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Our Lady of Sorrows

















 MUSIC: Dvorak Stabat Mater, performed by Harvard Summer Chorus



O God, in Whose Passion, as Simeon had foretold,
the most sweet soul of Mary,
Your glorious Virgin-Mother, was pierced through
by a sword of sorrow, mercifully grant that we
who reverently meditate upon her tranfixion and her sufferings,
may obtain the blessed fruits of Your Passion
through the glorious merits and prayers of all the Saints
standing at the Cross interceding for us.
Through Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns forever.



Holy Church honors Our Lady's Sorrows by two feasts,
one observed on the Friday of Passion Week,
and the other on the 15th of September.
The first recalls especially her sufferings
during the Passion of Our Lord; the second is dedicated
more particularly to her lifelong sorrows.
Mary's sorrow on Calvary was deeper than any sorrow
ever felt on earth,
for no mother in all the world had a heart as tender
as the heart of the Mother of God.
She bore her sufferings for you that you might enjoy
the graces of Redemption.
She suffered willingly in order to prove her great love for you,
for true love is proven by sacrifice.
Give yourself over to her love completely,
and bear your cross patiently in union with your Mother of Sorrows.

The Sorrowful Mother has always merited within the Church
a particular devotion from whence she is called





The Seven Sorrows of Mary




"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 2:34-35 

Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son.

Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.




"And after they (the wise men) were departed, 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."  

~ Matthew 2:13-14

Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry!

But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.





"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him."

~ Luke 2:43-45.

Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing.

Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins,
and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.





"And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him."

~Luke 23: 27

Meditation: Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief?

But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.





"They crucified Him. 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 said to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he said to the disciple: Behold thy Mother."

~John 19: 25-27

Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Savior's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was as if to have left her body and joined itself to that of Jesus.





 "Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen."

~ Mark 15: 43-46

Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalene and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear his sorrow.




"Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Pasch eve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand."

 ~ John 19: 4l-42

Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!






Oh come and mourn with me awhile.
See, Mary calls us to her side.
Oh come and let us mourn with her.
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

Have we no tears to shed for Him,
while soldiers scoff and Jews deride?
 Ah, look how patienly He hangs,
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

How fast His Hands and Feet are nailed,
His blessed tongue with thirst is tied,
His failing eyes are blind with blood.
Jesus, our love is crucified.

Death came, and Jesus meekly bowed,
His failing eyes He strove to guide,
with mindful love to Mary's face.
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

Seven-times He spoke, seven words of love,
and all three hours His silence cried,
for mercy on the souls of men.
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

Come take thy stand beneath the Cross,
and let the Blood from out that Side,
fall gently on thee, drop by drop.
Jesus, our Love is crucified.



O my afflicted Mother! Queen of martyrs and of sorrows,
thou didst so bitterly weep over thy Son,
who died for my salvation; but what will thy tears avail me
if I am lost? By the merit, then, of thy sorrows,
obtain me true contrition for my sins,
and a real amendment of life,
together with constant and tender compassion
for the sufferings of Jesus and thy dolours.
And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent,
have suffered so much for love of me,
obtain that at least I, who am deserving of hell,
may suffer something for your love.
"O Lady," will I say with St. Bonaventure,
"if I have offended thee, in justice wound my heart;
if I have served thee, I now ask wounds for my reward.
It is shameful to me to see my Lord Jesus wounded,
and thee wounded with Him, and myself without a wound."
In fine, O my Mother, by the grief thou didst experience
in seeing thy Son bow down His head
and expire on the cross in the midst of so many torments,
I beseech thee to obtain me a good death.
Ah, cease not, O advocate of sinners,
to assist my afflicted soul in the midst of the combats
in which it will have to engage on its great passage
from time to eternity.
And as it is probable that I may then have lost my speech,
and strength to invoke thy name and that of Jesus,
who are all my hope, I do so now; I invoke thy Son
and thee to succour me in that last moment;
and I say, Jesus and Mary,
to you I commend my soul.