Seven Sorrows of Mary
When I became Catholic, I had a hard time appreciating devotions to the Passion of Christ. It was uncomfortable and these devotions made me feel guilty - my sins did this to my Beloved Christ. I was ashamed and I avoided the Passion. The Sorrowful Mysteries were my least favorite part of the Rosary.
All that has changed and now the Sorrowful Mysteries are my favorite. Why?
I learned from Saint Alphonsus Liguori that we the most clearly perceive the love of our dear Christ when we watch His sufferings through the eyes of Mary. All the saints of the Catholic Church were devoted to the Passion and Death of Christ. For example, Saint Paul made the sufferings of our Savior the center and focus of his devotional life:
“For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ: and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, D-R).When I began to walk the Way of Cross with Mary, I took my eyes off myself and was able to appreciate the love of God in these mysteries. My pride-centered shame eroded as I grasped the hand of our Immaculate Mother and she led me along the Way of the Cross. The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are fantastic if you truly focus on their Marian dimension and ask Mary to show you Jesus. Mary helps mitigate the guilt and maximize the mercy of God.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are also a wonderful devotion to help the soul love and appreciate the passion of Christ and the compassion of Mary. The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady are:
- Prophecy of Simeon to Mary: "a sword shall pierce thy soul"
- Flight into Egypt: poverty, Egyptian paganism, alienation
- Loss of Jesus in the Temple: she lacked the consolation of Christ's presence
- Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: Mary is saddened that she cannot help Him
- Crucifixion: Mary's heart is pierced
- Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: Mary holds the lifeless body of her Savior, God, and Child
- Jesus laid in the Tomb: Mary arranges the burial shroud of her Son and is led out of tomb by Joseph of Arimathea
St Alphonsus shows us that Mary is the greatest martyr because her martyrdom lasted for decades. A sword pierced her heart at Calvary and she began to die slowly after that moment. She is like a deer wounded by a hunter's arrow. She bears the wound and lives on until it finally kills her.
September 15 is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and this month is dedicated especially to her Seven Sorrows. Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is also a special day on which to meditate on the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.
Here is a Scripture that the liturgy assigns to the sorrows of Mary:
“To what shall I compare thee? or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? for great as the sea is thy destruction: who shall heal thee?” (Lamentations 2:13, D-R)
How wide and deep is the ocean? That is the width and depth of Mary's sorrowful love for Jesus.
PS: I try to write a blog post about our Immaculate Mary every Saturday.