standing by Thy Cross, may obtain the blessed result of Thy Passion. Who livest and reignest.” *
History of the 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 honour Him greatly; He is more honoured because we have so honoured His Mother.
The Seven Dolours are taken from Scriptural 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 Dolours because the Order was instrumental in popularising the Seven Sorrows Devotion.
THE SEVEN SORROWS
1. The prophecy of Simeon. (Lk 2: 34-35)
2. The flight into Egypt. (Mt 2:13-14)
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (Lk 2: 43-45)
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross. (Lk 23:27)
5. The Crucifixion. (Jn 19, l8-30)
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross. (Mk 15, 43-46)
7. The burial of Jesus. (Jn 19, 41-42)
John 19:25-27 : “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honour her daily by saying seven Hail Mary’s and meditating on her tears and dolours (sorrows). The devotion was passed on by St. Bridget. Find out more.
Consecration to Our Lady of Sorrows
“Most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, Mary, would that I could be in Heaven, there to contemplate the honours rendered to thee by the Most Holy Trinity and by the whole Heavenly Court! But since I am still a pilgrim in this vale of tears, receive from me, thy unworthy servant and a poor sinner, the most sincere homage and the most perfect act of vassalage a human creature can offer thee. In thy Immaculate Heart, pierced with so many swords of sorrow, I place today my poor soul forever; receive me as a partaker in thy dolours, and never suffer that I should depart from that Cross on which thy only begotten Son expired for me. With thee, O Mary, I will endure all the sufferings, contradictions, infirmities, with which it will please thy Divine Son to visit me in this life. All of them I offer to thee, in memory of the Dolours which thou didst suffer during thy life, that every thought of my mind, every beating of my heart may henceforward be an act of compassion to thy Sorrows, and of complacency for the glory thou now enjoyest in Heaven. Since then, O Dear Mother, I now compassionate thy Doluors, and rejoice in seeing thee glorified, do thou also have compassion on me, and reconcile me to thy Son Jesus, that I may become thy true and loyal son (daughter); come on my last day and assist me in my last agony, even as thou wert present at the Agony of thy Divine Son Jesus, that from this painful exile I may go to Heaven, there to be made partaker of thy glory. Amen.”
A final word from the saints:
“As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to Heaven by Mary.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
“Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” – St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
“Let us ask the Lord to grant us one very special grace—to love Our Lady, especially through all the work we do for Jesus, with Jesus, and to Jesus. We must ask him to deepen our love for Mary, making it more personal and intimate. We want to: Love her as he loved her. Be a cause of joy to her as he was. Keep close to her as he did. Share everything with her, even the cross, as she did when she stood near the cross on Calvary. We must love her unconditionally, trust her fully, abandon ourselves to her totally and without reserve. Nothing is impossible for those who call Mary their mother. During the day, let us often raise our hearts to her and ask her how we can love God as she loved him, that we, too, can love him with her heart.” – Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
* (Ed. The Collect has been substituted for the earlier-quoted Introit.)