Our Lady lamented to St. Bridget that very few consoled Her by
meditating on Her Sorrows, and “that the greater part of the world
lived in forgetfulness of them: ‘I look around at all who are on earth,
to see if by chance there are any who pity Me, and meditate upon My
Sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, My daughter,
though I am forgotten by many, at least do you not forget Me; consider
My anguish, and imitate, as far as you can, My grief. Fatima.org.
Now, I know some people will groan at the thought of one more devotion. Maybe you’re not into devotions. Maybe you don’t think they’re a necessary part of the spiritual life and no Catholic is obligated to have any particular devotion.
Fair enough. Devotions are not mandatory. However, you might want to take a look at this one.
My Recent, Very Personal Experience With Our Lady of Sorrows
One day I woke up feeling very sorry for myself. Have you been there? Today was the day that I picked to have a grand old pity party. Things looked bleak. I even posted about it on social media. Thankfully someone recommended this devotion to me.
I’m not a big devotion person although I have some devotions such as the daily rosary. Since this devotion involved a rosary, it was familiar to me – safe. I decided to pray it because it seemed , fairly comfortable and not too much of a stretch. I know, I know!
And thus I began a journey that would change my way of thinking, incrementally, until it became what is today.
As I began to pray the prayers of this devotion, I started to feel as if I were being transported into another time and place – into a very tiny space, which was at the same time, incredibly large. I was transported directly to the heart of Mary. Like a baby feeds through the placenta of her mother, I felt as if I was being fed a a very small fraction of the sorrow that the Blessed Virgin experienced. As I united my sorrows to hers and to our Lord’s passion, I realized three things:
- I ain’t got problems.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ understands our pain.
- The Blessed Virgin understands our pain.
The Seven Sorrows That Pierced Our Lady’s Heart
That day, I united my Sorrows to these Seven Sorrows of Mary:
- The Prophecy of Saint Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35)
- The escape and Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
- The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:43–45)
- The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.
- The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. (John 19:25)
- The Piercing of the Side of Jesus, and His Descent from the Cross. (Matthew 27:57–59)
- The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. (John 19:40–42)
Not only do we get to unite our sufferings and sorrows to Our Lady of Sorrows, we are also promised 7 Graces:
The Seven Graces of this Devotion
According to St Bridge of Sweden (1303-1373), there are 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. Catholictradition.org.
What’s that noise? Is it the skeptics whispering, “How do we know these promises are true? This is a private devotion and is not part of the deposit of faith.”
How Even Skeptics Can Still Cultivate a Devotion to the 7 Sorrows of Mary
If you make it a habit to pray this devotion even once a week or once every two weeks and meditate on the promises, you will automatically be attracted to, and seek those things, which allow these promises to be fulfilled. Here are some examples of how this might come to pass.
This devotion will encourage you to pray according to God’s will. After all, we are aligning our sufferings and our crosses the suffering virgin as well as our suffering Lord. We will grow to accept God’s will and pray according to His will for our lives. Doesn’t that automatically fulfill the 4th promise which says “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”?
Alignment with the will of God, gives you a greater chance of reaching heaven. How much harder will it be to fall into mortal sin when we know it is not God’s will that we fall into mortal sin? This desire to do God’s will automatically fulfills this promise: “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.”
Get the picture?
Some Interesting History
- 1233: seven youths in Tuscany founded the Servite Order (also known as the “Servite Friars”, or the “Order of the Servants of Mary”). Five years later, they took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order.
- 1423: “Our Lady of Sorrows was originated by a provincial synod of Cologne in 1423 as a response to the iconoclast Hussites.”
- Servites eventually developed two popular devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows:
- Rosary of the Seven Sorrows
- Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary. The Black Scapular is a symbol of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is associated with the Servite Order
- 1814: in 1814, Pope Pius VII extends celebration to the whole of the Latin Church. Feast date set for third Sunday in September.
- 1913, Pope Pius X moved the feast to September 15. This is the current feast date.
- The East: On February 2, Eastern Catholics commemorate an icon of the Mother of God called, “Our Lady Who Softens Hearts” See Wiki for more history.
So, how do I pray the Rosary (chaplet) of the Seven Sorrows of Mary?
Tools of the trade
The easiest way is to pray the chaplet on the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. You can either buy the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows or use a regular Rosary and make the necessary adjustments.
For those interested in the Servites Third Order A Servant of Mary: Anne Juliana of Gonzaga, Archduchess of Austria, Third Order Servite (1566-1621
Music: Stabat Mater in Full Score (Dover Music Scores)
Seven Sorrows Rosaries
The Servite Order: Official Site
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