Showing posts with label Seven Sorrows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seven Sorrows. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2018

How the Seven Sorrows Rosary Came into My Life

I discovered the Seven Sorrows Rosary devotion only recently and rather unexpectedly. In 2017, I was preparing to lead a Marian Pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain, and France. It just so happened that we scheduled our pre-departure Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On our pilgrimage, as we traveled through Portugal and Spain, we saw some powerful depictions of Our Lady of Sorrows – life-sized figures, dressed in beautiful garments, with seven swords protruding from Our Lady’s heart.

In the Gospel of Luke, the Prophet Simeon states: "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). The sword has been seen as a symbol of the Virgin Mary’s suffering. Historically, the Church has identified seven specific sorrows in her life, which are sometimes depicted with seven swords piercing her heart.

I took note of these imposing statues, but I did not think much of them, or of the underlying devotion, until we reached Santiago de Compostela. I was sitting at the Pilgrim’s Mass in the famous cathedral, when I started reflecting on just how much sorrow life entails. "Isn’t life one long Pilgrimage of Sorrow?" I pondered. That's when I thought of Our Lady of Sorrows, and I started reflecting on the theology behind the devotion. As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary was more connected to Christ than any other human being, and therefore she shared in the suffering of Christ in a unique way. We can safely say that no human being, other than the human nature of Christ, suffered as much as Mary did. Therefore, she understands our sorrow full well, and, given that she is the Mother of the Church, she is always eager to help us if we call upon her.

I went away from that Mass with a sense of connection to this devotion. Later that night, as I was browsing in the shops of Santiago, I came across a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, which I purchased for my collection of images of Our Lady. But as to just how I was to practice my newfound devotion, that answer came to me only after my return.

The same day I left on my trip with the pilgrimage group, a friend of mine had set out on a private pilgrimage to Italy, to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis. After we had both returned, we compared notes on our experiences. My friend, as it turns out, had visited the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Italy, and, without knowing anything that was transpiring in my heart, she got for me a Seven Sorrows Rosary, a special type of rosary designed specifically for this devotion. She told me that she had never actually gotten a rosary before, but when she was at that shrine, she felt moved to get one for me.

Two days later, I received in the mail another one of these special rosaries from someone who had been on the pilgrimage with me. I felt like our Blessed Mother was telling me something. I quickly learned how to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary, and I incorporated it into my daily prayer life.

In the three months following, the Seven Sorrows Rosary would be especially comforting for me. My father had been battling terminal cancer, and as he reached the final stage, I often thought of him as I reflected on the sorrows of Our Blessed Mother. I felt her give me the peace and strength I needed. I also introduced my father to this devotion, and he resonated with it at once. He started praying this special rosary while he still could in his final weeks. Though he was very weak by the end, he managed to get me a beautiful Seven Sorrows Rosary set for Christmas, as his last gift to me. During his final night, on the eve of January 2, I kept vigil by his bedside, praying. I had just finished reciting the Seven Sorrows Rosary when he passed. I am confident that Our Lady came for him to take him home to Our Lord.

I feel that I will always cherish this special devotion. I also feel moved to tell others who might have a similar inclination about the many blessings the Seven Sorrows Rosary can offer.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Seven Sorrows Rosary


The Origin of the Devotion

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows has a long history in the Catholic Church. The specific Seven Sorrows Rosary prayer was entrusted to the Church by Our Lady when, in the 13th century, she appeared to a group of men who later formed into the Order of Servites. The devotion has received ecclesial approval and support.

Over the years, Our Lady has encouraged devotion to her Seven Sorrows in various apparitions. In more recent times, in 1982, she appeared in Kibeho, Rawanda, urging us to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.

In the Gospel of Luke, the Prophet Simeon states: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary was more connected to Christ than any other human being, and therefore she shared in the suffering of Christ in a unique way. No human being, other than the human nature of Christ, suffered as much as Mary did. Therefore, she understands the depth of our sorrow, and since is she the Mother of us all, she is always eager to help us if we call upon her.


Praying the Seven Sorrows Rosary

Make the Sign of the Cross.

Opening Prayers on the large medallion or cross:

Introductory Prayer: My God, I offer you this rosary for your glory, so I may honor your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, so I can share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg you to give me true repentance for all my sins. Give me wisdom and humility, so that I may receive all the indulgences contained in this prayer.

Act of Contrition: My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend you my God, who are all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

One Hail Mary on each of the first three beads, in honor of the tears of the Virgin Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:22-35)

Reflection: Mary, being sinless, lived her life in perfect conformity to the will of God. The knowledge that her Divine Son would be rejected and contradicted pierced her heart with anguish. Today Christ continues to be rejected and contradicted in the world, more so than ever before. In our own lives too, unlike our all-holy Mother, we often fail to live in complete conformity with the will of God, succumbing instead to the lure of the world. Let us beseech our Immaculate Mother for the healing of the world and of our hearts.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)

Reflection: God led the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. But now the Messiah has to flee from the Holy Land to Egypt. Mary is grieved by the rejection of her son and the suffering he will endure during their escape. She feels anguish for the Holy Innocents whom Herod slaughters in the attempt to take the life of Jesus. Today, many Christians have to flee their homeland because of anti-Christian persecution. More Christians have been martyred in our era than ever before. The faith is forced out of the public square more and more forcefully in our society. After his exile, Jesus returned from Egypt to the Holy Land. May faith in Christ return to our society as well.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Third Sorrow: The Losing of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)

Reflection: As Mother of God, Mary had the singular honor of being with our Lord throughout his childhood. The separation of losing Jesus in the Temple pierces her heart with great sorrow. Jesus teaching in the Temple foreshadows the longer separation they must have in later years when he begins his earthly ministry as an adult. Losing Jesus for three days also foreshadows the three days in the tomb, after the anguish of Calvary. Mary never stopped worshipping Christ during their physical separation. But today, so many in the world do not know Christ and have no knowledge of his healing love. Mary found Jesus after her search. May our society, which, unlike our Holy Mother, keeps searching for answers in futile ways, also come to find Jesus.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Fourth Sorrow: Mary Meets Jesus on the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:27-31)

Reflection: Mary is filled with great anguish at seeing her Divine Son led away to execution, rejected by the jeering crowds. Today, the Church, the Body of Christ, is mocked, jeered at, and persecuted, almost entirely crushed in many lands formerly Catholic. As churches close and faith in Christ is displaced, we share in the grief of Mary, the Mother of the Church. But as Christ rose from the dead, may the Church of Christ experience new life in the face of ever-increasing persecution.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Fifth Sorrow: Jesus Dies on the Cross (John 19:25-27)

Reflection: As the Mother of God, Mary is more closely connected to Christ than any other human being, and thus, she experienced the suffering of Christ on the cross in a unique way. Her suffering was greater than that of any other human, other than the human nature of Christ. Therefore, she knows the anguish of our suffering, and, being our Mother, she is always ready to help us when we call upon her help. Let us always turn to her in our hour of sorrow.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Sixth Sorrow: Mary Receives the Body of Jesus from The Cross (John 19:38-40)

Reflection: Mary’s heart is filled with profound pain as she holds the body of her dead son in her arms. Her prompting of Jesus at the wedding of Cana to start his public ministry has led to this necessary moment. Although she believes in the ultimate triumph of her son over death, for this time, she is filled with sorrow. As we experience loss and death in our own lives, let us bring our sorrows to Mary, who knows our pain.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb (John 19:41-42)

Reflection: Who can console a mother who has to see her own son placed in the tomb? The separation foreshadowed by the losing of Jesus in the Temple has come true. Mary, who was granted more time with our Lord in her earthly life than any other human in this world, now has to suffer the anguish of being without him. In our own lives, may we always yearn for the presence of Christ with the same desire that our Holy Mother had. Let us seek him in the good works he enjoined upon us, in the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, and in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.

Conclusion:

After the Seventh Sorrow, pray the following:

For the holy souls in Purgatory:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Concluding Prayers: Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you by the merits of the tears you shed in these terrible and sorrowful times, to obtain for me and for all the sinners of the world the grace of complete sincerity and repentance. Amen.

Mary who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us. (3 times)

Make the Sign of the Cross.


Please note: The pictures in this post are from Google images and are not my own.