With the recent abuse issues in the Catholic Church, it is fitting that we’ve entered the month of Our Lady of Sorrows. I can only imagine our Blessed Mother grieving over the same things we’re mourning—the multitude of abuse cases, the years of hurt the victims and their families have endured, and seeing the helplessness permeating amongst laity who feel like they can’t do enough to help the situation.
However, Our Lady of Sorrows can help us get through this hard time by learning more about the devotion to her that’s been around since the 14th century.
Revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden, the devotion focuses on the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-21)
3. The Loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. The Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17)
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:39-40)
7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb (John 19:39-42)
You can imagine the pain and sorrow our Blessed Mother endured seeing her beloved Son suffer. Now, can you imagine how much she is currently grieving, seeing the pain all of her children are going through? Does it not make sense to pick up a devotion to her Sorrows at this time?
If you’d like to pick up the devotion and don’t know if you have enough time, you’re in luck. You probably do! It’s quite simple. You pray a Hail Mary after meditating on each of her Seven Sorrows.
In 1815, Pope Pius VII approved the following prayers in honor of the Seven Sorrows prior to praying each Hail Mary:
O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
First Sorrow: 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. Hail Mary…
Second Sorrow: 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. Hail Mary…
Third Sorrow: I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss 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. Hail Mary…
Fourth Sorrow: 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. Hail Mary…
Fifth Sorrow: 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. Hail Mary…
Sixth Sorrow: 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. Hail Mary…
Seventh Sorrow: 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.
Hail Mary . . .
Let Us Pray:
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns world without end. Amen.
For each of the corresponding Sorrows, there is a grace that is given to those who take up the devotion. These graces include:
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.”
While her memorial is on September 15th, the entire month is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. I cannot think of a more fitting time to start asking Our Lady of Sorrows for her intercession than now when our beloved Church needs it the most. Will you unite your own hurt with hers and pray for all affected by the abuse scandals?