“The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love.”
Today, September 15, is the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Although Our Lord’s own chosen Apostles fled His Passion, no one could keep the Woman away. Unlike the sentimental pictures which sometimes show Mary fainting at the foot of the Cross, Mary stood there, intent on sharing every excruciating detail of the ignominy her beloved Son suffered. Just as she had freely chosen to become His Mother, she chose to behold Him tortured from head to foot and torn from her by the cruelest of deaths. She not only accepted this, she offered this; this sharing in His Passion, sharing even in His death, uniting Their hearts forever for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and in loving reparation for the sins of men, for our sins, for my sins.
Mary’s heart, like Christ’s whole crushed and bruised being , was transformed with anguish by the sins of mankind … Mary became the Queen of martyrs because, after Jesus, she has endured the greatest martyrdom of heart … her sufferings are fruitful for us in a way that we can scarcely suspect…(from Father Garrigou-Lagrange, “Mary, the Model of Reparation”).
Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us,
“The sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son, but also because by this offering she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, Who had given her this Divine Son, asked on Calvary for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her Immaculate Heart in complete adherence to the divine will.” …
“Let us contemplate Mary’s sorrows, sympathise with her and ask her for the invaluable grace of sharing with her in the Passion of Jesus. Let us remember that this participation is not meant to be merely sentimental — even though this sentiment is good and holy — but it must lead us to real compassion, that is, to suffering with Jesus and Mary. The sufferings God sends us have no other purpose.
“The sight of Mary at the foot of the Cross makes the lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; her maternal example encourages us to suffer (with her) and makes the road to Calvary easier. Let us go then with Mary, to join Jesus on Golgotha; let us go with her to meet our own cross, and sustained by her, let us embrace it willingly, uniting it with her Son’s Cross.” (Divine Intimacy)
From Blessed Elizabeth of the Holy Trinity:
“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, ‘Ecce mater tua’. Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as He did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear.”
It is only when we take His place, accepting the Cross, that we can share the thoughts of her sorrowful heart, and it is only from the Cross that we can see heaven.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Prophecy of Simeon And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him… And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. (Luke 2, 25-35)
The Flight Into Egypt
…behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the Child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. (Matt. 2, 13-15)
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions….And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know, that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart. (Luke 2, 45-51)
Mary Meets Her Son Jesus, Carrying His Cross
“Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother which took place on this journey (Via Dolorosa). Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those Hearts which loved each other so tenderly.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Way of the Cross).
The Crucifixion of Mary’s Son, Jesus our Savior
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother … 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… (John 19, 25-27)
Mary Holds Her Son’s Body at the Foot of the Cross.
Our Lord having expired was taken from the cross by two of His disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who placed Him in the arms of His sorrowful Mother. (The Way of the Cross)
Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre. (Mark 15, 46).
Meditating on these Sorrows is a most fruitful spiritual practice. There is also a Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, which consists of a rosary containing Seven sets of beads, each containing Seven Hail Marys. It is especially conducive to comforting our Blessed Mother who suffers so greatly from the blasphemies of anti-Catholics, especially the anti-Catholics within the Church, in these troubled times.
The Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother
Hail, countless and bitter tears from thy eyes, O Mary, tears of compassion for thy Son, our Savior crucified! May all thy children revere them, all sinners flee to them for refuge, for they spring from thy Sorrowful Heart.
O Mother of Sorrows! Merciful Mother! Even as His Precious Blood flowed, so did thy tears, made bitter by the indifference of thy children who spurn thy Son and Savior’s precious gift.
O burning tears, beautiful, loving tears, which move the angels to pity and touch the heart of the Eternal Father! Soften my hard heart and move it to true sorrow for my sins which cause thy tears!
Holy Tears, wash me! Bitter tears, purify me! Gentle tears, soften my heart! Burning tears inflame my heart! Merciful tears, rich in grace, heal and strengthen me with grace!
O most gentle, sorrowful Mother, sharing thy Son’s passion, mingling thy tears with His precious blood, I beseech thee, grant me the grace of tears and heartfelt contrition for my sins. Grant that I may shed repentant tears over my sins which cause Him such cruel suffering.
O most merciful Virgin, offer thy bitter tears to the Eternal Father in reparation for my tepidity and hardness of heart. Through their merit, obtain mercy for me and pardon for all my sins.
Grant, O dearest Mother, at the hour of death, just one of thy precious tears to cleanse my soul of sin. Amen.
And now, at this time, in this place, we stand with our Sorrowful Mother at the crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are not here to faint away, overcome with despair! We will be strong as our Mother is strong. Although on our own we lack that strength, in her we find the grace and virtues we need.
For more on the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, including the Seven Sorrows Devotion, see Our Lady of Sorrows, 2014.
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Thank you for reading. I pray for you always!
† Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, obtain for us by your loving intercession the grace and courage to persevere in the coming trials of faith.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† St. Joseph, terror of demons, protect our families, protect our priests!
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
~ by evensong for love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!