Devotion to the Virgin Mary as the sorrowful mother has been at the center of a Christian’s prayer during Passiontide as we journey with Our Lady to the foot of her Son’s cross, and there standing with her in her sorrow. The sorrows of the Virgin, above all her role as witness of Christ’s passion, are seen by us as not only her own unique experience, but as a symbol of our own solidarity with her and the Church with Christ’s suffering. The Church invites us on the Friday before Palm Sunday, this coming Friday, to observe the solemnity of the SEVEN SORROWS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. These sorrows are often the source for meditation on that day, like the mysteries of the rosary, with an offering of one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each of the Sorrows. The Seven Sorrows of the tradition are as follows:
- The prophecy of Simeon that a sword would pierce her soul (Luke 2:34-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43-51)
- The meeting of Jesus and His mother on the way to Calvary (not related in the New Testament but often held to be implicit in Luker 23:27)
- The Crucifixion (John 19)
- The taking down of the body of Jesus (Mark 15:43-46) and its placing in Mary’s arms
- The burial of Jesus (John 19:41-42)
O GOD, grant to us the privilege of imitating with devotion the Blessed Virgin Mary in contemplating the passion of Christ; Grant, we pray, through her intercession, that we may embrace more firmly with her each day her Son, and come at last to the fullness of His grace in beholding His face in that kingdom where with You and the Holy Spirit, He lives and reigns forever and ever. AMEN.
As Holy Week approaches you will want to plan now to set aside time for meditation and reflection each day, and to share in those occasions set aside by Mother Church for worship of Him, our crucified Savior, finding in the privilege of “walking with Him in the way of His cross,” that it is none other than the way of life and peace.
As a warning against laziness, or more especially spiritual apathy, at this time I remind myself and offer to you the following words of S. Ignatius Loyola: “We no sooner begin a work for the honor and glory of God and then the world at once becomes uneasy, or the devil throws obstacles in the way.” Take heed for the devil lurks about seeking whom he may devour. Resist him in the faith.
Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy, and soften our hearts.